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Empowering the Pollinators

April 4th, 2016

It’s always encouraging when the planet puts some of its most knowledgeable heads together to analyze and move towards solving a complex problem. As with the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) and other efforts, last month the UN released the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Coalition …

How Our Chickens Help the Economy

March 10th, 2016

Chickens are remarkably versatile. They go with everything: grains, nuts, berries, veggies, even other animals. It’s not just their meat and eggs that make poultry a great product, it’s the numerous ways they contribute to the farm ecosystem. They provide an affordable entry point for long-term econ …

How Our Chickens Help the Environment

February 21st, 2016

Poor chickens. It’s not their fault that the poultry industry is one of the biggest polluters in the country. Chickens are born to be soil-nurturing, pesticide preempting, sustainability machines. But when you hear chickens and the environment in the same sentence, it’s a reasonable assumption that …

How Our Chickens Help People

February 15th, 2016

For as long as chickens have been domesticated, they’ve been helping farmers thrive. They are both the most popular and fastest growing livestock animal in the world, raised in every country except Vatican City, and eaten everywhere. There are few religious prohibitions against poultry and they are …

An Optimist’s Dream: Practical Farmers of Iowa Annual Conference

February 3rd, 2016

I’m an optimistic guy by nature … okay, maybe not by nature but I’ve trained myself to be optimistic. I’ve also been in a lot of meetings with farmers over the decades, mostly related to the failure of government policy to support family farms and rural communities and the need for political organiz …

Cage-Free is Not Enough

January 30th, 2016

2016 is becoming the year of the cage-free laying hen. Or at least the promise to move towards cage-free eggs: since the egg industry is waist-deep in an exclusively profit-maximizing infrastructure, it’s going to take some time for the supply to catch up to the demand. Farmers have about a decade t …

What’s in a Label, part 2

January 13th, 2016

Whatever the outcome of the FDA’s call for public comment on the “natural” label, I can’t help but get all gushy and patriotic whenever I witness those kinds of shamelessly, garishly democratic practices in our country. The other, proverbial shoe had to drop. Yep, hiding in the hallowed halls of Con …

What’s in a Label, part 1

January 6th, 2016

Food labels are currently being scrutinized on the federal level. Changes under consideration could significantly increase or decrease transparency for consumers. They could also significantly change the way sustainable, regenerative food producers like Main Street Project can label their products f …

Mirasol Cooperative – YPAC (Young Peoples Action Coalition)

December 21st, 2015

In 2014, a group of young people in Northfield founded a local, worker owned business called Mirasol Cooperative. They are completely youth run and make their decisions on a consensus based model, which allows them to practice democracy in the workplace. Through this past year they have participated …

Food Security and Stability

December 21st, 2015

There is a need for a major shift from industrial agriculture to transformative systems such as agro-ecology that support the local food movement, protect small holder farmers, respect human rights, food democracy and cultural traditions, and at the same time maintain environmental sustainability an …

Why The Midwest?

November 29th, 2015

The 1200-year drought redesigning the landscape of California has raised concerns about our food security. It should. With less than 5% of the United States’ land mass, California produces 2/3 of our country’s fruits and nuts and more than half of all our vegetables. And while the long growing seaso …

Fighting Bird Flu – Advantage Goes to Organic, Regenerative Farms

November 17th, 2015

As Minnesota’s turkey and chicken factory farm operations worry about the return of bird flu, many are still debating the cause of these outbreaks. Typically, wild migrating birds are blamed for infecting poultry flocks with H5N2. Human “biosecurity errors” are suspects, too. Still, the USDA cannot …

Fall Harvest from an Integrated Farming System

August 24th, 2015

Main Street Project is testing a wide-variety of annuals and perennials to determine the best mix for our regenerative poultry production system. This year’s amazing weather has allowed our poultry centered system to be tested for application in new crops such as black dry beans, popcorn, onions and …

Field Day at Main Street’s Farms Sponsored by U of MN Extension

August 24th, 2015

Coming up, September 17th. Poultry Centered Regenerative Agriculture tour at the Main Street Project farms. Join us! Sponsored by the U of MN Extension / Southeast Regional Sustainable Development Partnership. RSVP to Greg Schweser by September 14th (see flyer below).

The End to a Great Year

July 28th, 2015

The past year has come and gone so quickly for me. In my service as an AmeriCorps VISTA, a national service program designed to fight poverty, I have been working with Main Street Project in Northfield, Minnesota. My goal was to continue telling their story via social media (Facebook, Twitter, blogg …

Research Update – Partnership with University of MN

June 7th, 2015

Main Street Project is in our second year of a research project analyzing our integrative poultry-centered agricultural system. Our research partners include the University of Minnesota’s South East Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships, the Alternative Livestock Program at the MN Institute …

Main Street Project – Founding Members of Regeneration International

May 29th, 2015

Main Street Project is proud to participate as a founding member of Regeneration International, a new movement to build the agriculture systems of the future, capable of regenerating itself and ensuring healthy foods, healthy livelihoods for farmers and workers, ecological stewardship, and resilient …

Summer Campus and World’s Fair

May 13th, 2015

  Main Street Project is working with collaboration in Latin America to recruit 10 participants to go to Paris this summer for an event called the Eating City Summer Campus. “The aim of the program [Eating City] is to create opportunities of international meeting, worldwide, to elaborate severa …

Next Stop … Mexico

April 25th, 2015

San Miguel De Allende, Guanajuato Mexico is becoming the next location to test our poultry-centered regenerative agriculture system. We are currently adapting our regenerative free-range egg production system design to semi-arid conditions in this region. New conditions call for larger paddocks, sma …

Northfield Dropsite on Sat., April 25!

April 20th, 2015

In honor of Earth Day, Main Street Project wants to introduce you to its… Natural, Delicious, Healthy, Local, Free-Range Chicken. We are offering frozen, whole chickens at a SPECIAL REDUCED PRICE of $10/Chicken or $100/Box of 10. That’s a savings of up to $3 per bird! ORDER TODAY! Chickens will be …

Women in Agriculture

March 26th, 2015

When you look up the definition for woman you may read something like the following: the female human being, an adult female person, a wife, and the nature, characteristics, or feelings often attributed to women. We often forget that a women is much more than that – a worker, a laborer, a caregiver, …

Aquaponics First Harvest

March 18th, 2015

This blog post is written by Lisa Misch, a senior studying Environmental Studies and Management at St. Olaf College and is currently helping YPAC (Young People’s Action Coalition) with their aquaponics operation. Main Street Project is working with the YPAC, a collection of high school students and …

Sustainable Food System Organizations in California

March 17th, 2015

I was part of a food hub peer learning group, organized by the Wallace Center, that recently toured a number of sites in and around San Francisco, CA. The first stop on our tour was Veritable Vegetable, a 40 year old organic vegetable distribution company, organized as a “B” corporation, that focuse …

The New Season is Underway

March 3rd, 2015

The chicks are coming! The chicks are coming! Main Street Project expressed these four words for the past few weeks until 6:20AM this past Friday morning, February 27, when the chicks arrived by flight. Javier, a previous graduate of the agriprenuer program, Joe Charlton, Main Street Project’s Farm …

Sustainable Food Systems in Mora, New Mexico

February 23rd, 2015

Main Street Project was invited to present our sustainable food systems work at a community gathering in Mora, New Mexico on Saturday, February 21, sponsored by the Rural Communities Assistance Corporation (RCAC) and Collaborative Visions, a citizen-led community development coalition in Mora County …

10th Immigrant and Minority Farmers Conference

February 10th, 2015

The 10th Immigrant and Minority Farmers Conference brought in farmers, farm advocates, sponsors, educators, professionals, and many other participants at the St. Paul Campus of the University of Minnesota this past weekend to exchange knowledge, network, and find support in farming. Aaron Blyth, pre …

The Changing Climate and Bio-char

January 22nd, 2015

Bio-char, a key component of our system design for cellulosic bio-mass management and according to scientific evidence, one promising solution to the changing climate. We understand that artificially altered climate conditions can only be solved through ideas and solutions rooted in solving the very …

2014 Agripreneur Training Graduation

December 9th, 2014

On Friday, December 5th,  Main Street Project celebrated the completion of the 2014 Agripreneur Training Program for 16 individuals. The group included present and future free-range poultry producers and the YPACquaponics group, the Northfield-based Young People’s Action Coalition, in the training i …

2014 Women’s Congress Part 2

November 19th, 2014

Sandra Steingraber, biologist, author, mother, and cancer survivor, spoke about the current environmental crisis at the 2014 Women’s Congress for Future Generations on Friday, November 7th. She explains that there are two trunks to this tree of environmental crisis – the heat trapping gasses and the …

Last Flock Has Headed for Processing

November 13th, 2014

Javier and Veronica started their journey with Main Street Project back in April as new participants in the Agripreneur Training Program.  They were hungry to learn and dedicated to their new endeavor to become producers of free-range chickens.  Since then, they have gone every morning at 6 AM and e …

2014 Women’s Congress for Future Generations

November 11th, 2014

“We are the first generation to see climate change, and we are the last generation that can make a difference and change it.” Cover of Conference Booklet On November 6-9, “a mix of old and young, urban and rural, every color” of both genders, primarily women gathered for the opportunity to talk and …

Food Access Summit 2014

November 4th, 2014

“This event brings together leaders from agriculture, community development, education, health, hunger relief, human services and philanthropy sectors to improve access to healthy food for Minnesotans with limited financial resources.” What an influential group of people gathered in Duluth for the F …

Prairie Creek Community School Farm Day

October 23rd, 2014

Young, bright, smiling faces lit up the Finca Mirasol Farm on Tuesday, October 21st. Laugher and eyes wide open to learning and understanding what it is like to be on a farm. Prairie Creek Community School came to visit the farm to have a hands-on learning experience on the farm. Prairie Creek Commu …

Energy, The Power That Runs Your Life

October 20th, 2014

Energy – Power derived from utilization of physical or chemical resources; the strength and vitality required for sustained activity. Energy is the power that runs your life. Whether it was the energy to wake up in the morning, the energy to start the engine of your car, the energy it takes you to g …

Free-Range Chickens!

October 9th, 2014

Main Street Farmers selling free-range chicken in Northfield, MN this Saturday, October 11, 9-11 AM. Chickens are frozen whole. Price per pound: $3.29 for orders up to 9 chickens; $3.19 per lb. if ordering 10 or more. (They are pre-packaged in boxes of 10 at the processor; average weight is 40 pound …

Minnesota Policy Conference

October 6th, 2014

On October 15, 2014, Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin, Chief Operating Officer of Main Street Project, will be the moderator of a panel on public policy and the contributions of immigrant populations at the University of Minnesota for the 30th Annual Minnesota Policy Conference. The panel will include Sa …

Garden Fresh Farms

September 23rd, 2014

Garden Fresh Farms is an urban farm in St. Paul, Minnesota that I had the pleasure of touring last Tuesday. GFF utilizes the aquaponics approach to grow vegetables in the urban building, growing all year-long in a warehouse in St. Paul. The fish, tilapia, are raised in tanks and are used to produce …

Great Food, Great People, and a Great Opportunity

September 17th, 2014

“Local, sustainable, agriculture, food access, community, food, farming, gardening…” Words heard throughout the half-mile long stretch along Victoria Street in the Frogtown neighborhood of St. Paul on Sunday, September 14. There were 250 tables consisting of nearly 2,000 people –a group of artists …

CREATE: The Community Meal

September 8th, 2014

Organizers for “CREATE: The Community Meal” in St. Paul next weekend (Sept. 14) contacted Main Street Project earlier this spring to ask about purchasing 400-500 locally-grown free-range chickens for the event. The purpose of the event is to use a community art setting to promote healthy eating and …

Passing the Torch

August 13th, 2014

Here at Main Street Project, we finalized our goodbyes to Bridget – the AmeriCorps VISTA that was with us for the past year. She was such a great asset to our team. She learned many things along the way and stuck through the excitement and challenges throughout her year at Main Street Project throug …

Creating Communities through Meaningful Conversations: A Dundas Farmer and Family Seek to Break Barriers

July 22nd, 2014

Editor’s Note: Ian Rhoades and Elizabeth O’Sullivan have been our partners for a few years. They have a farm in Dundas, MN and are raising their first flock with Main Street Project this Summer.   1. Tell me a little about yourself and the history of your farm. I’m a teacher. We have three kids. Eli …

For Youngest Agripreneur Training Program Graduate: A Vision of Small-Scale Farms.

July 3rd, 2014

Editor’s note: Andy Kell graduated from the Agripreneur Training Program fall 2013. He just finished raising his first flock with Main Street Project and plans on raising another flock this fall.  Tell me a little about yourself.  I’m a 16 year old, I play music, and I don’t do much else (other than …

Current participant in the Agripreneur Training Program says “Anything is possible.”

June 23rd, 2014

Main Street Project’s Bridget Guiza interviews one of the current Agripreneur Training Program participants.   What was it like growing up in Mexico? To survive in Mexico, my parents supported my 9 siblings and I by living off the farm. I am the third youngest amongst my siblings. My parents worked …

Main Street Farmers Chicken Customer Feedback

June 3rd, 2014

In a survey conducted by Main Street Project , we asked our drop-site chicken customers a series of questions to help us understand their concerns about conventional poultry and their level of satisfaction with Main Street Farmers Chicken.  Here are some of their responses. What are some of your con …

Meet Joseph!

June 3rd, 2014

Meet Joseph Charlton, our newest Main Street Project Staff member! Joseph originally worked in pork production in the Lake City area. He later went on to obtain his B.S. in Cell and Molecular Biology from Winona State University. Following this he went on to work for the Hawaiian Agriculture Researc …

Sustainable Food Systems – A Matter of Design

May 9th, 2014

Can we build a perennial agriculture landscape that can adapt to a more unstable climate while producing the fruits, vegetables, lean meats, healthy lives, economies and ecology that we need? We say yes. But to do so, we must find a new rhythm. One that flows with the seasons, the ecology, and our h …

Our Partners and Their Success Stories- Neighborhood Development Center offers classes for aspiring entrepreneurs

April 28th, 2014

KARE 11 featured the Neighborhood Development Center (NDC) entrepreneur training and lending on Boyd Huppert’s ‘Land of  10,000 Stories’. image credit: KARE It showed how NDC and the African Economic Development Solutions helped Mubarek Lolo, owner of AWASH market, to achieve the American dream. “Ma …

Our Partners and Their Success Stories- Neighborhood Development Center helps small businesses with marketing strategies

April 28th, 2014

Neighborhood Development Center: Businesses Welcome Green Line It’s been four long years since the construction of the Green Line started, but light rail trains will start running in just 48 hours and nearby businesses are welcoming the new traffic. KMSP/FOX 9 had a profile of the U7 project that’s …

Job Opportunity at Main Street Project

April 11th, 2014

Main Street Project is looking for a part-time, temporary farm manager to help with facilities management in our Northfield free range poultry training program this year. Learn more about this opportunity on our Employment page or download a PDF of the job description. For any questions regarding th …

Regenerating Rural Soils- Midwest Soil Health Summit 2

March 11th, 2014

This is part two of the Midwest Soil Health Summit blog series. Gabe Brown of Brown’s Ranch in Burleigh County, N.D gave the keynote address, which focused on how producers can regenerate conventionally farmed soils. Gabe dove into the effect that conventional monoculture has on soils and suggested …

Adding more of the good stuff – Midwest Soil Health Summit 1

March 3rd, 2014

Main Street Project’s Bridget Guiza reports from the Midwest Soil Health Summit – Stay tuned for Part 2! At the Midwest Soil Health Summit last week in Alexandria, MN Gabe Brown of Brown’s Ranch in Burleigh County, N.D gave the keynote address. The topic was “How can we regenerate our ecosystems?” H …

Erin Meier on the impact of climate change on MN Agriculture

March 1st, 2014

Erin Meier is the director of the University of Minnesota’s Southeast Regional Sustainable Development Partnership, which supports Main Street Project’s sustainable food and agriculture program work. Erin was a featured speaker at the Northfield Area Climate Summit, talking about the impact of clima …

Chickens help with composting

February 11th, 2014

Bob Kell is the Main Street Project Farm and Training Director. I recently read an article about a Vermont composting company that uses chickens to assist in working the compost pile. It seems very beneficial both to the chickens and to the composter. The article has gotten us thinking about how we …

Healthy soil means healthy people

February 11th, 2014

Farmers, exhibitors and translators filled the University of Minnesota Continuing Education and Conference Center for the 9th Immigrant and Minority Farmers Conference held on Feb 1-2. The first workshop I attended was titled, “Soil Health: Preventing Soil Loss on Hilly Land” and it was presented by …

Paul Douglas on Climate Change: Is this really a conspiracy?

February 11th, 2014

While attending the Northfield Area Climate Summit at St. Olaf last January, I had the pleasure of listening to the keynote speech by meteorologist Paul Douglas of Star Tribune fame. Paul was educational, witty, and inspiring all at the same time, and his words reminded me that our work here at Main …

“It starts with the kids” – Bon Appetit Sous Chef Gibson Price on sustainable food and how it can transform the future

January 13th, 2014

Our recent interview with Carleton Bon Appetit Executive Chef Michael Delcambre was such a success that we sat down with Bon Appetit’s Sous Chef Gibson Price to continue the conversation about local sustainable food and how it can change our communities for the better. (Interview by Bridge Guiza). R …

Bon Appetit chef Michael Delcambre talks about his collaboration with Main Street Project

December 20th, 2013

Main Street Project’s Bridget Guiza sat down with Bon Appetit Executive Chef Michael Delcambre to talk about his collaboration with Main Street Project, sustainable and inclusive food systems, and, of course, tasty chickens. Bon Appetit Executive Chef Michael Delcambre Can you tell me about how you …

Reflections on Chicken Spirituality

December 16th, 2013

There is a story told of the construction of the great cathedrals of Europe.  Someone asked the stonemason what he was doing and he explained the method for building an arch. Someone asked the glass-maker and he showed how he was arranging the colored glass and lead to make a stained-glass window. T …

Memoirs of Aspiring Future Farmers

December 6th, 2013

It was a beautiful yet chilly Saturday morning. The bitter cold resonated against my cheekbones as I walked hastily to reach the doorknob dividing me from the welcoming warmth of the building.  On November 23, 2013, Main Street Project’s Agripreneur Training Program graduated five individuals from t …

Does it Make Sense to Raise Chickens in MN Winter?

December 4th, 2013

Minnesota winters can be frigid. (Speaking from a southern CA perspective, our VISTA member Bridget would have a bit more to say about its pending arrival than that!) Below-zero temperatures, north winds and snow can drive the hardiest of us indoors. It hardly seems the most opportune time to introd …

“To get the most good out of our collective strengths and interests” – An interview with Liz Wilson, Carleton College

December 2nd, 2013

Liz Wilson is a senior majoring in Environment Studies at Carleton College in Northfield. She completed a baseline soil study for Main Street Project last summer – gathering soil samples sent to the University of Minnesota to measure nutrients as well as nitrates within the chicken coop area. We’ll …

Bringing back our food traditions and heritage – Stories from the National Conference for Women in Sustainable Agriculture

November 25th, 2013

One of the workshops I was able to attend at the 4th National Conference for Women in Sustainable Agriculture was “Organizing for Food and Diversity.” The presenters were Jennifer Vazquez and Stephanie Badsoldier Snow from the Meskwaki Food Sovereignty Initiative and Community Farm, Jessica Soulis f …

Speaking out about pesticide drift – Stories from the National Conference for Women in Sustainable Agriculture

November 22nd, 2013

At last week’s 4th National Conference for Women in Sustainable Agriculture in Des Moines, Iowa, I attended a workshop called “Pesticide Drift: Measuring the Presence and Impact on Rural Communities.” I’m very interested in this topic, and in fact had worked at the White Earth Indian Reservation on …

Main Street Project hosts Guatemalan delegation focused on sustainable food systems

November 11th, 2013

On November 12-15, 2013, Main Street Project will host a delegation of 14 elected officials, educators, regional business owners and national non-government leaders from Guatemala. Their visit is part of an international exchange and training program focused sustainable food systems and rural commun …

“Honest work.”

November 1st, 2013

It’s been a week since my colleagues in Northfield organized the fall clean up and hazelnut tree planting on Main Street Project’s three incubator farm units. With the last free-range chicken flock gone to market and winter on the horizon, it was all hands on deck. Ten energetic community volunteers …

“It starts at the individual level.”

October 28th, 2013

She greeted her customers warmly, holding a clipboard and notebook she looked through to check off names. Barb Martinez, mother of two, has been a partner with Main Street Project for three years now. It all started with her interest in purchasing good quality meat, “I wanted to have humanely raised …

“Raising chickens is a craft.”

October 10th, 2013

One of the inspiring things about my VISTA assignment with Main Street Project is getting to know the new farmers in the program. This is the story of “C.” and “P.” – a couple focused on achieving their farming goals. They knew it was going to be a challenge. To begin raising free-range chickens, th …

“This has changed my life.”

September 24th, 2013

A graduate from Main Street Project’s Agripreneur Training Program holds a crate full of fresh cucumber, tomatoes and green bell peppers he had harvested for us to take home that day. Excitedly, he walks around the field checking to see if the jalapenos are ready for harvesting as well. Outreach coo …

Main Street Project welcomes Bridget Guiza as Americorps VISTA staff

August 15th, 2013

Bridget will support new farmers’ storytelling and marketing efforts Hello! My name is Bridget Guiza and I’m just beginning my year-long Americorps VISTA assignment with Main Street Project. I am a recent graduate from the University of California, San Diego with a degree in Environmental Systems. I …

Main Street Project welcomes Alex Christensen as Food Systems Intern

July 30th, 2013

Alex’ focus will be on the local foods collective impact process in SE Minnesota Hello Good People! My name is Alex Christensen and I am the latest addition to the Main Street Project team. I am a recent college graduate, with a BA in Environmental Studies from Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter …

Seven new agripreneurs graduate from Main Street Project training program

May 8th, 2013

Training manager Bob Kell tells graduates, “You are committing to care for the earth, to provide the birds with a kind of care that is more humane, to bring food to others’ table that is healthier, more natural and unique.” Training manager Bob Kell spoke to training program graduates, family and fr …

 

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