Main Street Project has just completed a second year of research analyzing our integrative poultry-centered regenerative agricultural system. Our field-based research helps us to verify the effectiveness and safety of our model under real-world conditions. Our Demonstration Farm provides a fertile venue for our research. Recent projects include:
- A cost of production and return on investment analysis of the broiler side of our system
- Rigorous safety testing on passive composting in our fields, which could potentially introduce a new, certifiable, highly efficient standard for manure management
- Chemical compound and tissue sample analysis to quantify the impressive pest-fighting success of our potato plants when alley cropped in tandem with elderberries
- Air quality testing in our chicken coops, to ensure the safest possible environments for birds and their keepers
- Hazelnut production under poultry-based weeding and fertilizing
- Alley cropping of annual vegetables in combination with elderberry production
- Alley cropping of annual grains in combination with hazelnut production within poultry ranging paddock
- Preliminary data collection on hazelnuts’ productivity levels inside poultry ranging paddocks
- Fall application of non-composted straw from poultry barns as a combination of mulch and fertilization in one application (as straw is used for bedding in the solarium part of our poultry barns, this straw is richly mixed with poultry manure)
Our Research and Development agenda going forward:
- Improve on existing research for sprouts-based poultry food systems and further reduce the need for ground feed while sustaining current flock density and productivity.
- Further develop winter production and incorporation of natural processes (passive-solar energy, whole grain mixes, etc.)
- Deploy farm-level scale operations so that new economic returns on investment can be documented and new points of mechanical efficiencies can be introduced system-wide.
- Sustain/expand the training and deployment of immigrant farmers
- Test strategies and approaches for incorporating our system with established small farms in the Midwest, beginning with SE Minnesota
- Support the organizing capacity and cooperation of farmers adopting our system
- Prototype and launch production systems with a focus in Mexico and Guatemala as a way to achieve a larger-scale social impact through food security, larger scale engagement of small traditional subsistence farmers and to transfer this impact across borders as a way to build the international grassroots connectivity needed to re-unite families separated by economic displacement and food insecurity.
- Incorporate a multi-canopy perennial cropping system into the more evolved prototype production units by adding oaks and sugar maples to the hazelnut and elderberries.
- Isolate specific areas where linear-based measurements of nutrients and elements can provide data for analysis and management of perennial cropping systems
- Evaluate field-based grain sprouting systems
- Evaluate nutrient density of alternative food (whole grains) and ground feed mixes
- Establish benchmarks for the ecological impact of organically grown small grains, especially perennial intermediate grasses.
- Continue to evaluate bird density per production unit on the basis of the regenerative characteristics given ecologies where our system is being applied
- Develop and test a process blueprint for the analysis and selection of perennial cropping systems for at least three critical ecologies (high desert regions, rainforest, northern climate).
- Develop and test a set of universal measuring indicators that isolate critical social, economic and ecological factors that if measured, could create the permanent foundation for a global validation of our system
- Deploy a Southern Minnesota regional system and anchor the development of the hazelnut, elderberry and nut-finished pork industries with their accompanying value added, processing and distribution infrastructure.
We’re expanding our field testing program under different social, ecologic and economic conditions, by developing additional demonstration/training sites in Mexico, Guatemala and Pine Ridge, South Dakota. We call these practice-based partnerships and we will be reporting our results as they become available.