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Public invited to Prairie Idea Exchange about building the region

PIE-region-wideThe public is invited to the Prairie Idea Exchange (PIE), an event designed to get people talking about topics that matter, from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 9, at the Dakota Events Center in Aberdeen.

The topic for this event is regionalism: How are we working beyond our communities to make the region better together?

Regionalism has been suggested as a way to help rural places succeed in a time of strained resources and depopulation. Many efforts at regional collaboration have been tried or are ongoing—but not everything called “regionalism” has worked.

“What we’d like to do is first recognize how much connecting beyond our communities is already happening, and then look at what is working with those examples of regionalism, as well as try to understand why some efforts at regionalism have failed,” said Heidi Marttila-Losure, publisher and editor of Dakotafire Media, LLC.

Dakotafire Media is organizing the event, which is sponsored by a Bush Foundation Community Innovation Grant. Other sponsors of PIE include Grow South Dakota and Dakota Resources.

Joe Bartmann, vice president of innovation at Dakota Resources, will serve as the host for the PIE discussion. The process for the conversation is designed to make sure that all voices in the room are heard—including those that might challenge conventional thinking. Through conversation, some collective wisdom about the topic can emerge.

The Prairie Idea Exchange is a way to share fruitful, community-building ideas across northeastern South Dakota and beyond through conversations among economic development professionals, community journalists and the region’s residents in person, in print and online.

“We like to have fun with the acronym,” Marttila-Losure said. “Actual pie will be served.”

There is no cost to attend, but participants are asked to register to ensure enough pie is ordered. Register here: www.eventbrite.com/e/prairie-idea-exchange-tickets-19327111912, or go to Dakotafire Media’s Facebook page and click the link.

This PIE event is the last in the grant-funded series, and the first to be open to the public. Earlier events were held in conjunction with the Regional Economic Development Roundtable, a gathering of economic development professionals that happens quarterly in Aberdeen. Previous topics included changing mindsets, leadership, Main Street, agriculture and youth empowerment.

The conversations that happen at the Prairie Idea Exchange events serve as raw material for stories for Dakotafire magazine, which regularly reaches more than 16,000 households in the eastern Dakotas. The Community Innovation Grant sponsored expanded distribution to 50,000 households for three issues in 2015.

Stories developed from PIE can be found online: www.dakotafire.net. Subscriptions and back issues can also be ordered at the site.

Dakotafire Media, LLC, was established in 2011 with the goal of sparking a revival in the eastern Dakotas and beyond by encouraging conversations that help rural residents rethink what’s happening and what’s possible. Stories are created using a unique collaborative process—weekly newspaper journalists and freelancers from around the state submit reports from their communities, which are then put together into a big-picture look at the trends facing the region. Dakotafire staff often add reporting from local, state or national experts as well. The result is stories that are both broader and deeper than any of the news organizations would be able to accomplish on their own.

Dakotafire magazine is published six times a year. Additional stories are published in participating weekly newspapers and online at www.dakotafire.net.

For more information, contact Heidi Marttila-Losure at 605-290-3335 or heidi@dakotafire.net.






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