The Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships (RSDP) connect Greater Minnesota communities to the University of Minnesota in order to take advantage of new opportunities and solve problems.
The Partnerships leverage University knowledge and seed funding with local talent and resources in four areas: agriculture and food systems, tourism and resilient communities, natural resources, and clean energy.
RSDP is composed of a statewide office and five partnerships working in Greater Minnesota, and is part of University of Minnesota Extension.
Some current and recent projects include:
- The Cold Climate Greenhouse Design Guidebook: This project helps growers raise produce during long cold upper Midwest winters without relying heavily on fossil fuel-based energy sources. Guidebook shows how to design and build an efficient cold climate greenhouse. (Southeast)
- Expanding Minnesota's Vineyard & Winemaking Industry: This project established a vineyard and pilot experimental wine making facility for research and education in Staples, MN, involving students and local farmers. (Central)
- NMSDP UMD Wind Turbine (PDF): With the collaboration of four UMD departments, campus neighbors, Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory and others, a 5 kW wind turbine is being planned for installation on the UMD campus to reduce the campus carbon footprint, engage faculty and students in research, and educate the public. The wind turbine will demonstrate new technology with its zero contact gearing system that has the potential to reduce noise, reduce heat generation and increase turbine efficiency. (Northeast)
- Baudette Depot Renovation: Initial funding from RSDP and services from the University of Minnesota Center for Sustainable Building Research helped local organizers to envision and attract more funds for the sustainable renovation of the Baudette Depot, a historic train station in Northwest Minnesota. (Northwest)
- Milan Community Center Energy Revitalization Project: In the first phase of a potential long-term project, the Sustainable Energy Utility (SEU) of Milan studied the Milan school building for potential energy efficiency improvements and garnered community input. The project focused on the community's mixed use of the building and the feasibility of a district heating/cooling system based on geothermal energy. (Southwest)
- Sustainable Tourism Assessment for Small Communities: In five Minnesota communities with fewer than 1,500 residents, RSDP is collaborating with the University of Minnesota Tourism Center to provide an initial assessment of opportunities in their region. The communities are Warroad in Lake of the Woods County; Houston in Houston County; Akeley in Hubbard County; the northern Minnesota combined communities of Orr/Pelican Lake, Crane Lake, Ash River, Kabetogama Lake and Ranier working as the Destination Voyageurs National Park; and the western Minnesota combined communities of Clinton, Graceville and Beardsley. (Statewide)