May 2015
Greetings from Southeast Regional Sustainable Development Partnership!   

There is a great deal going on in our organization and across Greater Minnesota:

  • Our Greater Minnesota climate change convenings have been going great, and we've held events with Extension Climatologist Mark Seeley in Lamberton, Bemidji, Crookston, and Duluth thus far, in collaboration with our partners at Climate Generation (formerly the Will Steger Foundation). A lot of information about regional impacts of climate change and ideas for climate adaptation are coming out of these events! For the Fall, we are slated for Owatonna, Mankato & Rochester. Please join us there!
  • The Regional Partnerships continue to lead in deep winter greenhouse research, exploring the topic from cost of production to return on investment to production capabilities. RSDP will be working with local food networks to help facilitate the growth of these passive solar structures in Minnesota.
  • We published our the first edition of The Student Foodie, a newsletter aimed connecting the partnerships and its knowledge of local food and sustainable agriculture with U of M students' growing interest in food issues. Sign up here.
If you have a sustainable development project you are working on that could use U of M connections, please bring it to us via our idea brief. Current primary priorities in the SE include:
  • Enhancing tourism and development by building on existing assets 

  • Encouraging effective agricultural production practices, especially to reduce nitrate pollution

  • Developing the supply chain to increase the amount of healthy, affordable, local foods available in the region.

Enjoy this green season!  


Erin Meier 

Executive Director  

FOCUS on U of M award to RSDP's David Benson

David Benson discusses water quality issues in the Red River Valley with U of M forestry Prof. Mae Davenport last July (Photo: Dan Gilchrist).

By Dan Gilchrist

Nobles County Commissioner David Benson was recently awarded the University of Minnesota Outstanding Community Partner Service Award. Benson was chosen as a University-affiliated community member who, by devoting time, talents, and expertise to serve the public good, has made significant, demonstrable and direct contributions to society's well-being.


"David has been connected to the University of Minnesota since the age of eight, when he was a member of his local 4-H club," said University Associate Vice President for Public Engagement Andrew Furco. "He is dedicated to the idea of the Land Grant university and its role in our society. David has been actively engaged with Extension programs as a public official and an advocate, and he has been an active leader for environmental sustainability in Southwest Minnesota with Extension's Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships (RSDP)."


Benson was nominated by RSDP Statewide Director Kathryn Draeger. Benson was recruited to work with the Partnerships in 2002 by the late Mary Page, a U of M regent and previous winner of this award, Draeger noted.


"We owe a great deal to David Benson. He chaired our statewide coordinating committee and has a lead role for the Southwest RSDP board. This past year alone, he was part of creating the Minnesota Food Charter, an organizer of a climate change conference that drew more than 85 people to Lamberton to discuss agriculture and climate change adaptation, and an active participant at the Community-Driven Clean Energy Conference in St. Cloud," Draeger said.

Read more of the news release
RSDP Highlights

CERTs has information on PACE

Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) is a new way to finance energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades to the buildings of commercial property owners.   Does your county have PACE available? Find out at the PACE webpage that CERTs has created.  If you would like to learn the simple steps of getting PACE set up in your county, contact Peter Lindstrom at 612-625-9634 or .

Reel Paddling Film Festival

Fri, June 5, 7PM

1st time in Rochester - The 10th annual Reel Paddling Film Festival showcases the world's best paddling films & inspires people to explore rivers, lakes & oceans. Brought to you by Tyrol Ski & Sports & hosted at Cascade Meadow. Proceeds benefit Zumbro Watershed Partnership. Advance tickets here. 

MISA publishes regulation guide for food entrepreneurs

Our partners at Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture (MISA) have published A Guide to Regulations for Local Food Entrepreneurs.

Conservation in Action Tour in SEMN-Aug 12

Join CTIC and partners for an up-close look at innovative conservation practices on a wide range of crops and farms, including: vegetative buffers, nutrient and manure management strategies, ag retailing, drainage, no-till systems & more.

Other resources