As director of the Rural Enterprise Center (REC) in Northfield, Haslett-Marroquin has been training Latino immigrant "agripreneurs" to raise chickens in Northfield and Cannon Falls for the past three years. Many are already involved in community vegetable gardening.
"This is an idea that both President Obama and someone with a third-grade education can get excited about," he said. The model he hopes to spread throughout southern Minnesota will eventually include turkeys, pastured and forest-ranged pigs, small grains, perennial fruits, vegetables and herbs. Illustrating why the plan will work with a story about the 1,000-year-old symbiotic relationship between hazelnuts and chickens, Haslett-Marroquin insists he’s no romantic idealist.
"We’re not dreaming here," he said. "This makes long-range economic sense."
Regi has a blog post up titled Star Tribune Article on our Work.