Main Street Project’s Poultry Production Model to be Studied by University of Minnesota Southeast Regional Sustainable Development Partnership

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Studies will help Main Street Project to identify the best course of action to bring their model to scale, creating an ecologically restorative and sustainable agriculture system.

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We see great opportunity for Main Street Project’s model to contribute to building rural prosperity, reducing chemical and antibiotic intense farming and reversing environmental damage.

Main Street Project (http://www.mainstreetproject.org) announced today that at its January meeting, the Board of the University of Minnesota Southeast Regional Sustainable Development Partnership (RSDP) approved more than $34,000 in funding to support a series of studies on Main Street Project’s poultry production model. The studies will help Main Street Project to identify the best course of action to bring their model to scale, creating an ecologically restorative and sustainable agriculture system.

“The vision of Main Street Project to develop a food system based on an integrated system that minimizes waste, maximizes production capacity and provides scalable opportunities to farmers of all backgrounds is of interest to our land grant university,” said Erin Meier, SERSDP Executive Director. “We see great opportunity for Main Street Project’s model to contribute to building rural prosperity, reducing chemical and antibiotic intense farming and reversing environmental damage.”

Research examining worker health and safety, labor requirements, profitability and production efficiency will build upon earlier studies evaluating food safety, health impacts and cost scenarios. If called for, the production system will be modified according to the recommendations of these final studies and RSDP will coordinate Extension training to promote the system.

“Creating new models and systems that can truly revitalize our rural communities and that are also ecologically restorative requires learning what works, what works better and acting on that knowledge,” said Niel Ritchie, chief executive officer for Main Street Project. “Our partnership with RSDP allows us to further our mission and increase our impact on the regional food system.”

Main Street Project has developed this model to create an avenue into agricultural entrepreneurship for low-income immigrants via high-quality, sustainable agricultural production for local food markets and values-based consumers. The production method is designed to produce a natural poultry product using the Label Rouge bird made popular by pastured poultry enthusiasts in France; incorporates an alternative feeding system of forages and sprouted grain on small plots; aims to improve soil health for crops by incorporating poultry and perennials in the same system; utilizes polycultures to naturally control pests and reduce the need for chemical pesticides and fertilizers; and increases long-term overall production potential by stacking agricultural enterprises on the same land including perennial fruit and nut crops.

About RSDP
The Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships (RSDP) connect greater Minnesota communities to the University of Minnesota in order to help solve problems and take advantage of new opportunities. As a part of University of Minnesota Extension, RSDP brings together local talent and resources with University of Minnesota knowledge and seed funding to drive sustainability in four areas: agriculture and food systems, tourism and resilient communities, natural resources, and clean energy. For more information, visit http://www.rsdp.umn.edu

About Main Street Project
Main Street Project revitalizes communities by developing and rebuilding a full-circle, local food system that is resilient in the face of economic, ecological and social change. Main Street Project programs rebuild the local food system while moving underemployed residents to economic stability through small-farm ownership. For more information, visit http://www.mainstreetproject.org.

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Christine Tsang
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