2012 Agripreneur Training Graduates
Sustainable Food and Agriculture
Sustainable Food & Agriculture program fact sheet (PDF)
System products and enterprises (PDF)
Today’s food and agriculture system is broken. Increasingly consolidated at every link of the food chain, the focus on ‘cheap food’ has too long ignored its hidden costs, including low and unpaid labor and benefits; poor working environments; and a deteriorating ecology.
The impact on immigrants is disproportionate. Though they perform a significant percentage of farm and food system labor (1) they have few options to move beyond the laborer role, and are caught in a cycle of poverty unable to afford healthy or sufficient food for themselves and their families.
Main Street Project’s sustainable food and agriculture program (formerly called the Rural Enterprise Center) is creating an innovative, sustainable system that makes it possible for aspiring immigrant farmers or “agripreneurs” to walk a path out of poverty to prosperity.
What we’re working on
Training new agripreneurs
Spanish-language classroom and field training prepares new farmers for the business of running a small-scale free-range poultry operation – part of a larger system of symbiotically connected agricultural enterprises. System products and enterprises (PDF)
Supporting training graduates through a business incubator process
New farmers receive ongoing support or “accompaniment” – beginning with agripreneur incubator resources such as business planning and production coaching, transitional access to land and poultry production facilities on incubator sites, and access to financing/marketing support. Buy Main Street Farmers chicken and support new farmers.
Identifying financing options for new agripreneurs
Farmers who make $20,000 or less a year don’t qualify for conventional financing, so we created the no-collateral Grow a Farmer micro-loan fund to finance start-up costs for chicks and feed. Learn more or contribute to the Grow a Farmer fund.
Building out a replicable sustainable food and agriculture system
We’re working with local, regional and national partners to put structures, documentation and collaborations in place to effectively replicate the sustainable system.