Agriculture, Food, Nutrition

Main Street Project

  • Northfield, MN
  • www.mainstreetproject.org

Mission Statement

Main Street Project’s mission is to increase access to resources, share knowledge and build power in order to create a socially, economically and ecologically resilient food system.

We envision a food system to revitalize our communities by:

1) Creating economic opportunities for new farmers and rural communities.
2) Producing safe, affordable, and naturally nutritious foods, free from antibiotics and chemicals.
3) Using energy and natural resources more efficiently to lower production costs, reduce environmental impacts and adapt to climate change realities.

Our strategy focuses on changing the current conventional food and agricultural system, dominated by major producers, by deploying an alternative, small-scale sustainable poultry-based system that is accessible and economically viable for aspiring Latino and other immigrant farmers, and easily scalable to meet market conditions.

Indigenous wisdom informs all of our work. Sustainable agriculture is a continuation of the principles and thinking that prevailed prior to factory farming, where a multitude of foods was produced with close to zero inputs, no need for fertilizing, and biodiversity that generated a sense of security and resilience. Had it not been for the global corporate takeover of our food system, we would not now need to re-envision a food system that is ecologically sustainable, healthy and just.

Service Areas

Self-reported

International

We serve rural areas in the Midwest, we also collaborate with other organizations throughout the U.S.  We serve Latino populations and because we're based in the Twin Cities, we put some of those same tools
to work with communities of color, including other communities that
have been historically marginalized in the metro area.

ruling year

2005

CEO since 2005

Self-reported

Mr. Niel Ritchie

COO since 2006

Self-reported

Mr. Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin

Keywords

Self-reported

cultural organizing, civic participation, poverty reduction, economic development, immigration, youth leadership

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EIN

20-1788275

Physical Address

105 East 4th Street Suite 213

Northfield, MN 55057

Also Known As

MSP

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Management & Technical Assistance (K02)

Other Food, Agriculture, and Nutrition N.E.C. (K99)

Rural (S32)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Programs

Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Program 1

Latino Leadership Project - To increase rural Latino access to and representation in the political system through constituency controlled civic engagement activities within Latino communities. The Latino Leadership Project has been formed to meet these goals. This project builds upon and strengthens work done in previous election cycles by nonprofits and community groups. The Raíces Project to build individual and community capacity to reduce poverty by strengthening community readiness to develop, implement and sustain asset based strategies and initiatives toward community improvement. They work in collaboration with the University of Iowa. Rural Media Project - Much of the conversation about the future of rural America occurs in the traditional public square of rural life: the local daily and weekly newspapers and rural radio programs. At a time when informed, quality reporting and public dialogue is most needed, rural media have fewer financial and human resources to met that challenge. The Rural Media Project is designed to help strengthen rural news outlets by providing continuing education opportunities and a consistent flow of credible information and policy analysis. Latino Enterprise Center (LEC) - the Rural Latino Enterprise Initiative (RLEI) is an effort to alleviate poverty by strengthening the ability of rural Latino/as to explore, develop, sustain, and grow a variety of entrepreneurial ideas and projects.

Category

Population(s) Served

Budget

Service Areas

Self-reported

International

We serve rural areas in the Midwest, we also collaborate with other organizations throughout the U.S.  We serve Latino populations and because we're based in the Twin Cities, we put some of those same tools
to work with communities of color, including other communities that
have been historically marginalized in the metro area.

External Reviews

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Financials

Financial information is an important part of gauging the short- and long-term health of the organization.

THE MAIN STREET PROJECT
Fiscal year: Jan 01-Dec 31
Yes, financials were audited by an independent accountant.

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Main Street Project

Leadership

NEED MORE INFO ON THIS NONPROFIT?

Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2014, 2013 and 2012
  • Board Chair and Board Members
  • Access to the GuideStar Community
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CEO

Mr. Niel Ritchie

COO

Mr. Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin

BIO

Niel Ritchie is founder and chief executive officer of Main Street Project. He grew up in Iowa, studied rural sociology at the University of Iowa, and has worked to change the trajectory of U.S. farm and food policy for more than 30 years. From 1990 until 2002 he served as a policy analyst and national organizer at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. Prior to that he served executive director of Minnesota PIRG and managed congressional and state executive office campaigns in Iowa and Minnesota.

Niel serves on the board of directors of the National Rural Community Assistance Partnership and the Alliance for Aviation Across America, a national organization focused on maintaining rural vitality and access to services. He also serves on the steering committee of the National Rural Assembly.

STATEMENT FROM THE CEO

"At Main Street Project, we believe that revitalizing rural communities can solve our nation’s food crisis.
There’s a reason our food and agriculture system is not working: not for consumers, who face higherprices, declining quality and increasing health risks; not for agricultural workers, who suffer long hours
and low wages; and not for the envi ronment, with soil depletion, chemical inputs and toxic waste being
inseparable components of industrial farming. The reason is the system of ownership and control of
our food and agriculture system that concentrates power in the hands of a select few, treats consumers
merely as a source of revenue, and treats the environment as nothing more than the source of the
products that capture that revenue.
It was not always this way. Industrial farming, consolidation of farmland, heavy use of chemica l
fertilizer and antibiotics, appalling conditions for livestock, use of genetically modified organisms—
these are all recent introductions to our farming system. Had it not been for the global corporate
takeover of our food system over the past 40 years, we would not now need to re-envision a food system
that is ecologically sustainable, healthy and just.
Main Street Project is working to change all that. We have developed a system of small scale sustainable
agriculture with the potential to scale up to meet some of the most profound challenges of our time:
building rural prosperity; delivering healthy, wholesome food; removing the health risks associated
with chemical and antibiotic intensive farming; and mitigating environmental degradation. And
because our sustainable agriculture system is market based, there is built in incentive to scale up,
expand, and ultimately to challenge our food system’s corporate control.
But it’s not enough to talk about how we can change the system. At Main Street Project, we’re doing it.
Main Street project is moving beyond our current prototype facilities to develop a consolidated
demonstration farm in Northfield, Minnesota that will put our prototype into action. Our Main Street
Farm will produce six symbiotically aligned outputs (meat chicken, eggs, nuts, fish, vegetables and
fruits) that can generate revenue and provide the basis for a successful farm enterprise. The farm will
also serve as a training facility for our cohort of primarily Latino immigrant farmers, and will serve as a
testing facility where we can establish baseline economic and ecological modeling and data to improve
the sustainability and scalability of our system over time.
Main Street Project is also coordinating a regional planning effort drawing on best practices from
diverse regions and initiatives to develop a regional vision that moves Southeast Minnesota forward—
developing the structures, financing, partnerships and understanding needed to create a sustainable
and equitable food system.
Through these initiatives, we are developing a food system with the power to revitalize rural
communities—revitalize"

Governance

BOARD CHAIR

Jim Blaha

Community Action Center of Northfield

Term: Mar 2005 - Dec 2016

BOARD LEADERSHIP PRACTICES

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BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?


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CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?


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ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?


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BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?