Minnesota-based nonprofit Main Street Project, which runs a 100-acre farm in Dakota County without the use of chemicals and operates on a shared economy model, is providing bilingual training programmes to teach local farm labourers how to start their own sustainable farms.
Main Street Project’s poultry-centered regenerative agriculture training provides classroom and on-farm instruction. The goal is to provide local farm labourers, often Latino and East African immigrants, with skills and knowledge they could apply in raising chickens on their own or even in starting their own small farms.
Participants on the programme learn how to write business plans, how to manage their finances, how to find markets, and how to care for the chickens and the flock, and feeding and paddock management.
At the 100-acre farm in Minnesota, chickens graze in paddocks under perennial hazelnut and elderberry bushes, while annual crops, such as beans and vegetables, are planted nearby. According to the nonprofit, the farm’s methods are good for the animals, plants, and the climate.
Main Street Project, whose farming methods are largely informed by indigenous practices, made poultry the focus in its regenerative farming model because chickens work well with the crops, farmers, and environment.
“[Chickens] are a one-stop weed-eating, bug-killing, soil-enhancing replacement for the counter-productive synthetic pesticides, herbicides, and fertilisers destroying conventional farms and their communities,” Main Street Project says. “They can also start to reverse global warming by increasing the soil’s ability to absorb carbon. More carbon sequestration means an actual reduction in greenhouse gases currently in the atmosphere – something that conservation alone cannot do. Not only can Main Street Project’s regenerative farming system repair rural ecosystems, it can actually cool the planet.
“Every decision [made at the farm] is assessed for its impact on the entire ecosystem. This means we implement not only poultry paddocks and cover crops, but also solar heating in the coops, perennials that protect the chickens and provide revenue, and grains that strengthen the soil and feed the poultry. Since energy-efficiency and symbiosis are at the heart of any sustainable system, these relationships are critical. The cycle creates a variety of products that support the farmer and the model itself, and can be aggregated to build regional strength and resilience.”
The nonprofit also provides fruit and vegetable production training, working with trainees through an entire food production cycle – from starting seeds then transplanting them, managing the field, and harvesting and distributing produce.
Image Source: Main Street Project Facebook page
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyle including sustainable and green living. She also offers content services to businesses and individuals at Rosamedea.com