The team at Main Street Project is ready to dig in—literally. The organization announced today that it has purchased 100 acres of farmland near Northfield, a significant step in expanding its poultry-centered regenerative agriculture system through the region and changing the way food is produced around the world. The farmland is on Mud Creek, located on the northeast side of Northfield, in Dakota County. It will showcase the organization’s replicable, scalable system and provide a more expansive space for education and training programs for new and established farmers.
When Main Street Project’s farm is completed it will demonstrate the organization’s highly efficient, livestock and perennial-based agriculture system. Chickens will range in paddocks designed to mimic their natural habitat. They provide meat, eggs and natural fertilizer. Hazelnuts and elderberries are planted inside the paddock to provide cover for the birds, and outside of the paddock to provide cash crops for small farmers. Annual edible crops, like beans and garlic, are planted between the rows of perennials. The farm shows what is possible for the future of agriculture: a biodiverse system of symbiotically connected livestock and perennials, with no chemical inputs, that create the potential to build soil, retain and clean water, and deliver economic benefits to the community.
Julie Ristau, Main Street Project chief operating officer, who led the acquisition of the land, explained, “Launching the farm is an important milestone. It will significantly accelerate our mission to promote farming practices that are designed to have a measurable impact on local economies and promote the well-being of farmers. We’re grateful for our many partners who have made this tremendous vision a reality.”
Through creation of this innovative agricultural system and the organization’s work to restore the land, the farm will regenerate qualities of the farmland that have eroded over time, most notably nutrient-rich soil and natural wetlands.
Al Singer, land conservation manager for Dakota County, said, “Through its work, Main Street Project will transform the land—protecting productive farmland, natural areas and water quality. From restoring the natural hydrology of the land to protecting the creek from non-filtered runoff and expanding and improving wildlife habitats, Main Street Project’s farm will provide valuable insights into addressing many of the inherent conflicts occurring in rural landscapes.”
The Dakota County land on which the farm is located has been family-owned for three generations, most recently by Craig and Linda Wasner. After hearing of Main Street Project’s regenerative agriculture system, the Wasners’ passion for restoring the land, developing a small-scale diversified agricultural plot and reintroducing animals on the land made Main Street Project an ideal partner. It also gave the Wasners the opportunity to give back to local farmers, helping to mitigate some of the challenges they face when starting out in business.
In addition to the Wasners, Main Street Project’s farm has been made possible by the generosity of the husband-wife team of Tom Loretto and Najwa Bukhari of Northfield and their passion for addressing environmental, social and economic injustices to create a better world for future generations.
With the engagement of Craig, Linda, Tom and Najwa, the Main Street Project team secured a vision for its future. The vision wouldn’t have been realized, however, without assistance from Iroquois Valley Farms, collaboration from Dakota County and support from Greenvale Township.
Dave Miller, CEO of Iroquois Valley Farms, an Illinois-based organization that provides mortgage financing for sustainable agriculture, said, “We’re thrilled to partner with Main Street Project. The organization’s research-based system has proven its potential to produce healthy, nutritious food while providing an economic opportunity for area farmers. We look forward to seeing the organization’s impact multiply in the years ahead.”
Greg Langer, chairman of the board of Greenvale Township, said, “It’s a privilege to collaborate with Northfield’s own Main Street Project on this important endeavor. There’s no doubt this world will be a better place because of its mission-driven pursuit for high quality, locally produced food that uplifts the community and restores the environment.”
Main Street Project’s poultry-centered regenerative agriculture system, engineered by Chief Strategy Officer Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin, has already taken root in communities across the United States, Mexico and Guatemala. The Main Street Project team has helped train more than 70 agripreneurs in the poultry-centered regenerative agriculture practices.
Haslett-Marroquin said, “This is a system that makes sense. We’re advocating for a farming approach that has been trusted for hundreds of years. It’s good to the people who farm the land, it’s good to the land itself and it offers countless benefits to the community of people around it.”
Main Street Project’s poultry-centered regenerative agriculture system has triple bottom line (economic, ecological and social) benefits—one element of which is offering comprehensive training and education programs for farmers to ensure the model can be taught and replicated across the world. A key component of the farm’s mission is its research and development work, which earned a special distinction from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) as a research farm. This designation enables Main Street Project to create a robust research platform where the effects of the farm’s operation will be carefully monitored, especially its impact on the soil, water, farmers and economy.
Main Street Project Chief Executive Officer Niel Ritchie said, “Today is the beginning of a new chapter in Main Street Project’s story. We’re extraordinarily optimistic about our future and our ability to influence change.”
Main Street Project will host a grand opening ceremony on the farm this September. Until then, the team is planting a cover crop, perennial trees and shrubs, and beginning the hydrological work of restoring the land’s natural wetlands with their partners Ecological Design and Zumbro Valley Forestry and Prairie Land Pro. The farm’s progress is marked on Main Street Project’s website and can be followed on Facebook.
Click below to watch the story unfold.
For ten years, Iroquois Valley has been capitalizing the essential shift from monoculture ag systems to more diverse, healthy and profitable organic alternatives. That’s why they want to support the purchase of the Main Street Farm which will put restoration of the soil and water at the heart of its farming practices. This farm is poised to be a research and demonstration hub that will help to catalyze Regenerative Agriculture on a regional scale.
Our farm partners at Iroquois Valley are offering a soil conservation note to support farms like ours that practice regenerative agriculture. For more information, please see
For more information, please email Iroquois Valley’s Communications Manager, Claire Mesesan at email@example.com.
Check out Iroquois Valley’s newsletter about this opportunity here.
For more videos about our system, click here.
“We all have a green man inside of us… It is upon us to tap into that, to bring it about… That world is sometimes much more beautiful and in that other world people are happier, life is not as difficult.”
Join Regi at Augsburg College where he will discuss his book and his vision of regenerative agriculture at the March 22nd event.
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Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin to Speak at “In The Shadow of Green Man” Book Signing Hosted by Augsburg College
Augsburg alumnus Haslett-Marroquin will discuss his book and his vision of regenerative agriculture at March 22 event.
Main Street Project’s Chief Strategy Officer, Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin, will be a guest lecturer at Augsburg College on March 22, followed by a special reception from 4 to 6 p.m. At the event, Haslett-Marroquin will read from his new book, “In The Shadow of Green Man” followed by a Q&A discussion on his story and his vision of regenerative agriculture. The event will also include a dinner featuring chicken raised using Main Street Project’s innovative poultry-centered regenerative agriculture system.
About Main Street Project
Since 2010, Main Street Project has been developing and testing a poultry-centered regenerative model capable of producing economic, ecological and social benefits. Its programs rebuild the local food system while moving underemployed residents to economic stability. For more information, visit www.mainstreetproject.org.
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This past year has been another great year for Main Street Project. Even though we are a small group of people in a tiny little town, we have a big vision and are making a big impact. Our innovative Poultry-Centered Regenerative Agriculture System is at the heart of our efforts to redesign the food economy. We raise our poultry under the canopy of a perennial system, and rotationally graze them on well-managed paddocks. With a solid foundation of core social, economic and ecological, principles, we ensure that our farmers, the land and the regional economies can prosper, by design.
In 2017, we are growing our vision for a healthy food economy and establishing a 100-acre research and demonstration farm near Northfield, MN.
Main Street Farm will serve as a living laboratory, a hub for farmer training, and a catalyst for regional growth. With your support, our Poultry-Centered Regenerative Agriculture System is changing the way food is produced. We can’t wait to share this with you, as the story of our farm unfolds.
* We are working toward establishing a regional, perennial landscape. We have planted over 8,000 hazelnut seeds, established a huge elderberry cloning garden, and continued harvesting and propagating seeds and clones for our future work.
* Our Main Street Farmers raised over 7,000 chickens this year. We harvested over 13,000 eggs from our R&D farm and are selling them locally. Our key marketing partner, Bon Appetite Management Company continues to serve our chicken on the St. Olaf and Carleton campuses.
* We initiated a process for launching our Poultry-Centered Regenerative Agriculture Systems on a global scale by launching a site in Mexico, and beginning the process of training and launching sites in Colombia, Guatemala, Haiti and Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. We are building a whole new way of feeding people, in a world that is in great need for regenerative agriculture.
* Main Street Project’s Chief Strategy Officer Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin released a new book: In the Shadow of Green Man, helping to spread our poultry-centered regenerative agriculture system far and wide.
for your support in 2016. We wish you all a happy holiday and a prosperous new year to come.
from all of us at,
Agricultural consultant, systems engineer, and dynamo of social and economic change will share his own journey growing up poor and hungry during Guatemala’s civil war, lessons he learned from folk wisdom and nature, and how he is applying that to change the lives of farmers worldwide.
Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin’s new book offers an inside look into how his vision of regenerative agriculture was formed.