The problems with our food system are the result of decades of short-term thinking and misguided policies driven by global corporations with a chokehold on the entire industry. We see the consequences in everything from global epidemics in diabetes to global warming. Our current food problems are both broad and deep, so the alternative must be as well. Main Street Project’s solution begins with Building a New Model for Regenerative Agriculture [link to], but we’re not just about happy chickens or healthy soil; we are developing a comprehensive regional, alternative food system controlled by the people who grow, sell, and eat the food. Like everything, a good food product needs an effective support system to succeed. We’re not just counting on that; we’re building it.
And we’re already well on our way. The model above shows the primary objectives at each stage of our development into a regional food alternative with a significant market share of the egg and poultry industry in Southeast Minnesota. Stage 1 was our proof of concept stage. Over the past 6 years we’ve gone from theory to verified practice, demonstrating through observation and scientific testing that our poultry-centered, regenerative agriculture prototype works.
We are currently in Stage 2, and a fully functional Central Farm will be our hub for regional expansion. Expanding our facilities will increase our capacity for training, for meat and egg production, and will broaden our opportunities for experimentation with improvements in energy efficiency, symbiotic crops, and production design. Aggregating all of this will increase our output to sufficient scale to support systems of processing, packaging, distribution, branding, and other business development for system expansion, all while keeping food affordable and ecologically sound. We are also developing our certification system, which will give farmers criteria and standards with which they can apply our blueprint in virtually any climate where food can be grown.
Stages 3 and 4 continue the expansion of our system in SE MN to the point where we gain significant market share while regenerating soil, protecting our waterways, and supplying the region with nutritious free-range poultry meat and eggs. With greater participation and crop production, we will also see increased expansion into more enterprise sectors – not only selling grains, fruits, nuts, and vegetables, but seeing community members turn products into jams, salsas, soups, and other value-added products.
The larger our umbrella is, the more people it can shelter. Rural residents don’t have to be farmers to see economic benefits from the system. They can be designers, drivers, marketing specialists, or chefs who can use their skills to support healthy food while contributing to the community’s economic stability and food security. Building a diverse and integrated system helps expand the cycle of regenerative energy transfer from the farm, to the poultry system, to the entire region.
Stage 4 of our project isn’t the end, but the foundation of a new beginning. While we are expanding this system in SE MN, our blueprint is also being applied to our partner farms in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, South Dakota, and elsewhere. We demonstrate how it works here, so that others see that it can work to spread ecological, social, and economic benefits in any community that wants it.