Top 3 Vibrant Communities| January 11-15
January 15, 2016 by Blandin Foundation
1) Chisago Lakes Area: What does it take to be the best community in America? A commitment to change, a strong community identity, a progressive economic development plan, and a clear vision for the future, according to the America’s Best Communities contest. This week the Chisago Lakes Area advanced to the semi-finalist round with 14 other communities from all over the U.S. Learn more about Chisago Lakes Area’s submission and possible prizes at the America’s Best Communities website.
2) Brainerd: Community need leads to new opportunities in the Brainerd Lakes Area as residents explore how hydro- and aquaponics (growing food indoors in water, not soil) might be the answer to many of the area’s challenges.
“If we want jobs back in rural America, this is how you’re going to create them,” said Barry Thoele of Staples. “If we bring food production back in our neighborhoods — bring it back to where it’s eaten — we’re better off.”
Jeff Dirks, a faculty member in horticulture at Central Lakes College in Brainerd, is hoping to offer a program specifically tailored to indoor food production due to the demand from the local community.
“I’m just amazed by the ingenuity of people,” Dirks said. “The see a possibility and they really go after that. The Brainerd lakes area, I actually feel, has a higher percentage of that than any place I’ve lived. I don’t know what that is — there’s this driving force for ingenuity and innovation.”
3) Itasca Area: This week we kicked off our 75th anniversary by celebrating inspirational stories of local leadership in our home communities. Here are some snippets celebrating the power of a vibrant community.
“So often this community just gets together and gets things done. There’s an attitude and an ability to create opportunities. I don’t witness that elsewhere. That’s what makes this community so special and so vibrant.” – David Marty, Reif Center
“Our community it truly unique in that they’re very supportive both with their time and their money.” — Sarah Duell, Team Bash Committee
“You have to lay the groundwork. You have to have a vision. But don’t stop there. Don’t do it alone. Share your vision. Share your dream. Talk about it. There will be other people out there who have the same concerns. Don’t feel like you have to do it alone because there are a lot of us dreamers out there. There are a lot of people that will help. Start small and let it grow.” — Myrna Peterson, MyrnaLee Mania
Watch the full documentary below.
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