Main Street Project


Main Street Project Announces Expansion of Staff and Programs

Increased capacity will help bring Poultry-Centered Regenerative Agriculture model to scale.

 NORTHFIELD, MINN. (March 28, 2016) ­– Main Street Project ( announced today that it has expanded its staff, a decision that has been driven by the success and momentum of their work. Julie Ristau has joined the team as chief operating officer and Sue Gordy has joined the team as executive administrator. Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin, who formerly served the organization as chief operating officer, will now serve as chief strategy officer. Niel Ritchie remains chief executive officer. 

“Over the past ten years, Main Street Project has grown and evolved significantly,” explains Ritchie. “We’ve now assembled a team that can take our work to scale. Our poultry-based model is not only ecologically restorative and sustainable, but also accessible to all farmers.”

Main Street Project has been developing a paddock-based poultry production model near Northfield that incorporates perennials and free-ranging heritage chickens. The model is resilient in the face of economic, ecological and social change and helps to rebuild the local food system by creating pathways for underemployed residents to achieve more economic stability.

Main Street Project’s poultry-based regenerative model is on the move

Main Street Project’s growing momentum is evident in the number of requests they have received to duplicate their model elsewhere and in the partnership they have with the University of Minnesota to collaborate on evidence-based research. Guided by Haslett-Marroquin’s international experience, Main Street is in the process of establishing partner sites in Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota; San Miguel de Allende, Mexico and Guatemala.

To further their efforts in Northfield, they are working to secure land to build a central demonstration farm that will host training, hands on learning and an expansion of their production capacity.

Mainstreet Project staff_web-3

Julie Ristau

Prior to joining the staff at Main Street Project, Ristau worked with the organization as a consultant for more than two years, helping them to focus their mission, develop a business plan and secure additional funding, which uniquely positions her for this new role. Her past experience crosses many fields including a deep background in agriculture, communications, and non-profit and business development. She helped launch nationally renowned Utne Reader Magazine. She has also served as the endowed chair of Agricultural Systems at the University of Minnesota’s Institute for Sustainable Agriculture (MISA) where she taught, conducted field research and worked on enterprise development aimed at building social capital in southeast Minnesota. Ristau will oversee operations and drive the implementation of Main Street Project’s new business plan.

“I have always been passionate about strengthening rural communities and the restoration of our land,” says Ristau. “Main Street Project is poised to make a big impact. It has been rigorously tested and is a practical demonstration of the change we need.”

Sue Gordy

Sue Gordy

Sue Gordy’s more than 20 years of experience working in a corporate environment serving as a high-level manager, directing internal communications and creating data management systems will be key to the success of the new team.

“It’s exciting to join a team that has so much enthusiasm for the work they are doing,” says Gordy. “The impact of Main Street Project will live on for future generations by providing communities with better food along with many other social and economic benefits.”

About Main Street Project

Main Street Project revitalizes communities by developing and rebuilding a full-circle, local food system that is resilient in the face of economic, ecological and social change. Its programs rebuild the local food system while moving underemployed residents to economic stability. For more information, visit