The University of Minnesota Extension Northwest Regional Sustainable Development Partnership (Northwest RSDP) contributes to a vibrant future for Northwest Minnesota. We partner with residents and organizations in the northwestern region of our state to support their ideas to improve the sustainability of their local communities. We support projects in the areas of agriculture and food systems, resilient communities, clean energy and natural resources. All projects we support are connected to University of Minnesota resources.
The Northwest RSDP serves Kittson, Roseau, Lake of the Woods, Marshall, Pennington, Red Lake, Clearwater, Beltrami, Polk, Norman, Mahnomen, Clay and Wilkin counties as well as these sovereign Native nations: Red Lake Nation and White Earth Nation. Ottertail and Becker counties are also included in food systems projects. Water-related projects include the area that drains to the Red River of the North.
The region’s natural history shows up in a diverse landscape shaped by ice and water and representing all four major biomes in Minnesota. Its cultural history traces the stories of indigenous people, voyageurs and fur traders, immigrants from northern Europe, and later from all parts of the world. The Red River of the North and its tributaries drain just over one fifth of Minnesota. The landscape includes remnants of native boreal forest, aspen parkland and maple, basswood forests, and tall grass prairie. The Red River Valley has a strong agricultural identity and brings to mind images of deep, rich soils and agricultural productivity.
The region is home to 215,000 people. Median age in the region is 41 compared to 37 in Minnesota. Agricultural production, manufacturing and healthcare are important economic sectors. Minnesota Compass tracks and analyzes trends that affect regional quality of life.
NWRSDP worked with the Roseau River Watershed District and the University of Minnesota College of Design to develop a recreation plan for the Roseau River. Torin McCormick shared progress at the July meeting, including having the Conservation Corps Crew clear snags.
As ice fishing gains popularity on the Lake of the Woods, four Humphrey School of Public Affairs students conduct a Sustainability Assessment for the Keep it Clean Committee established by Lake of the Woods County. Read the Lake of the Woods Sustainability Assessment report.
Linda Kingery and Caryn Mohr from RSDP join Eric Lonsdorf from Institute on the Environment in developing sustainability metrics. This work builds upon earlier work to define community indicators in each of RSDP’s four focus areas of sustainability.
NWRSDP partners with Bemidji Community Food Shelf (BCFS) on several projects. BCFS farm is one of the sites for the Deep Winter Greenhouse project. BCFS upgraded lighting through a CERTs seed grant and received a Healthy Food Healthy Lives grant in 2018.
Learn more about projects supported by Northwest RSDP in our storymap.
You might be interested in these new and upcoming reports and happenings from the Northwest RSDP:
- Northwest RSDP thanks Mike Triplett and Dr. Katy Chapman for their service as they complete their terms on the board, and welcomes Adam Woltjer and Matt Simmons as new board members.
- Meet Anna Peterson, NWRSDP Executive Administrative Specialist, through a story of rural resilience.
- NWRSDP hosts the RSDP Statewide Event in Crookston in July 2019. See the event highlights newsletter and this brief video.
- Ren Olive, RSDP statewide staff, spends a day with Corey Christianson, grocer in Greenbush and Badger.
Project ideas are submitted to one or more of RSDP’s regional boards based on the location of the project. Northwest RSDP actively seeks ideas in January and July, and the board makes funding decisions in March, June and September. The RSDPs use fiscal year funding cycle from July 1 to June 30. Project ideas are reviewed based on the following shared criteria:
Community members identify project goals in one or more of the four RSDP sustainable development focus areas.
The project involves meaningful roles for both local community members and University of Minnesota faculty, staff and/or students.
The project engages diverse populations and advances new community collaborations.
The project supports environmental, social and economic sustainability for public purpose or benefit. Project learning or actions will be shared.
Community partners provide leadership and support throughout the life of the project.
Priority may be given to projects that leverage funds or other contributions.
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