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In 2020, Central RSDP worked with Leech Lake Early Childhood Development to develop research-based outdoor learning and play spaces. - Photo by Jordan Hedlund.

Central Partnership accepting proposals for community projects through Feb. 14th

Web posted January 11, 2022
Central Minnesota residents with an idea to strengthen their community can now apply for partnership support from the University of Minnesota Extension Central Regional Sustainable Development Partnership (Central RSDP).

Central RSDP supports local innovation by connecting community ideas to University of Minnesota resources. Community members work on diverse project teams that research, design and plan local sustainability projects with University students, faculty and staff.

Central RSDP seeks ideas from diverse populations and those who have not previously partnered with the University. In 2022, priorities identified by the Central RSDP include projects that foster a resilient food system that provides sustainably-raised, just and equitable food that is accessible to all; protect the right of nature to persevere and heal, addressing climate change and other ecological impacts, through working together and building bridges for the collective good; increase opportunities around energy efficiency, renewable energy and beneficial electrification in ways that support economic and environmental vitality; and foster resilient, inclusive local communities that welcome all residents and that protect the region’s rich and growing cultural traditions, natural assets and vibrant local economies.

“Now more than ever we need ideas and expertise from community members across Central Minnesota to help shape communities that are resilient in the face of change,” said Central RSDP Executive Director Molly Zins. “I encourage people to get in touch with me to talk about their ideas for making our communities more sustainable places.”

Project ideas are being accepted through February 14 and can be submitted online at z.umn.edu/RSDPIdeaBrief. Community members are encouraged to contact Zins at zend0007@umn.edu or 218-828-2332 to discuss their ideas and ask any questions. Successful projects are selected by the Central RSDP community- University governing board through a competitive process.

Examples of projects recently supported by the Central RSDP include work with Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Early Childhood Development on a nature-based curriculum, strategic planning for a halal meat-processing plant, development of a podcast series sharing diverse stories from communities along the Mississippi River, and research on affordable housing needs and opportunities in the region. For more examples of projects supported by the Central RSDP, visit z.umn.edu/RSDPProjectExamples.

The Central RSDP serves Becker, Benton, Cass, Crow Wing, Hubbard, Kanabec, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Otter Tail, Stearns, Todd and Wadena counties and the White Earth Nation, Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe and Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe sovereign Native nations.

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