Energy – Power derived from utilization of physical or chemical resources; the strength and vitality required for sustained activity.
Energy is the power that runs your life. Whether it was the energy to wake up in the morning, the energy to start the engine of your car, the energy it takes you to get through work or school – there is energy everywhere around you. As you are sitting reading this post, there is energy surrounding you. The energy that you have to physically read it, the eyesight, the finger that scrolls the page down, the electricity that powers your computer or powers your charger for your phone, etc.
At Main Street Project, we measure energy throughout our sustainable model of connectable enterprises that depend on one other. As in an ecosystem, there is a need for balance and self-sufficiency. Main Street Project is taking a step back and looking at how our industrial food system is working now – often out of balance using massive amounts of finite resources and not utilizing products as a whole. These issues often lead to health effects – including humans, animals, plants, the water, and the environment. Main Street Project is not only addressing those issues, but also putting changes for these issues into action.
The interdependence of the ecosystem helps the balance of plants and animal populations. In our model this interdependence is ideal – from seed to plant, to feed the chickens, to produce chicken waste for fertilizing the soil, to provide nourishment and nitrogen for a plant. Utilization of all parts of the energy cycle is crucial to our survival and the future of our food system. It is critical to the health of our people, the animals, and the environment. These are big-scale issues, and Main Street Project realizes to make a difference, we have to start small.
Our system at Main Street Project is not only to revitalize communities, but to begin establishing a better food system and create healthier lives for those in our region. Our chickens, the centerpiece of our system, are being raised in year-round poultry buildings, an indoor solarium that rarely requires additional heat – which is needed in these frigid Minnesota winters. In the hot summers, these chickens are roaming outside, casually hanging out underneath hazelnut bushes and giant sunflowers. These plants give the chickens the opportunity to be outside and not stuck in a coop and also protects from the airborne predators including hawks and owls. In addition to keeping the flow of energy and utilizing all our resources, the hazelnuts and sunflowers seeds are harvested for value-added product which can be utilized as additional income for the farmer. The chickens get nutrition by foraging on the paddock. The chicken waste is nitrogen-rich and can be utilized to fertilize the soil as they roam around the paddock – another important enterprise to the cycle.
One of the most important parts in the model of agriculture and the food system – the farmer. Main Street Project helps the underserved, particularly Latino immigrants, to develop their knowledge and business expertise in farming. We provide the opportunity for the individual to contribute and invest in their community and to learn the business aspects to earn enough to keep their families healthy and secure. This is yet another cycle within Main Street Project – the cycle of creating a path out of poverty. “We are not here to train, but rather to improve development – we are making a step out of poverty for immigrants.” Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin, Chief Operating Officer, describes. “To keep these coops running, we need to allocate people, energy, and resources. It is a cycle and ongoing projects are what keep us striving towards the next step.”
Main Street Project aims to be a part of the change in the food system, to provide an alternative to worker exploitation, depleted soils, and large-scale distribution. We encourage a local food economy that will revitalize small farmers and communities. We continue our work on producing a network of employee-owned, local distribution, energy-efficient farms to create a healthy food system. The cycle of energy is very important, especially within the food system. Before you click to the next website, remember this – energy is surrounding you in all aspects. We need to take control and utilize all aspects of energy to fuel us for now and the future.