Scratching the Surface of a New Year Full of Promise

Rocky Casillas blog, mainstreet project

Around the winter solstice in December, the Northfield community came together to celebrate Main Street Project and our Research and Development Farm. There were many partners to recognize and many accomplishments to announce. At the celebration, we were thrilled to accept an amazing $50,000 donation from Compeer Financial and a $10,000 one from the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation. Many more donors stepped forward at the end of the year as well. Thank you!

Then we left the winter’s darkest nights and looked forward to increasing daylight —and our big plans for 2019. We have a vision that is expansive in its ambition to change our food system and our environment, and intimate in its ability to serve individuals in Southeast Minnesota and beyond.

On The Farm

On January 7, Main Street Project was accepted into the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program for our efforts to transition our farm to organic perennial and poultry production. In 2019, we will accelerate our efforts to protect Mud Creek, which flows into the Cannon River and then to the Mississippi. This spring, we will build chicken coops, and a cohort will begin production of a training flock, headed by Rebeccah Nyabando, a 2018 trainee from Kenya. We also will test hazelnuts as a feed for poultry to help build markets.

In The Community

We will help several families with enterprise and operational plans so that they can start their own small businesses. We will work with our partners to help those Agripreneurs obtain financing. Through our Sharing Our Roots program, we will expand our local Latinx community’s access to the farm, so that they can grow produce for themselves and to sell. Last year, more than 150 folks used our farm to plant, harvest, sell – and eat – safe and healthy foods.

In The Region

Join us at the Sustainable Farming Association of Minnesota conference February 9, 2019, for a launch of our bold plans to expand our regional clusters. By year’s end, we plan to have 10 coops in the Southeast Minnesota region alone. First up? A group of Rochester-area residents, who we will begin their training this winter.

Out In The World

There is high demand for our poultry-centered regenerative model. Over the coming months, we will be speaking in Ohio, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Indiana and on the White Earth Reservation. Check out this recent interview Quivera Coalition podcast featuring our Chief Strategy Officer, Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin.

We Love Our Partners

Our vision and that of the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation are well aligned: a prosperous and growing region with vibrant communities, innovative and successful economies and engaged and valued citizens. This Foundation just contributed $10,000 to our efforts, and, through the Grow A Farmer Fund, provided a low-interest loan to Antonia Navarro. Antonia trained in the Main Street Project method and is now expanding her operation. Thank you, SMIF!

Support Our Work

Our country needs organizations like Main Street Project, where immigrants are valued. where farmers can get a decent price for raising healthy food, and where the land and water are restored. We need models that take our ideals of equity and environmental protection and demonstrate them on the ground. Right here and right now. Please join us!


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