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 the counties of 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, and shares geography with the Upper Sioux and Lower Sioux sovereign Native nations.
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.
New resource: Strategic solar siting in Murray County, Minnesota
How can the installation of solar panels create benefits for water, pollinators and native plants? From Fall 2020 to Spring 2021, a group of partners investigated opportunities to develop solar energy installations in Murray County in Southwest Minnesota, with a focus on “stacking” environmental and financial benefits. Check out the new resource and mapping tool.
New resource: Water storage virtual tour
How can water be retained on the landscape to improve the health of Minnesota’s waterways? Use this resource to learn about a range of water storage practices being implemented across the Minnesota River Basin. Explore maps or delve into case studies to explore the way leaders are implementing diverse water storage projects.
Opportunity from Project Food Forest
Are you interested in tree and shrub care, volunteer recruitment, and outreach and education related to food forests? Project Food Forest, an RSDP project partner, is seeking applicants for their Community Forestry Corps position. The Corps member will promote and maintain edible, medicinal and native perennial plants through education and outreach at their educational food forest, Prairie Ally Outdoor Center, located in Luverne, MN and other public food forests throughout the region. Apply online by August 25.
Elm Creek vegetable and fruit farm tour
Are you interested in growing perennial vegetables or fruit? Whether for family use at home, or possibly a larger planting to sell to the public, this walking tour of Elm Creek Veggies is for you! Save the date for Tuesday, July 27, 9 a.m to 12 p.m., near Fairmont. Find further details on the Extension events calendar.
Southwest RSDP board members
- DeeAnn Gieseke, email@example.com - Sleepy Eye, MN
- Sara Gronfeld, firstname.lastname@example.org - Johnson, MN
- Arne Kildegaard, email@example.com - Morris, MN
- Eric L'Abbé, firstname.lastname@example.org - Worthington, MN
- David Lieser, email@example.com - Montevideo, MN
- Linda Meschke, firstname.lastname@example.org - Fairmont, MN
- Cheyanne St. John, email@example.com - Morton, MN
- Becky Yust, firstname.lastname@example.org - St. Paul, MN