I mentioned a couple days ago that our Ground Level project is starting to broaden out to take a look at Todd County, and I’ll be at an Initiative Foundation kickoff session in Browerville on Wednesday.
Folks there are particularly interested in facing the challenges brought about by the rising proportion of elderly people. They’ve noted that the social structure in a rural county like Todd has changed as small farms disappear, young people leave for the city, people live longer and have higher health care bills. They’ve also noted the added complexities and opportunities posed by recent immigrants from other countries. How to build something that works?
Todd County is not unique, but it’s leading the way up a demographic curve much of the rest of Minnesota is climbing, too.
The Initiative Foundation’s Healthy Communities Partnership is a 10-year-old effort to lend expertise and organizing help for residents who want to take on an issue like that. Wednesday’s session is the beginning of a months- or even years-long process of getting people in the community together, marshaling resources and building on the strengths they have.
As I’ve said before, MPR’s role is to shed some light and provide information in hopes of fostering that engagement.
While MPR tries out our sea legs in Baldwin Township and Todd County, the Initiative Foundation is also dealing with a couple other communities this winter and spring. In the next week or so, I’ll touch on what’s going on in Brainerd and Eden Valley.
If you know of Minnesota communities where residents are trying to organize to make their futures more rewarding, let me know.