The University of Minnesota Extension Southwest Regional Sustainable Development Partnership (Southwest RSDP) is a community-driven board of directors working with community members across the region to create and sustain healthy ecosystems, strong local economies and vibrant, self-reliant rural towns.
Southwest RSDP launches education and research that help people understand and achieve sustainability across southwestern Minnesota. We support projects that demonstrate public purpose and build partnerships with residents of the region, and link these projects to local assets and University of Minnesota research and educational resources.
The Southwest region includes, but is not strictly limited to, activities in the following counties: Big Stone, Brown, Chippewa, Cottonwood, Douglas, Grant, Jackson, Kandiyohi, Lac qui Parle, Lincoln, Lyon, Martin, McLeod, Meeker, Murray, Nobles, Pipestone, Pope, Redwood, Sibley, Renville, Rock, Stevens, Swift, Traverse, Watonwan and Yellow Medicine.
Southwest RSDP has been serving rural Minnesota for two decades. From 1998 through 2011, the West Central RSDP operated as a 12-county region. The geographic region was expanded in 2012 to include all counties in the southwest part of Minnesota, and the program renamed Southwest RSDP. New members of the board of directors were elected to represent the newly included counties.
The Mary J. Page Community-University Partnerships Fund honors former Olivia Mayor, Renville County Commissioner and University of Minnesota Regent Mary Page for her contributions to community-driven sustainability projects across Southwest Minnesota and beyond. Mary helped create, and then served on, the founding board of the West Central RSDP from 1999-2007, and gave statewide leadership to RSDP until 2009.
Nine farms in Southwest Minnesota are featured in a new set of soil health case studies collected by graduate student Kathy Dooley. Dooley’s interviews with the farmers explored their motivations, benefits, and challenges of their experiences building the health of their soil. The project reflects the understanding that farmers learn best from each other and that strong connections across the landscape will result in wider adoption of sustainable practices. Read the case studies here.
Are you a GIS or natural resources professional seeking training in LiDAR data? Two-day LiDAR courses, including both basics and advanced topics, will be available at four different locations in southern Minnesota spring 2019: Morris on March 18-19; Northfield on March 25-26; Winona on May 13-14; and Marshall on May 20-21.The trainings are sponsored by Southeast and Southwest Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships and taught by Joel Nelson from UMN’s Department of Soil, Water, and Climate. Register here.
Learn more about projects supported by Southwest RSDP in our storymap.
You might be interested in these happenings and reports from the Southwest RSDP:
West Central Youth Institute: On March 15, 2019, high school students from the region are invited to University of Minnesota - Morris to engage with local leaders and experts about global challenges related to food. Students must register and submit a paper by February 28, 2019.
Fields & Foods: Celebrating Local Foods Connections: Connecting people who produce and sell local foods with people who want to eat local foods, this event will take place in Litchfield on March 18, 2019, starting at 3:00 pm. Find details here. The event is a partnership of the Southwest region Local Food Systems/Sustainable Ag Work Group, the Litchfield Natural Foods Co-op, Meeker County Public Health, and others.
Project ideas are submitted to one or more of RSDP’s regional boards based on the location of the project. These project ideas are reviewed based on the following shared criteria. Southwest RSDP encourages idea submissions by February 10 for the following fiscal year period of July 1 to June 30.
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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