Drought, economics and an aging population are continuing challenges for Iowa and for the Midwest region. The Meadowlark Project aims to bring together community leaders and concerned citizens to find creative solutions to the long-range problems. Jerry Nagel is president of the sponsoring think tank Northern Great Plains, based in Fargo, North Dakota.
Nagel says there are two primary goals. Nagel says "One is to get a community talking about its future and doing that in a non-confrontational way. The second thing is to get young people, old people, intergenerational dialogue, people of color, just a range of people that aren’t normally in the room together talking about their community." Nagel says they set out a number of possible scenarios, positive and negative.
He says we have to recognize there are different plausible futures for the region and we have to determine where we want to see things go and steer toward them — and steer away from other options that aren’t as hospitable. Nagel says the group’s planning committee will narrow down the possibilities before they come up with an action plan.
The panel will develop a framework for five or six projects and begin to work on positive futures for the region, and expand the people involved to build teams that will design the projects and get them ready for implementation. Nagel says they will hold nine more meetings in South Dakota, ten each in North Dakota, Nebraska and Iowa and 20 in Minnesota. For more information, visit www.ngplains.org .