On a 100-acre farm in Minnesota, chickens graze in paddocks under perennial hazelnut and elderberry bushes. Annual crops, such as beans and vegetables, are planted nearby.
Rocky Casillas is with the Main Street Project, the nonprofit that runs the farm. He says the farm’s methods are good for the animals, plants, and the climate.
“The poultry and the perennials have this symbiotic relationship,” he says. “The trees provide the poultry with shade and protection against avian predators.”
The birds’ manure adds nutrients to the soil, and the perennial bushes help store carbon in the ground.
To teach more people to farm this way, the Main Street Project offers bilingual training programs, particularly geared toward local farm laborers, who are often Latino immigrants.
“Part of that training is learning how to create a business plan, how to manage your finances, how to find markets, and how to care for the chickens, for the flock,” Casillas says.
He says the goal is to provide people with skills and knowledge they could apply in raising chickens on their own or even in starting their own small farms.
Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media and Molly Matthews Multedo.