The University of Minnesota Extension Northeast Regional Sustainable Development Partnership (Northeast RSDP) makes a difference by combining community leadership with the research and educational resources of the University of Minnesota to foster long-term sustainability in the Northeast region of Minnesota.
Our Northeast region spans a large, geographically diverse area that spans the North Shore, Iron Range and beyond. The Northeast RSDP serves Aitkin, Carlton, Cook, Itasca, Koochiching, Lake, Pine and St. Louis counties and the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa, Fond du Lac Bands of Lake Superior Chippewa and Grand Portage Bands of Lake Superior Chippewa sovereign Native nations.
We support projects in the areas of agriculture and food systems, resilient communities, clean energy and natural resources across the region. All projects we support are connected to University of Minnesota resources.
Planting climate-smart trees
The Forest Assisted Migration Project, is a new project supported by Northeast RSDP to build a regional market for cultivating climate-smart tree seedlings from local farms and nurseries that meet this need. The goal of the work is to ensure a thriving forest in northeast Minnesota for future generations. Working together is hoping to grow 1 million trees such as white pine, red oak and yellow birch in the five-year project.
Working with more than 150 people and 30 organizations, the project collected nearly 400,000 tree seeds using climate-forward genetic gathering objectives from species/populations that are predicted to thrive into the future.
The team draws on many experts who are studying climate-related population differentiation. They have distributed these seeds to a newly established Farm and Forest Growers network which has planted and is producing genetically diverse, climate-smart seedlings for forest regeneration. This project is developing and testing a model of tree procurement and institutional purchasing that supports the scaling up of the number, diversity and scale of trees planted in our region. This is expected to directly affect the future health of the forest--including carbon sequestration. This project aims to stimulate the local economy for decades.
Carlton County Next Generation
Oldenburg Arts and Cultural Community (OACC)is a nonprofit-led effort to build on the region’s distinctive character and assets. A lasting impact from this Northeast RSDP project is the development of the NE MN Bee Friendly Corridor across Carlton County and the Fond du Lac Reservation. This project has engaged beekeepers, conservationists, sustainable farmers, gardeners, foragers, cooks and preservers, and creatives. We held successful "Bee Friendly Events" and are excited that the Honey Bee Festival and the Bee Friendly Arts Camp for kids ages 10-14 will resume this year. The project was developed by OACC and Carlton County Soil and Water Conservation District, and supported by the MN Board of Water and Soil Resources' Lawns2Legumes Program. It is a huge source of pride for the region!
We also contributed to sustainable communities by bringing creatives together to launch several initiatives:
- Carlton Holiday Market - offering locally grown and made gifts to more than 800 guests at 12 locations.
- West End Flourish - revitalizing a historic district in Cloquet by partnering creative professionals with small business owners in partnership with the US Economic Development Administration.
- Conversation with Joy Harjo - the first Native US Poet Laureate spoke to our region.
- Carlton Area Creatives Collaborative - an artists' support organization that will embed creative placemaking in local economic development efforts, endorsed by Fond du Lac Reservation Business Council and Carlton County Economic Development Authority and County Commission.
Learn more about projects supported by Northeast RSDP in our storymap.
New survey reveals challenges and opportunities facing rural grocers.
Minnesota rural grocery stores are finding ways to adapt to a challenging year such as strengthening connections to the local food system. Learn key findings from RSDP's latest statewide survey of rural grocers.
Creating welcoming communities
How can community members across Greater Minnesota work collectively to ensure their towns are welcoming to all residents, regardless of their race, ethnicity, language or other characteristics? The new Creating a Welcoming Community toolkit shares ways to meaningfully and inclusively engage with immigrants, refugees and Black, Indigenous and people of color, so that all feel welcome.
Cultivating a sustainable local food system across Northeast Minnesota
Northeast RSDP has cultivated a strong presence and relationships across the region’s diverse landscape to support models for sustainable food systems and agriculture that are rooted in community.
Northeast RSDP board members
- Ryan Bergstrom, firstname.lastname@example.org - Duluth
- Robert Hietala, email@example.com - Hibbing
- Alexandera Houchin, firstname.lastname@example.org - Cloquet
- Deade Johnson, email@example.com - Two Harbors
- Shannon Kesner, firstname.lastname@example.org - Cloquet
- Jonna Korpi, email@example.com - Duluth
- Rumbidzai (Rumbi) Faith Masawi, firstname.lastname@example.org - Duluth
- Nathan Nelson, email@example.com - Hinckley
- Yusef Orest, firstname.lastname@example.org - Lutsen
- Dani Pieratos, email@example.com - Tower
- Allison Rian, firstname.lastname@example.org - Aitkin
- Jolen Simon, email@example.com - International Falls
- Shannon Walz, mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org -Finland