Main Street Project
- Adaptive Readiness
- Ecological Agriculture
- Minneapolis, MN
Main Street Project is developing an innovative, sustainable food and agriculture system that makes it possible for aspiring immigrant farmers or “agripreneurs” to walk a path out of poverty to prosperity.
Today’s food and agriculture system is broken. Increasingly consolidated, the focus on ‘cheap food’ has too long ignored its hidden costs, including underpaid labor, poor working environment, and a rapidly deteriorating ecology. The impact on immigrants is disproportionate. Though they perform a significant percent of farm and food system labor, they have few options to move beyond the laborer role and are caught in a cycle of poverty, unable to afford healthy food for their families.
Main Street Project has taken a two-pronged approach to creating a sustainable and accessible system that reduces ecological damage from agriculture and can withstand the worst effects of climate change. They’re piloting a diverse but integrated sustainable farming model with natural, free-range poultry at its center, and including perennial crops and value-added products. And they’ve launched a unique culturally accessible training program that addresses structural barriers such as lack of access to land, traditional financing, market resources and marketing.
In 2011, they graduated the first class of new farmers using a Spanish-language curriculum. In 2012, they launched a post-classroom business incubator program that includes transitional support in the form of land, financing and market access to prepare agripreneurs for a successful launch as independent producers in an evolving sustainable food and agriculture system.