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Southeast Partnership now accepting ideas for seed funding for community projects

Southeast Minnesota residents with an idea to strengthen their community can now apply for partnership support from the University of Minnesota Extension Southeast Regional Sustainable Development Partnership.

Southeast  Regional Sustainable Development Partnership supports local innovation by connecting community ideas to University of Minnesota knowledge and seed funding. Community members work on diverse project teams that research, design and plan local sustainability projects with university students, faculty and staff.

Southeast  Regional Sustainable Development Partnership seeks ideas from diverse populations and those who have not previously partnered with the university. In 2020, priorities identified by the Southeast  Regional Sustainable Development Partnership include projects that strengthen community food assets; assure food safety; support emerging farmers; mitigate rural stress; explore cover cropping and other innovations for soil health and climate adaption; connect people of all ages, cultures and backgrounds to the natural world; strategically bridge political, cultural, gender and ethnic differences; and promote sustainable tourism and community resilience/vitality.

“We’re excited for a new round of community-university partnerships that put a spotlight on the local sustainability innovation happening across our southeast communities,” said Southeast Regional Sustainable Development Partnership Executive Director Okey Ukaga.

Project ideas are being accepted through Feb. 14 and can be submitted online at z.umn.edu/RSDPIdeaBrief. Community members are encouraged to contact Ukaga at ukaga001@umn.edu or 218-341-6029 to discuss their ideas and ask any questions. Successful projects are selected by the Southeast  Regional Sustainable Development Partnership community-university governing board through a competitive process. In 2020, the Southeast  Regional Sustainable Development Partnership is also connecting communities to applied research opportunities of the University of Minnesota Institute on the Environment. More information on these opportunities can be found at this website.

Examples of projects recently supported by the Southeast  Regional Sustainable Development Partnership include a study of physical structures supporting entrepreneurship in southeast Minnesota, a market feasibility study of supply chains for small grains in Minnesota, development of a deep winter greenhouse in Lake City for research and demonstration, and a study of the experiences of Latinos visiting Minnesota state parks.

For more examples of projects supported by the Southeast  Regional Sustainable Development Partnership, visit z.umn.edu/RSDPstorymap.