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University of Minnesota Extension

Extension is expanding its online education and resources to adapt to COVID-19 restrictions.

Rural grocery stores

Resources for the response to COVID-19

Fourteen day meal kits

Two women hold grocery boxes smiling in a warehouse. They have packed 14-day meal kits stacked in front of them.

The University of Minnesota Extension Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships and Family Development have worked with community partners to develop guidance on 14-day meal kits that can be deployed from rural grocery stores to community members who need to isolate themselves in the face of COVID-19. 

Rural grocery curbside pick-up and delivery

RSDP developed a new tip sheet that provides basic instructions for small-town grocery stores to include a curbside pickup and delivery model as communities respond to COVID-19.

Rural grocery stores: the heart of rural communities

Small-town grocery stores are the heart of rural communities, yet many struggle with competition from larger chain stores, a shrinking customer base, and changing customer demands for fresh produce and greater variety. The University of Minnesota Extension Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships (RSDP) support rural grocers affected by these issues through a number of resources and projects. We offer fresh produce handling guides for small retailers, information on how to work with farmers to sell locally grown produce, and in-store produce handling training and education. We also conduct research on innovative ways to help farmers sell local produce through rural grocers. These projects address needs identified in our 2015 and 2019 statewide Rural Grocery Survey and through our face-to-face conversations with rural grocery owners throughout Minnesota.

Support our stores: technical assistance for grocers

The University of Minnesota Extension Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships and partners are currently offering technical assistance for grocers in Minnesota. To apply for technical assistance or to contact the Support Our Stores team, please fill out this application. If you are not able to access the application, please email RSDP staff member and project coordinator Ren Olive at rolive@umn.edu or call Ren at 612-624-8452.

Projects and resources


For more examples of our rural grocery work

Explore our projects
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