Going beyond the minimum wage

Ryan Deto | April/May 2010 issue
When Latino immigrants come to America, most end up working labor-intensive jobs that require little or no expertise. Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin, co-leader of the Hillside Farmers Cooperative in southern Minnesota, is helping change that. “Right now, there is no option for the Latino community to get into farming,” says Haslett-Marroquin. “Many just work for the minimum wage, but they have the potential to do more.” Haslett-Marroquin realizes this potential by linking Latinos with the six farms in the co-op, where they can put their experience to good use by raising free-range poultry and other naturally grown products.
This type of farming has always been part of Haslett-Marroquin’s life. His father ran agricultural co-ops in northern Guatemala, and Haslett-Marroquin has been working with them ever since. “We want to guarantee volumes without compromising our values,” he says. “We want to provide truly free range.” The Hillside Farmers Cooperative puts sustainability—everything from soil management to a new solar-heated chicken facility—at the heart of its mission.
Plus, Haslett-Marroquin keeps everything local. His work has produced a ripple effect, with the nearby towns of Canon Falls and Dodge City joining the co-op. Small farms are struggling, Haslett-Marroquin acknowledges, but if they collaborate, they will be more able to compete and provide for their communities.

Solution News Source

Going beyond the minimum wage

Ryan Deto | April/May 2010 issue
When Latino immigrants come to America, most end up working labor-intensive jobs that require little or no expertise. Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin, co-leader of the Hillside Farmers Cooperative in southern Minnesota, is helping change that. “Right now, there is no option for the Latino community to get into farming,” says Haslett-Marroquin. “Many just work for the minimum wage, but they have the potential to do more.” Haslett-Marroquin realizes this potential by linking Latinos with the six farms in the co-op, where they can put their experience to good use by raising free-range poultry and other naturally grown products.
This type of farming has always been part of Haslett-Marroquin’s life. His father ran agricultural co-ops in northern Guatemala, and Haslett-Marroquin has been working with them ever since. “We want to guarantee volumes without compromising our values,” he says. “We want to provide truly free range.” The Hillside Farmers Cooperative puts sustainability—everything from soil management to a new solar-heated chicken facility—at the heart of its mission.
Plus, Haslett-Marroquin keeps everything local. His work has produced a ripple effect, with the nearby towns of Canon Falls and Dodge City joining the co-op. Small farms are struggling, Haslett-Marroquin acknowledges, but if they collaborate, they will be more able to compete and provide for their communities.

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