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Ideas Challenge: What Would Best Address Water Issues in Minnesota?

August 31, 2011Patrick NunnallyUncategorizedComments Off on Ideas Challenge: What Would Best Address Water Issues in Minnesota?

The Minnesota Community Foundation has engaged its second “Ideas Challenge”:  addressing water issues in Minnesota.  I apologize for being late to the party, but there are FOUR DAYS LEFT to go to the Challenge web site and vote for your favorite.

All three of the finalists are truly innovative and exciting possibilities.  All are imaginative approaches to important problems, combining new ways of thinking and communicating to address an issue of substance.

But I have to confess that I have a favorite.  Our partners at the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area (MNRRA) and the Freshwater Society have collaborated on an idea that approaches farmers in the Minnesota River valley with direct education and connections that aims to change practices that degrade water quality.  As the competition brief says:

The FarmWise project is a partnership between the Freshwater Society and the National Park Service. Its goal is to identify the most vulnerable areas in the Minnesota River Valley, then work through existing community relationships to mentor, advise and implement farmer-proven and farmer-approved water-friendly conservation practices that protect these critical, high-priority areas.

The project is pivotal if for no other reason than its direct connection between farmers and those working on water quality improvement.  For too long the water quality debate has been seen as “farming” vs “clean water” with the silly implication that farmers don’t care about clean water and the clean water advocates don’t care about the people who produce our food.  Nonsense, and the sooner we break down that artificial construction the better.

Minnesota FarmWise promises to start that process.  Among three eminently worthy projects, this one gets my vote.

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