About ARF

"Conservation means harmony between men and land. When land does well for its owner, and the owner does well by his land; when both end up better by reason of their partnership, we have conservation. When one or the other grows poorer we do not.... It is the individual farmer who will weave the greater part of the rug on which America stands." 
-Aldo Leopold, in his 1939 essay "The Farmer as a Conservationist"

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Alternative Roots Farm is a certified organic family farm and orchard offering organic apples, apple products, perennial produce, winter greens and more through farmers market, an on-farm store, direct sales and wholesale.

ARF organic and heirloom apples are available through direct sales, Fall Apple Shares and wholesale. ARF is owned and operated by husband and wife team, John and Brooke Knisley.  

We are passionate about bringing fresh, nutritious, quality produce to our local community; as well as growing nutritious food in a way that is in harmony with nature and conservation-minded.

The farm sits
 on 5 lovely acres in rural Madelia, Brown County--the land supports a growing orchard, small vegetable garden, a native prairie planting, pasture for our heritage hogs and laying hens, a passive solar deep winter greenhouse, on-farm kitchen and farm store! We have been certified organic since 2014.

We manage a 10-acre apple orchard just outside of Lake Crystal, which became organic in Aug. 2020. Our home orchard is planted to apples, apricots, pears, plums, raspberries, blackberries, rhubarb and asparagus.

In our "deep winter greenhouse" we grow baby salad greens, microgreens and pea shoots during the winter months, October - April and offer them at local markets and through our Winter CSA. This project was done in partnership with the University of Minnesota RSDP

We continually strive to improve our farm-site with wildlife habitat and conservation practices. Attracting wildlife promotes ecological biodiversity, strengthens our environment and aids in organic pest control.

Our  chickens and pigs support the cycling of nutrients on our farm, as well adding to our joy and quality of life. The laying hens provide fresh eggs that fuel us through the season and are available for purchase. We raise heritage pigs on pasture, during the summer/Fall, offering them as whole/half hogs; the pigs are a BIG part of organic pest management at the orchard!  

Alternative Roots Farm is a Minnesota Water Quality Certified Farm.





.  .  .  .  . Meet Your Farmers.  .  .  .  . 

Brooke is passionate about self sufficient living, healthy food/natural health, the environment and community. In her spare time (what's that?) she chases a toddler and enjoys spending time with family, watching movies and having bonfires. She loves spending time outdoors foraging wild edibles and hiking. She is interested in medicinal herbs and holistic health.

She has a background in natural resources conservation, photography, roller derby and writing.


John is passionate about farming and the great outdoors.  At the farm he is most often found working at the orchard or with the herd of pigs.  In his spare time he is a forager, who enjoys fishing, hunting, canoeing and pretty much anything out of doors and hands-on. As a Master Naturalist he is enthusiastic and knowledgeable about environmental education, preserving and promoting our natural environment, and environmental stewardship.

He has a background in rock climbing, outdoor program leadership and bird watching. He serves on the board for the Organic Fruit Growers Association, as well as Linden Township.


Emily
is an animal lover and graduates from college Spring 2021. She loves art, and is an avid painter. Nature and the environment are important to her. 

Leopold is a busy, busy toddler exploring and learning and helping with everything on the farm. He keeps us on our toes and brings a new appreciation and viewpoint to everything! He loves feeding the animals and sampling ALL of the apples.


Alternative Roots Farm is a proud member and supporter of 
Land Stewardship Project
Sustainable Farming Association
Minnesota Grown and 
Organic Fruit Growers Association.


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