Do you have an idea to improve the sustainability of your community?

The Southwest Regional Sustainable Development Partnership (SWRSDP) seeks ideas for partnerships with community-based projects in Greater Minnesota. Seed funding is available for projects that leverage community participation and create a robust partnership with the University of Minnesota.

The SWRSDP invites ideas in four focus areas: sustainable agriculture and food systems, resilient communities, natural resources, and clean energy. “We're interested in hearing about projects driven by local innovations and local needs,” said SWRSDP Executive Director Anne Dybsetter. “The first step is often just having a conversation, to see how resources of the University of Minnesota might be able to help move an idea forward.”

After an initial conversation, community members may choose to submit a short idea brief in writing. Idea briefs submitted by February 14, 2019, will be reviewed in spring 2019 by work groups and board members from the region.

Priority projects will:

  • Strengthen the long-term social, economic, and environmental health of Greater Minnesota
  • Demonstrate active community leadership throughout the life of the project.
  • Involve meaningful roles for both local community members and University of Minnesota faculty, staff and/or students.
  • Engage diverse populations and advance new community collaborations.
  • If possible, leverage funds or other contributions.

In recent years, SWRSDP has partnered on a variety of successful projects, including planning for a Hmong Community Center in Tracy, helping establish Prairie Ally Outdoor Center in Luverne, and researching opportunities for farmers across the region to experiment with perennial grains. To learn about recent projects supported by the Southwest Partnership, visit the Story Map at z.umn.edu/RSDPstorymap.

SWRSDP is part of the University of Minnesota Extension Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships (rsdp.umn.edu). RSDP projects are identified and selected through five regional boards made up of community members from the region working alongside University faculty and staff.

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.

For more information and to submit a project idea, visit z.umn.edu/RSDPideabrief or contact Anne Dybsetter at 320-235-0726 x 2012 or adybsett@umn.edu.