Chief Strategy Officer, Main Street Project
Main Street Project Chief Strategy Officer Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin has a dream to revitalize rural Midwest communities—and it begins with a chicken.
According to Reginaldo—or Regi, for short—a poultry-centered regenerative agricultural model can chart a course toward prosperity for Latino immigrant families, boost local economies, and provide healthier food that all people of all incomes can afford.
“Most farm workers in the United States live in poverty, and most are Latino immigrants whose native communities integrated chickens in subsistence farming which serves as a global foundation for food security,” Regi said. “Main Street Project’s poultry-centered model opens the economic door to these workers with its low initial investment, while planting the seed for a variety of integrated crops and scalable industries hungry for rural employees and entrepreneurs.”
Preparing the Next Generation of Farmers
Main Street Project’s work is not just about happy chickens or healthy soil—they’re also working to develop comprehensive regional, alternative food systems controlled and/or owned by the people who grow, sell, and eat the food.
“Food is not just about feeding people. It’s about ensuring folks take ownership and control of systems and infrastructure,” he explained. “If you feed people, you only do that once. But when you educate and transfer ownership and control, people will learn how to feed themselves for a lifetime. This is the foundation of food security and the only way to actually feed the world while regenerating the resources on which food production depends.”
The first step is education. Main Street Project’s programs educate farmers in agricultural methods and processes, give them experience in small poultry-based farm operations, and provide them with the infrastructure and support they need to deliver products consistently across diverse ecosystems, markets, and cultures.
“Farmers don’t just grow crops and tend to animals; they are the stewards of complex ecosystems. We are providing the next generation of farmers with the foundation they need to thrive in regenerative agriculture systems,” Regi told us.
The Triple Bottom Line
Regenerative agriculture with Main Street Project starts with people, but it also built on the foundation of ecological resilience and economic success—making up the triple-bottom line approach.
“Ultimately, we are thinking about systems change,” said Regi. “We can only change the way food is grown and produced if we think about systems first. We need to think big picture and how everything works together—from the people, to the environment and to the economy.”