We are André & Lillie Eisenbeis, high school sweethearts who grew up five miles apart near Freeman, SD. We were married in 2015 and moved back to the community a year later with the intention of starting our own farm. After spending a few years as dorm supervisors and planning our future farm, we were able to move onto a family acreage in 2018. In 2020, we welcomed Jesse Wendell into our family!
We have degrees in agriculture & environmental science and have each had the privilege of interning with successful market gardeners, including Ben Hartman (author of The Lean Farm) of Clay Bottom Farm in Goshen, IN. In 2017, we spent two glorious months working & learning on farms in France through the WWOOF program.
We are are passionate about food and strengthening rural communities through sustainable agriculture & local food systems. For us, farming is a lifestyle anchored in values of creation care and simple living.
Andre's family (5th Generation Farm/ Happy Grazing Dairy) sells raw organic milk door-to-door in the greater Sioux Falls area. Lillie's family (Turkey Ridge Creek Farm) raises purebred shorthorn cattle and row crops. They also grow all the potatoes, sweet corn, melons, and squash sold through Prairie Roots. Both families have been instrumental in forming our vision and helping our farm become reality.
Customer Appreciation Day at Happy Grazing Dairy
Read the Article Written about Prairie Roots in the Sept. 2022 Farming Families Magazine
Prairie Roots was established in 2018 on Lillie's Grandmother's farm. The name "prairie roots" is taken from the idea that both of our families have farmed in this area for many generations, and we are proud to be returning to our roots. After starting with a small garden plot and 25 CSA shares, we have grown to 70 shares, two farmers markets, and several wholesale accounts.
We currently have just over one acre on site that is in cultivation--an area large enough to supply many families with veggies, but small enough for us to farm by hand with minimal fossil fuel inputs. Because we use the 30" permanent bed system, having the right tools for the right scale is crucial to success. We utilize a propagation greenhouse and 4 small tunnels to extend our season, but so far, we have not braved the Dakota winters by trying to grow year-round.
Prairie Roots is also home to several dozen sheep, a flock of laying hens, and Greta, our loyal Pyrenees mix. We sell free-range eggs, occasional pastured whole chickens, and grass-fed lamb to market customers and CSA shareholders.
We are proponents of regenerative agriculture.
Regenerative ag is a conservation and rehabilitation approach to food and farming systems. It focuses on topsoil regeneration, increasing biodiversity, improving the water cycle, enhancing ecosystem services, supporting biosequestration, increasing resilience to climate change, and strengthening the health and vitality of farm soil.
Building a healthy soil that supports vibrant, nutrient-dense plants is our number one priority. We follow organic practices, but are not certified organic. We rely on compost, leaf & straw mulch, and cover crops to provide long-lasting fertility. For pest control, insect netting and floating row covers is our primary defense, combined with the occasional OMRI certified spray. We are also adopting more no-till and minimal till practices to hold more soil carbon as well as maintain a healthy soil structure and rich soil biology.