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Building on Your Assets: Espe


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This presentation was delivered at NADO's Annual Training Conference, held in Anchorage, Alaska on September 9-12, 2017.

Learn how RDOs have identified productive assets to stimulate economic growth and build value in their communities. Lessons learned in this session can be applied to asset-based development and wealth creation in many economic sectors. Learn how the assets were identified, how partners are engaged, and how CEDS strategies are implemented to build upon regional assets and meet demand.

Dawn Espe, Regional Planner, Region Five Development Commission, Staples, MN
Amanda Hoey, Executive Director, Mid-Columbia Economic Development District, The Dalles, OR
Mike Pennington, Executive Director, Tri-County Council for the Lower Eastern Shore of Maryland, Salisbury, MD, Moderator

Published in: Government & Nonprofit
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Building on Your Assets: Espe

  1. 1. Building on Our Assets in Central Minnesota Presenter: Dawn Espe NADO Annual Conference| September 2017 | Anchorage, AK
  2. 2. Who we are • Located in Central Minnesota • Serve 5 counties- Cass, Crow Wing, Morrison, Todd and Wadena • Includes 65 cities, 155 townships, 24 school districts, one Army Camp, two community colleges, and one tribal band. • Brainerd is our largest city with 13,425 residents – many of our other cities have less than 1000 residents
  3. 3. Assets, resources, partners 1.Focus – on diversity, inclusion and cross pollination opportunities. Individual, Intellectual assets 2.Partnerships – champions/coordinators, policy makers, growers, artists/makers, funders. Social, Financial, Political assets. 3.Infrastructure – land, multiple commodities, the Food Hub & Marketplace in Little Falls - Environmental, Built assets. Telling our Stories builds our Cultural assets
  4. 4. Local Food – Agriculture Value Chain
  5. 5. Gaps, barriers, bottlenecks addressed
  6. 6. Microlending Program • Strong focus on agriculture producers and food artisans • Loans $1000-$50,000 • 3-7% interest rate • Available for start ups or small businesses • To date- lent over $500,000 since 2012, which has created approximately 50 jobs
  7. 7. Food Hub and Marketplace
  8. 8. Choose Health Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Providing locally grown and raised commodities for local families who have been identified by physicians as food insecure Adding income to the 70+ low income growers who provide the commodities
  9. 9. Barriers Overcome: • The myth that rural-to-rural local food value chains are NOT sustainable. • Food access, gleaning & placemaking activities to regional food deserts …..COMING SOON via our NEW Mobile Market Remaining: • Continuous reassessment of our goals and outcomes- working on these value chains is ongoing and intentional- doesn’t go on its own • Succession plan of the Sprout Local Food Value Chain
  10. 10. Thanks! To learn more about this work, visit