Tag Archives: Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin

Northfield’s longtime Utne Reader connection alive and well

Soren Walljasper, Tessa, Harriet Barlow, David Morris, David Morris, co-founder of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, stopped by the GBM on Friday morn. He and his wife, Harriet Barlow, were accompanying their granddaughter, Tessa, and her friend, Soren Walljasper, on a visit to Carleton College (left photo).

I got to know David in the 90s while working at Utne Reader, as he was a frequent contributor to the magazine and a regular at our staff salons. Soren’s dad, Jay Walljasper, was the magazine’s editor during that time. Jay has been frequent presenter here in Northfield (see these Locally Grown blog posts tagged with his name).

Griff Wigley, Jay Walljasper, Curt Johnson, I’m now collaborating with Jay and longtime client Curtis Johnson, Citistates Group, on a project (right photo). While I was at Utne, Curt was executive director of the Citizens League and was instrumental in finessing funding for the Neighborhood Salon project.  It was a 1991 salon here in Northfield that was instrumental in the birth of Northfield.org.

all-that-we-shareJay has a new book out titled All That We Share: A Field Guide to the Commons ("How to Save the Economy, the Environment, the Internet, Democracy, Our Communities and Everything Else that Belongs to All of Us").

One of the organizations profiled in his book is Northfield’s Rural Enterprise Center (REC). Another former Utne staffer, Jon Spayde, recently interviewed Jay about his book for The Line which included this blurb about Northfielder Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin (Regi!), and his work with the REC:

Reginaldo Haslett-MarroquinAnother of the stories in the book is about a guy named Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin, who lives down in Northfield. He’s an entrepreneur, one of the founders of Peace Coffee, and a Guatemalan immigrant. He wondered what he could create to boost the prospects of immigrants in Northfield, and also show other people that immigrants aren’t taking something away from the community, they’re contributing something. What he came up with was a chicken co-op.

Everybody understands that local food is healthier for people and for the economy, but local food is also really expensive. Yet here are all these immigrants who were farmers back home, working in jobs that don’t use those skills. So he created this co-op where they are raising chickens that are less expensive than the local, organically raised chickens you find in the grocery store. The community benefits and the immigrants benefit. And it’s a cooperative, so there’s not a single owner; but it’s part of the market economy and it’s not getting government funds.

See Jay’s article in the December issue of Yes! magazine which includes this great PDF poster titled 51 ways to spark a commons revolution:

51 ways to spark a commons revolution

Green collar economic development: Faribault 2, Northfield 1

green-jobsToday, Faribault’s Sage Electrochromics was cited in the Strib for winning “a $72 million federal loan guarantee for a major expansion of its manufacturing facility, where the company has developed ‘smart’ glass for windows and skylights that reduce energy use.”

Two weeks ago, Faribault’s McQuay plant was cited in the Strib for “using $1.3 million in new federal tax credits to revamp a manufacturing plant to make more energy efficient air-conditioners and 24 hour A/C repair technicians.”

In January, Northfield’s Cardinal Glass was cited in the Strib for receiving “$7.7 million of new federal funds to convert its residential-glass factory into a solar glass-coating plant.” (A tip of the blogger hat to Larry DeBoer for alerting me to it.)

I don’t know to what extent the people involved with Northfield’s economic development ecosystem (see organizations below) are pursuing green collar manufacturing jobs. I found a few mentions:

Continue reading Green collar economic development: Faribault 2, Northfield 1

Rural Enterprise Center’s Agripreneur Training Model featured in Strib

Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin on front page of Strib Variety section Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin and the Rural Enterprise Center here in Northfield are featured in today’s Strib in an article titled Project Cluck.

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.

Continue reading Rural Enterprise Center’s Agripreneur Training Model featured in Strib

Regi featured on APR’s ‘The Story’

Reginaldo Haslett-MarroquinReginaldo Haslett-Marroquin (AKA ‘Regi’) was featured on The Story last week in a piece titled The Fight to Farm. (The Story is distributed by American Public Media (APR), the parent of MPR.)

He’s Executive Director of the Rural Enterprise Center (part of The Main Street Project) and he wrote about being on The Story on his blog, including this:

Although a lot of what came out in The Story was about some of my encounters with racism and discrimination, all of those events happened before I moved to Northfield…

Greg Carlson, Justin Stets, Rick Estenson, Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin,

I took this photo of Regi last Saturday while he was having coffee at the GBM with Greg Carlson, Justin Stets, and Rick Estenson.

See all our blog entries tagged with "Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin."

Pollo de campo (free-range chicken) from the Northfield Area Latino Farmers group

Regi Haslett-Marroquin, Griff WigleyRobbie and I paid a visit to Regi Haslett-Marroquin’s Finca Mirasol farm north of Northfield last Saturday to buy some of their frozen free-range chickens. Or ‘solar chickens’ as Regi likes to say.

Want chickens? Contact Regi at the Rural Enterprise Center where he’s Executive Director. They have more in the freezer and want to expand their Northfield area customer base in 2009.

I asked Regi to email me a little background on the operation.

Continue reading Pollo de campo (free-range chicken) from the Northfield Area Latino Farmers group

Homeownership, a Necessary Step for Integration of Latinos/as in Northfield

Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin All of us who have purchased a home, know that it is a lot of work, requires a lot of knowledge and more than anything it requires access to resources and good financial planning. Without these and other key considerations, many people end-up in foreclosures.

In recent months, as part of the Newcomer Project that we undertook in partnership with the Northfield CAC, I have been putting together a plan with projects that deliver key elements of this program. The “green homes” project that I blogged about recently is one of them.

Another key project to deliver on the path to integration of the local Latino community in Northfield is related to home ownership, minorities still lag behind in this aspect of economic integration though it is recognized as a key aspect of healthy communities.

So where would one start to address the many complex and important issues associatd with learning the process, understanding the challenges and finding homes that fit the economic profile of many of the local Latino families?

One key step I know applies for all cases weather we are experts or new to an issue, is to ask for help. So, last Friday, I went to Saint Paul to meet with folks who know this work and have done it well for a long time.

The story is more complex, I was looking for help but help came to me through an e-mail from Susan Jackson, of American Dream Services, she lives in Northfield but works in St. Paul and was interested in offering this kind of training here in our area. I had information that Maritza Mariani was an Associate director of the Neighborhood Development Alliance in St. Paul and that their reputation in this area is among the best, but Susan was already talking with Maritza about this issue, so when her e-mail came, I was ready to move on the issue.

We met last Friday at American Dreams office in St. Paul and are now moving forward to put together a series of home ownership education trainings in Northfield. I will be posting new blogs on this project as there are many issues to cover, from predatory lending to what comes after the workshops, for now I feel that having these top notch team behind us is a solid start.

Countering the negative effects of a more diverse Northfield

Image of Diversity HandsLast week, the Strib reprinted a column by Los Angeles Times’ Gregory Rodriguez titled Diversity may not be the answer: Just existing together won’t erase mistrust; instead, we should work toward creating an identity that includes everyone. (The Strib used the headline and tagline: Together, apart: A dissection of diversity – People in the most diverse areas are the most likely to withdraw — even from those with whom they have much in common.)

Rodriquez cites the recent work by Harvard professor Robert Putnam, of Bowling Alone fame, in a research article titled E Pluribus Unum: Diversity and Community in the Twenty-first Century published in the June 2007 issue of Scandinavian Political Studies. The abstract:

Ethnic diversity is increasing in most advanced countries, driven mostly by sharp increases in immigration. In the long run immigration and diversity are likely to have important cultural, economic, fiscal, and developmental benefits. In the short run, however, immigration and ethnic diversity tend to reduce social solidarity and social capital.

New evidence from the US suggests that in ethnically diverse neighbourhoods residents of all races tend to ‘hunker down’. Trust (even of one’s own race) is lower, altruism and community cooperation rarer, friends fewer. In the long run, however, successful immigrant societies have overcome such fragmentation by creating new, cross-cutting forms of social solidarity and more encompassing identities. Illustrations of becoming comfortable with diversity are drawn from the US military, religious institutions, and earlier waves of American immigration.

The Wikipedia entry on Putnam has this bulleted list of the downsides:

Low trust with high diversity not only affects ethnic groups, but is also associated with:

  • Lower confidence in local government, local leaders and the local news media.
  • Lower political efficacy – that is, confidence in one’s own influence.
  • Lower frequency of registering to vote, but more interest and knowledge about politics and more participation in protest marches and social reform groups.
  • Less expectation that others will cooperate to solve dilemmas of collective action (e.g., voluntary conservation to ease a water or energy shortage).
  • Less likelihood of working on a community project.
  • Less likelihood of giving to charity or volunteering.
  • Fewer close friends and confidants.
  • Less happiness and lower perceived quality of life.
  • More time spent watching television and more agreement that “television is my most important form of entertainment”.

Putnam has a site called Better Together, designed to help counter these effects.

 Image of Better Together banner

Putnam has 150 suggestions for what can be done to build social capital.

What should we be doing here in Northfield? Reginaldo, help!

Regi gets a full page in the Strib South

IMG_0727.JPGYesterday’s StarTribune South section carried this full page story titled: A Latino leader’s next step: make more leaders Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin hopes helping entrepreneurs will invigorate Northfield’s Latino community.

And I thought I was a media maggot. Regi, you win, hands down!

FYI, Reginaldo’s weblog is on the Latino Enterprise Center website. The Strib should have linked to that. Regi’s got the full text of the article blogged already but here’s an excerpt:

Q What are the biggest challenges to getting two cultural groups to understand each other?

A I believe the biggest challenge comes out of the poverty aspect. People are working two shifts. How do you have time to engage in other things? This poverty … doesn’t just stop with the families. It goes to the businesses, it goes to the kids, it comes all the way around to the parents, in terms of connectedness to the school, it goes to the education. It’s just amazing. Sometimes we think of it in terms of eating three meals a day, but that’s just the tip.

I’ve spoken to almost 200 Latinos, and there isn’t a single one who won’t come to a meeting. But I can only get three or four together at a given time. I’m not here to run a show. I’m here to organize a grassroots response to integration and poverty.

Podcast: Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin, Executive Director, Latino Enterprise Center


Our guest this week was Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin, Executive Director of the new Latino Enterprise Center (LEC).

Regi talked with us about the Center’s mission to help Northfield “capitalize on the larger economic opportunity created through the growth in the local Latino population.” He also discussed plans for a Latino Civic Engagement Center.

Click play to listen. 30 minutes.

Our show, Locally Grown, airs on Tuesdays at 4:30 PM, KRLX, 88.1 FM. You can also subscribe to the podcast feed, or subscribe with iTunes.

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