“It starts at the individual level.”
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 local food.” She approached Main Street Project’s Chief Operating Officer, Reginaldo Marroquin-Haslett (Regi) and asked if he would “cut me a deal if I get enough people together.” After a successful first sale, Regi asked her if she wanted to organize customers on a regular basis. She accepted, and so what began as a desire for quality meat for her family and community, became a three-year-plus endeavor dubbed the ‘Lakeville Drop Site’ for Main Street Farmers chicken.
Barb believes in reconnecting people to their bodies and their communities, and sees life as a set of connected systems. She has become a spokesperson in connecting communities to Main Street Farmers chicken. She is also part of several email groups and is able to connect with people in her homeschool community. Currently 20-30 families buy Main Street Farmers chicken regularly through the southwest Lakeville drop site. At the last sale in October, 28 families purchased 280 whole chickens.
“The community aspect is important,” explains Barb. During the last sale, customers were also given copies of the story of the family who raised that flock of chickens. She received positive feedback via email: “That’s really cool. I always wondered where my chicken comes from,” said one buyer.
“I can’t stand being part of a system that crams birds in cages. I want to purchase from individuals and support local people. I do not want to support corporations. I don’t like being part of that system.” Barb combines her background as an art director in advertising and marketing, with her passion for building ecological, economical and socially responsible sustainable communities. What resulted is a new opportunity that’s gaining momentum. “People ask about the possibilities of other sites, other areas. I could help arrange that. We are having chicken sales more frequently than we used to. Now we have them on a regular basis, on a quarterly basis. People know when the next sale is,” she says.
She strongly believes that everyone can play a vital role in changing the current system of raising poultry: “I believe that our everyday individual decisions make an impact. It starts at the individual level. It is the first step in making change. How and what you spend your money on matters and makes a greater impact.”
If you’d like to connect with Barb or learn more about Main Street Farmers drop sites, email Main Street Project.