Celebrating National Women’s Small Business Month with Alternative Roots Farm

25 Oct 2023

Our Madelia Stories

“Today, there are over 13M women-owned businesses and counting,” SBA. In honor of National Women’s Small Business Month, celebrated every October since 2012, MARC is spotlighting Alternative Roots Farm, co-owned by Brooke Knisley.

Who is Brooke Knisley?

Brooke Knisley is a big-hearted woman with enough love to give her family as a wife and mother, her community as a business owner and active member, and the Earth as an outdoor enthusiast. Her bio shows she is passionate about self-sufficient living, holistic/natural health, and buying locally.

With a background in natural resource conservation, Knisley’s dedication to homesteading and food preservation is deeply rooted. She considers canning as one of her downtime activities. Other downtime activities include watching movies, enjoying bonfires, and reading.

Knisley also has a background in roller derby and loves hiking and canoeing. This active background gives her a huge advantage when it comes to keeping up with the busy and inquisitive young Leo, the Knisleys’ son and co-owner.

Alternative Roots Farm 

The number one rule of real estate is location, location, location. When John and Brooke Knisley decided to start their farming business, the only location in mind was Madelia, Minnesota. Though not Madelia natives, the Knisleys were in love with Madelia’s land, space, and community to where no other location felt right. Thus, in 2011, the land was purchased and Alternative Roots Farm (ARF) in Madelia, Brown County, was born—another example of why Madelia is The Pride of the Prairie.

ARF, certified organic in 2014, is more than a classic vegetable and poultry farm that embraces sustainable energy. The five acres house a(n):

  • Apple orchard
  • Vegetable garden
  • Native prairie planting
  • Hog and hen pasture
  • On-farm kitchen
  • Farm store
  • Deep Winter Greenhouse

When asked about their greenhouse, Brooke said, “Our Deep Winter Greenhouse is a passive solar construction that utilizes heat generated from the sun (a heat banking circulation system and backup electric heat), to focus on crops that can handle big swings of hot-to-cold temps growing September - March.” Because of the Deep Winter Greenhouse, ARF is a year-round farm!

Did you know there are over 40 varieties of apples? Yes, and ARF sells them all, along with:

  • Winter greens
  • Canned produce-based products
  • Eggs
  • Pork
  • Perennial produce (plants that live for more than two years)

The Future of Alternative Roots Farm

When asked about the future of ARF, Brooke said, “Continue to build the offerings of our on-farm store. We want to educate how folks can better eat in season and all year long. We want to teach about the preservation of fruits and other farm goods to build health and resiliency. We want to offer more perennial fruits like blackberries, pears, rhubarb, and more heirloom apples. Lastly, we want to continue to strengthen our local networks together.”

Alternative Roots Farm thanks the Madelia Chamber for the positive energy and support received by helping to get the word out about ARF’s year-round offerings of the on-farm store and general happenings. Brooke says, “Karla and Katie are always great resources connecting us with other business owners/resources!”

Alternative Roots Farm is located at 11197 130th Street, Madelia, MN 56062. Turn in where you see the farm sign, and the Farm Store is located in the large rounded Quonset hut. They accept exact-change cash, checks, and Venmo. Contact ARF for special or large orders, and inquiry availability.

Businesses Last in Madelia

Alternative Roots Farm has been in business for over ten years here in the Pride of the Prairie. You, too, can have a longstanding, thriving business right here in Madelia. Contact MARC for new, expanding, or relocating business information. We have room for you!