Green America: Growing the Green Economy for People and the Planet
Lisa and John
Lisa Kivirist and John Ivanko, innkeepers, authors, conservationists.
(Below, their books.)
Farmstead Chef
Rural Renaissance

LogoInn Serendipity
Browntown, WI

For the past seventeen years, we have been inspired by a passion for living our sustainability values while offering warm and welcoming farmstay hospitality.  At Inn Serendipity Bed & Breakfast -- based on our farm in the rolling hills of southwestern Wisconsin -- green travel is about authenticity, farm-fresh cuisine, and renewable energy.

As you come up our driveway, you’ll most likely be greeted by a wind turbine spinning, zucchini bread baking in our solar oven, and be welcomed by our twelve-year-old son, Liam.  We’re a family business that keeps things lean and green, celebrating our human-scaled enterprise that’s focused on local abundance in its myriad forms.

What Makes Inn Serendipity Green?

Some of our green initiatives include:

•  Powered completely by the wind and the sun, including a 10kW wind turbine and .7kW photovoltaic (PV) system.  An off-grid system recharges an electric lawn mower – and an all-electric CitiCar.  Hot water for our guest showers is heated with a solar thermal system.

•  We’re a “carbon negative business,” sequestering more carbon dioxide annually than we emit from our business operations and our lifestyle. 

•  Our B&B breakfasts feature the “100 foot diet.”  From our organic gardens to plate, fresh produce is transformed into seasonal cuisine based on recipes found in our cookbook, Farmstead Chef.  Ingredients not grown on the farm are organic, Fair Trade, or locally-produced.

•  We're engaged in an on-going retrofit of a century-old farmstead using green design, sustainable building materials, and creative, frugal recycling or repurposing, including converting an old granary/corn crib into a solar-heated strawbale greenhouse.

•  We use Energy Star-certified appliances, no VOC paint, a woodstove for heat, non-toxic cleaners, and organic cotton linens and towels (line-dried!).

How are we Leading Green Travel?

“Leading” means collaboration, working in partnership with kindred spirited organizations like Green America (we’ve been members since we started) to help collectively grow this movement.  We also work with the Midwest Renewable Energy Association, Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service, and Renewing the Countryside.  We were involved with helping start the Travel Green Wisconsin program, a green travel certification for our state. Leading also means openly sharing our journey with others to help inspire and provide resources for more people to launch their own sustainable enterprise or homestead (in the country, suburb or city). 

Such educational outreach inspires our teaching and writing, such as our Farmstead Chef blog with Hobby Farms and freelance writing, such as John’s piece in the Oct/Nov issue of Mother Earth News: 9 Strategies for Self-Sufficient Living. Our books include Rural Renaissance, narrating our story of moving from Chicago to our farmstead with starter resources, and ECOpreneuring, a pragmatic start-up guide for folks looking to create a livelihood around their passion for leaving this world a better place.

We’re grateful for the recognition Inn Serendipity has received over the years, including:

•  “Top 10 Eco-destinations in North America," by Natural Home

• 1 of 13 national ENERGY STAR Small Business Network Award recipients (U.S. EPA)

•  "5 Green Stars" eco-hotel by Eco Hotels of the World

•  Featured in ABC News, MSNBC, USA Today, Vegetarian Times, Conde Nast Traveler, New York Times and numerous other media.

We love what we do and are honored to be a finalist for the People & Planet Award for Green Business – thank you!  But we’re not done yet.  If we’re awarded this prize, we would further enhance our efforts to be fossil fuel free through increasing our use of electric transportation and/or further onsite production of renewable energy.

Inn Oven

Educational events for the public occur throughout the year, including participation in the National Tour of Solar Homes and Transition Green County (with the Transition Town movement), which Kivirist and Ivanko helped start up locally.

Bread baking in the solar oven at Inn Serendipity.


Greenhouse CitiCar Cake
Retrofitting the corncrib/granary as a strawbale greenhouse, primarily heated with a solar thermal system. John Ivanko driving the all-electric CitiCar, recharged with a PV system. Seasonal, fresh, organic and local. Inn Serendipity often offers an afternoon appetizer or evening dessert to guests, prepared with ingredients grown on site.
A rainbow ends at Inn Serendipity B&B, with 10 kW Bergey wind turbine and strawbale greenhouse.