How we do our work

About RSDP

The University of Minnesota Extension Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships (RSDP) work to sustain Minnesota's natural resources and rural communities by addressing community-identified sustainability issues in partnership with the University of Minnesota.

Bedrock principles

Since our founding by the Minnesota Legislature in 1997, three bedrock principles have shaped our work and formed the basis on which we evaluate our effectiveness:

  • Building and strengthening effective partnership between the University of Minnesota and the communities and community members it serves.

  • Strengthening the long-term social, economic, and environmental health of Greater Minnesota through active community leadership.

  • Advancing the understanding of regional sustainability by investing in research, education and outreach projects.

Regional work

We do our work through five regional boards serving the Central, Northeast, Northwest, Southeast and Southwest regions of Greater Minnesota. Each board is made up of community members with backgrounds and interests in our four sustainability focus areas, as well as University faculty and staff from a wide range of departments. These community and University representatives work hand-in-hand to review and support community-driven sustainability projects.

Community-member work groups with expertise in each sustainability focus area support the work of our boards. Work groups identify and provide input on project ideas before they are sent to the board for review. We work in partnership with applicants to develop their community project ideas.

A Statewide Coordinating Committee provides leadership and coordinates work across regions. This statewide body is composed of staff and board members from each region, an at-large community representative, and representatives from our three partner colleges: the College of Extension; College of Design; and College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences.

Statewide work

In addition to local projects supported by our regional boards, our statewide food systems staff advance sustainable agriculture and local foods work across Greater Minnesota. These staff develop relationships that move University crop research from lab to farm to table, provide resources and support for rural grocers, and test and share new agricultural production and distribution techniques. Learn more about our statewide food systems work.

RSDP’s energy work is supported by the Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs), a statewide partnership that connects individuals and their communities to the resources they need to identify and implement community-based clean energy projects. Regional CERT steering committees form the clean energy work group in each RSDP region.

Visit our storymap to explore projects by region and focus area

Explore our projects

Reviewed in 2018

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