Teaching civics to adults—this is the shorthand way CURE describes its Rural Democracy Project.
The Rural Democracy Project might seem like an unlikely endeavor for an organization best known for its work in water, energy, and climate. However, it is a natural fit given how CURE approaches its work—harnessing the power of citizens who care about resilient landscapes and their rural communities. Often these folks want to know more about how to engage on the issues they care about deeply. Right now the “how” means education on civic engagement, collaboration with progressive rural groups, and planning towards the next election.
The Rural Democracy Project is helping people in rural communities build independent political power with a special focus on electoral politics. Starting at the local level is where real change will take root; this will set a precedent for the state and nation. Passionate groups of people meeting in cafes, living rooms, and churches across Minnesota are where change is cultivated. This is the nursery of democracy.
In 2018, several hundred people in western Minnesota attended caucus trainings hosted by the Rural Democracy project. These people attended their local precinct caucuses, many went on to their county political conventions, and some event went on to their state political conventions.
New leaders mean more voices are heard in our rural communities. Before 2018, many of these folks had never even attended a caucus before, but now they are transforming the political landscape of rural Minnesota.