Space for Listening and Learning

Rocky Casillas mainstreet project

On March 21st, Main Street Project hosted its second listening session of the 2019 season. Participants gathered in Northfield from Iowa, Wisconsin and across Minnesota to learn more about our model and how to implement perennial agriculture practices in the Upper Midwest. The goal of this session was to learn more about what influences the goals and decision making of small farmers in our region.

We began the session in a large circle to find out more about each other’s current farming practices and future aspirations. Bob Kell, our Agripreneur educator, mentioned that Main Street Project is “about getting people back to into the lifestyle they come from — close and connected to food production and the land.” After a quick presentation about our organization and the model, attendees were given the floor to ask questions about: paddock plantings, sprouting grains, chicken breed characteristics, harvesting hazelnuts, best practices for poultry health, and much more.

Next we broke into small groups, where participants discussed barriers to entry for new and beginning farmers, like access to land and capital, and how personal values influence decision making, like choosing where to market products or taking soil health seriously.

When we came back together as a large group, an attendee shared his perspective, “Previous agricultural systems were labor intensive, current agricultural systems are energy intensive, and future agricultural systems will most likely be design intensive.”

Main Street Project too believes that by designing integrated agricultural systems, we can address many of the issues of current large-scale agriculture. We also believe in the importance of co-created space for learning and listening.

Stay tuned for future listening sessions, workshops and field days hosted on our farm this growing season! To learn more about our farm and support our work.

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