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Agritourism and Value-Added Agriculture: Legacy of a Tired Old Barn and 40 Acres

Julie Ross, Co-owner, Good Roots Farm & Gardens, Brookings, SD
Julie Ross talking to Energize! Conference participants about how Good Roots Farm and Gardens has become a small event destination. The Energize! Conference was held in De Smet this past May.

Originally written by Paul Thares, former SDSU Extension Community Vitality Field Specialist.

Agritourism is the business of establishing farms as travel destinations for educational and recreational purposes (Barry and Hellerstein, 2004). Driven by consumer interest, a growing numbers of farmers across the United States are embracing agritourism to improve their economic sustainability. Agritourism is very important for rural communities as it can provide several advantages: income, employment, use accommodation, activities, natural resource conservation, recreation and education (Zoto, Qirici, and Polena. 2013).

During a session from the recent Energize! Conference, Julie Ross gave a summary of her and her husband, Bill’s business, Good Roots Farm and Gardens. It is located near Brookings. The couple’s adventure into organics and wood-fire pizzas with home-grown ingredients, has moved their business Good Roots Farm and Gardens to become a small event destination for hosting all kinds of events. Energize Conference participants that attended the Ross’s session learned a bit of what it takes to become an agritourism business by adding value to your homestead.

Julie Ross, Co-owner, Good Roots Farm & Gardens, Brookings, SD
Julie Ross, Co-owner, Good Roots Farm & Gardens, Brookings, SD, talking with Energize! Conference participants about agritourism. The Energize! Conference was held in De Smet this past May.

The participants at the Energize conference enjoyed learning about Julie and Bill’s agritourism business, here is a comment from someone who visited their farm. Caryl Bunkowske wrote on their Facebook page, “Thank you so much, Bill and Julie! Our book club so enjoyed the farm, the pizza, and the music! It was a wonderful evening at your beautiful farm! What a blessing your farm and hospitality are to the community!”

If you would like to learn more about this agritourism business in South Dakota, visit the Good Roots Farm & Gardens website or facebook page.


  • Barry, J., and D. Hellerstein (2004). Farm Recreation. In: K. Cordell (ed.), Outdoor Recreation for 21st Century America. State College, Pennsylvania: Venture Press.
  • Zoto, S., Qirici, E., and Polena, E. (2013). Agrotourism – A Sustainable Development for Rural Area of Korca. European Academic Research, Vol. 1, Issue 2/May 20-13.