June 2022
2022 Bus Tour Recap
On June 15, the Region Nine Bus Tour hit the road after a two-year hiatus. Staff and commissioners were joined by stakeholders representing higher education, government, business, and community engagement to see the area and learn about Region Nine’s work and partnerships.
The first stop was Clear Lake Farms outside of New Ulm. Owner/Operator Andrea Lynn showed the attendees the property and discussed how the farm uses chemical-free methods. Lynn focuses on fresh produce and eggs and offers learning opportunities for anyone interested in sustainable, home-grown food production.

Lynn said about the tour, "Clear Lake Farms and Shirley’s Park were honored to host such a wonderful and inquisitive group. We hope to share our growth with those in Region Nine in the future and inspire other emerging businesses to seek opportunities in their rural communities. Thank you again for making us a stop!”
Next, the tour made a stop at Black Frost Distilling in New Ulm for lunch and a presentation on the Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) program. Black Frost is an RLF recipient and will be officially opening its doors later this summer. Owners Jace Marti and Nathan Gieseke are making their bourbon, rye, and whiskies using northern-grown ingredients, many grown on Gieseke's farm. Sweet Haven Tonics was also at Black Frost to provide mocktails for lunch.
The last stop was the Springfield Area Community Center to hear about the Rural Entrepreneurial Venture (REV) program. The REV program is operated by Region Nine partner, the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF). Pam Bishop, Vice President of Economic Development at SMIF, and Joe Stremcha, Springfield’s City Manager and Director of Economic Development spoke on how REV has worked with Springfield to support local businesses and entrepreneurs.

"Region Nine’s bus tour was a fantastic way to meet new people and gain greater insight to the economic opportunities occurring in our communities. It affirmed to me the tapestry of economic assets we have available in Southern Minnesota," said Bishop.

Stremcha added, "The City of Springfield was grateful for the opportunity to showcase our Kickstart Springfield’s effort to engage with entrepreneurs and help foster a stronger business ecosystem in Springfield. We couldn’t have done these efforts without the support of Region Nine through their Rural Entrepreneurship Venture (REV) program!"

Region Nine would like to thank all the presenters, attendees, and the staff for making this year’s bus tour a success.
Local Foods Week is July 18-24
The RNDC Grower’s Network are excited to invite you to Local Foods Week. From July 18-24, the Amboy Cottage Café and Pleasant Grove Pizza Farm will be featuring menu items with ingredients sourced from local crop and livestock producers.

This year, Amboy Cottage Café will be partnering with Rebel Rooster Farm in Good Thunder, and Pleasant Grove Pizza Farm will be using Mangalitza pork from Blue Dirt Farm.
Local Foods Week works to build stronger partnerships between local farmers and restaurants and gives the grower’s the opportunity to tell the stories behind the food. The Region Nine Grower’s Network is a group of local sustainable farmers that meet regularly to learn together, build their businesses, and make the local food economy more resilient.
RLF Spotlight - Emma's Bakery and Eats
On June 7th, Emma's Bakery and Eats in Arlington celebrated their official opening surrounded by family, friends, and representatives from Region Nine and the Small Business Development Center (SBDC). Emma's specializes in fresh donuts but is also known for creating custom cakes, cupcakes, and cookies.

Emma's partnered with Region Nine and the SBDC to help create an updated business plan and secure funding for their new storefront. They are located at 343 West Main St., Arlington, MN. Their store hours are 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
Shirley's Park "Fabulous 4th Fest" is Happening July 4th
Celebrate July 4th with burgers, brats, beverages, and live music at Shirley's Park on Clear Lake in New Ulm. Bus tour presenter Andrea Lynn, co-owner/partner of Shirley's Park and owner/operator of Clear Lake Farms, will be performing original music. Also performing are the Fabulous Fatheads which are made up of members from local favorites, City Mouse.

The event runs from 1-7 p.m. on Monday, July 4 and music starts at 2 p.m. weather permitting. Check the event page by clicking the button below to be updated with any changes or cancellations due to weather.
USDA/NRCS Local Foods Grant Stipends Available
Are you a farmer planning to attend events and conferences this summer? You may be eligible for a stipend to help cover some of your expenses.

The purpose of the stipends are to build the capacity of the members of the Grower’s Network, including historically underserved farmers. Stipends may be used to attend conferences such as the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Services (MOSES), Sustainable Farming Association-Minnesota, Living Earth Center, and others.

Stipends will be awarded on a quarterly basis. Members may apply for a stipend for more than one conference. The amount available is up to $60 per event. The deadline for stipends is September 30, 2022.
In the Media
Sleepy Eye School Board approves Solar for Schools Solar Array Purchase -Read More

Absentee Ballots Available for Aug. 9, 2022 Primary Election -Read More
$$ Grant Opportunities $$
Border-to-Border Broadband

The MN Office of Broadband Development is taking applications for the Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant Program. This program aims to expand broadband service to underserved areas.

Deadline: August 4, 2022
Disaster Recovery Loan Program

The MN Department of Agriculture is making zero-interest loans available for MN farmers whose operations suffered damage caused by storms. To see if your farm qualifies, and to learn how to apply, click the button below.

Deadline: On-Going on Temporary Basis
Calendar of Events

July 18-24: Local Foods Week
August 10: RNDC Board of Directors Meeting
September 7: RNDC Board of Directors Meeting

About Region Nine
Region Nine Development Commission takes great pride in working with and on behalf of counties, cities, townships, and schools throughout South Central Minnesota. Since 1972, being a partner for progress has led to the development of programs and identification of solutions in the areas of economic development, business development, healthy communities, transportation, community development, and leveraging regional resources. To learn more about our work and mission, visit www.rndc.org.
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