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Our Mission

IRPS facilitates collaboration towards a sustainable and thriving Iron Range.

The goal of IRPS is to build connections between community, economy, and environment to promote sustainable living in northeastern Minnesota.


How does the Iron Range Partnership for Sustainability (IRPS) define sustainability?

Sustainability can best be defined by asking another question – how can we meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.

What is a Sustainable Community?

A sustainable community seeks to maintain and improve the economic, environmental and social characteristics of an area so its members can continue to lead healthy, productive, enjoyable lives there.

A Three Legged Stool

Think of sustainability like a three legged stool.  For a community to be sustainable, the three elements of community, economy and environment all need to exist in a healthy holistic relationship, or like a stool with one leg too long or too short that won’t stand up, our communities won’t be sustainable for those future generations.

Three Areas of Sustainability:

Community - Community or social capital includes the vast resources and potential of each individual and our collective institutions.  Think of our knowledge, our education and health care systems, and the many ways we govern and make decisions.  Social capital also includes recreation, politics, religion, and cultural traditions.

Economy - Economic capital encompasses everything we need to produce, deliver, and consume goods and services.  This includes tools and technologies, turning resources into products, our money and financial systems, and transportation and communication infrastructures.

Environment - Environmental capital consists of the Earth’s natural resources: soil, water, air, wood, water, plants and wildlife.  It also includes the services that living systems provide, such as plant turning carbon dioxide into oxygen, wetlands absorbing flood water, and soil filtering our water.

The 9th Annual Earth Fest Event will be on Saturday, April 22 2017 (Earth Day)! 

Earth Fest 2017 “Living Well on a Changing Planet” will highlight connections between personal, community and ecological wellness.


Sustainability Matters is a monthly community based series aimed at investigating what sustainability really means

The Annual Iron Range Harvest Festival is a celebration of local food, community, and place