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Someone You Should Know: The Good Earth Farm owner creates new opportunities on property

Updated: May. 26, 2021 at 4:00 PM CDT
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LENNOX, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The pandemic challenged so many people in different ways last year. Some saw it as a time to seize new opportunities or pursue things they wouldn’t have had time for before. Nancy Kirstein took the time to pursue some new opportunities for her farm south of Lennox, The Good Earth Farm.

She and her husband, Jeff, bought the farm about 10 years ago.

“We had been out on a sailboat for a year and decided to come back here and start a farm,” Nancy said.

They are the second family to live there on about 25 acres, running a small CSA, which stands for Community-Supported Agriculture.

“People purchase what they call a share in the farm, so they pay us up front to plant. So we plant according to how many members we have and then during the growing season, they reap the benefits of what we’ve planted,” Nancy said.

This year, she’s growing various vegetables, sweet corn, and melons for about 100 families. At the end of the growing season, she invites the families out to the farm to get what’s leftover and even pick out a pumpkin. Anything extra that is grown throughout the season gets sold at her farmstand.

“Because our CSA customers are primarily in Sioux Falls and we deliver to them three times a week during the growing season. But we wanted something to bring people out here to bring people out to the country because we do have kind of a unique property,” Nancy said.

So she and Jeff refurbished the 1890s barn on the property, initially just as a place to sell produce. But they refurbished it, and it also serves as an event space now. Previously, Nancy was a high school English teacher in Harrisburg while working on and off at the Great Outdoor Store in Downtown Sioux Falls. The pandemic gave her the chance to think about various opportunities she could create at the farm.

“I love to grow stuff. It’s probably one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done aside from teaching, but I get to do everything out here. I get to teach people. I get to teach our interns,” she said.

For the past several years, Nancy has hosted two or three interns each summer from all over the United States. This year, one of her interns is from Birmingham, AL. Savannah Busby will spend the summer learning everything that goes into running a small farm.

“I’m hoping to learn a lot about growing first of all like plant health and that kind of thing. And then also like Nancy said, she was turning it more into an event space and have people come out here, so I’m really interested in learning how she runs all that and how she manages all her time,” Busby said.

“As we see development all around us, small farms like this are becoming few and far between, especially ones with old buildings,” Nancy said. “So it’s really important just to hold on to that kind of history but also for it to be here in the future.”

Last year, Nancy also started to rent out campsites on her land which helped her turn the farm into a full-time job. She’s doing that through a site like Airbnb called Hipcamp.

There will be several events for the public to attend at The Good Earth Farm throughout the summer. The first is an Open House Friday from 3:00 PM until 8:00 PM. There will be live music, a food truck, yard games, and farm tours. Nancy said she’s planning to have events similar to this every Sunday in July after the 4th.

As always, if there is someone you think we should all know, please email a nomination to news@dakotanewsnow.com.

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