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.
A new online database supported by Southwest RSDP will connect farmers with other farmers to share their experiences with sustainable farming methods.
Southwest RSDP supported a graduate student researcher in developing a business plan for United Acres community garden in Olivia. The garden grows fresh produce for sale to local institutions and businesses, and sells CSA shares to Renville county residents.
Southwest RSDP has supported a variety of projects to foster integration of the growing Micronesian population in Milan, including development of a resource guide to becoming a U.S. citizen. In response to increasing demand for permanent residency status within the Micronesian community, this guide explains the conditions in which a Federated States of Micronesia immigrant in the United States may file for permanent residency and the necessary steps needed to successfully become a U.S. citizen.
Rural grocers are key to bringing healthy food to small towns across rural Minnesota, and yet many face business challenges. As part of RSDP’s research and support for rural grocers, the Southwest RSDP partnered on a resource and networking event for rural grocers in our southwestern region.
Learn more about projects supported by Southwest RSDP in our storymap.
You might be interested in these new and upcoming reports and happenings from the Southwest RSDP:
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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