A vision for Minnesota shared at event in Maynard

Event attendees discussing their concerns and hopes for rural Minnesota and the values underlying life here.

A shared vision about the future of Minnesota brought together over one hundred people in Maynard, MN on Thursday, November 9 in an event co-hosted by CURE and the Land Stewardship Project (LSP).

In the current political climate average Minnesotans, especially in rural areas, might feel that their voices are not being heard and that their needs are not being addressed on the political landscape. The goal of the CURE and LSP collaboration, which is part of a larger “Our Minnesota Future” effort happening around the state, is for people to tell their own stories based on shared values to build the power to govern, and champion a ‘people’s agenda’ for Minnesota.

Music and stories kicked off the event and harkened back to earlier rural organizing movements. In small groups discussions, attendees talked about issues they feel need to be addressed in their communities along with their hopes. Most importantly though, folks talked about the values that underscore these issues and hopes. There was also lively debate as the whole group discussed community values upholding a shared vision for Minnesota.

Musicians warming up the crowd. (L to R – Darwin Dyce, Audrey Arner, and Malena Handeen)

Some in attendance found the meeting to be a timely forum for the community to share opinions and feelings. CURE member Darwin Dyce, Ghent, MN commented, “I was extremely impressed with the number of people from all over rural Minnesota that came out and expressed an interest in understanding each other and in better policies for us to respectfully walk on the earth. That was very heartening.”

This meeting was just the start of a movement for Minnesotans to take control of their story. Facilitator Andrea Fox Jensen, Litchfield, MN, stated, “Rural America and rural Minnesota are in the public eye for a bunch of reasons. What rural Minnesota needs and want is more and more part of the public dialogue. We are getting attention and need to fill in the blanks ourselves. We have a personal sense of responsibility to do that.”

The current ‘rural reality’ narrative can sound depressing. It was a shared sentiment at the meeting that it should not be a sacrifice to live here. However, the overall tone of the gathering was hopeful, and a primary value that arose from the discussion was that “We all need each other.” The new story coming from rural Minnesotans is one of empowerment and hope, and it’s a vision for all Minnesotans.

A visualization of the values expressed by the event attendees.

Did you miss the meeting in Maynard, but you still want to raise your voice and share your story? You can! Join CURE at the Our Minnesota Future People’s Assembly on Sunday, December 3rd. Register HERE.