Rural Climate Dialogues: Minnesota State Convening

This brief report summarizes “Dialogues” or discussions between Minnesota state agencies and local community members to begin planning for climate change and resilience in rural Minnesota. The Jefferson Center and the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy convened three Rural Climate Dialogues - in Stevens, Itasca, and Winona Counties - generating “deliberative public engagement” and a shared community response to address climate change. A common priority expressed by all three communities was the need to support local initiatives through state agencies and programs. A State Convening was held with state agency participants and rural community representatives from the earlier dialogues who identified their shared climate action priorities, and presented these to the state agencies. The lessons from the State Convening which incorporated the findings from the 3 county-level Rural Climate Dialogues are distilled in this report.

Participants in the two-day State Convening discussed climate policy around three primary categories:

  • Land use (e.g. soil health, water quality, ecotourism),
  • Infrastructure (e.g. stormwater, transportation planning), and
  • Energy (e.g. clean energy, energy efficiency).

Rural citizens and state agency staff strategized together on key priority next step actions within existing programs. Some of the Strategies determined include: 

To plan for rural energy transition, Minnesota should:

  1. Work with schools to educate students 
  2. improve communications between citizens, organizations, and agencies about current energy policies and potential policies
  3. Invest in renewable energy in schools, institutions, and government buildings
  4. Develop community resilience plans and goals, potentially through  the hazard mitigation process

To ensure infrastructure is resilience, Minnesota should:

  1. Invest in new technologies such as permeable pavement
  2. Engage in the community to bring awareness of climate change impacts on the community
  3. Improve coordination and long-term strategic planning for the delivery of public utilities

To improve the management and stewardship of rural land, Minnesota should:

  1. promote sustainable agricultural practices to improve food security, water quality, and local economies
  2. encourage watershed planning
  3. support ecotourism and other tourism opportunities


The report concludes with a summary of existing State Agency programs and resources, and a list of priority next steps around the three rural priority areas of land use, infrastructure, and energy.


Publication Date: September 2016

Related Organizations:

  • Jefferson Center
  • The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Engagement

States Affected:

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