Central Michigan University has provided funds to a faculty/student team to form the Central Community Connections project. Central Community Connections is a community of CMU faculty, staff, students, and mid-Michigan governmental and non-governmental representatives who want to work together to:

  • Enhance the connections between mid-Michigan's rural/regional stakeholders and CMU resources and services.
  • Identify and maximize the use of CMU resources to to promote rural development and the enhancement of the quality of life in the mid-Michigan region.


Join our Team

PLEASE JOIN US IN THIS REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT EFFORT. Below are some ways in which you can participate:

RURDEV Listserv. List on regional issues. The purpose of this list is for us to share information regarding the mid-Michigan region with each other. Each month, our team will send out any news or resources that we have discovered, and we would like you to share your news and resources. Sign up HERE.

Central Michigan Digital Collections. Introducing the Central Michigan Digital Collections public access library repository to help you connect to a collection of materials focused on the mid-Michigan region. Example documents will include the results of economic development and social service reports, surveys, and data sets. Please consider submitting documents to build this repository. This repository is maintained by the CMU libraries.

CMU Public Broadcasting. Introducing CMU Public Broadcasting radio and television features that highlight successful collaborations between CMU and our community, focusing on regional issues and success stories.

Ask the Specialists-Rural Development: How Universities Help Small Communities. This broadcast can be viewed using Quicktime. This broadcast features Dr. John Lopes of CMU, George Dunn of Middle Michigan Development Corporation, and Ed Kerr from MSU-Extension, Clare County.



Links and Resources 

Below are links to organizations that will help you frame Michigan's rural development issues within the broader national context, and help you find out what's happening in Michigan.


Rural and Regional Organizations

Rural Policy Research Institute (RUPRI).
RUPRI conducts policy-relevant research and facilitates public dialogue to assist policymakers in understanding the rural impacts of public policies and programs. This site includes many interesting papers and powerpoint presentations on rural issues.

USDA Economic Research Service
The Economic Research Service is a primary source of economic information and research in the U.S. Department of Agriculture. With 450 employees, ERS conducts a research program to inform public and private decision making on economic and policy issues involving food, farming, natural resources, and rural development.

The Center for Michigan
The Center for Michigan is a "think-and-do tank" founded by Phil Power in early 2006. A 501(c)3 non-profit organization, The Center's objective is to assist our state through its current period of wrenching economic trouble and to lay the foundation of informed hope for a better future Michigan. It will help develop and execute comprehensive, long-range and, in some cases, radical policy solutions to transform Michigan's business, economic, political and cultural climate. In so doing, it will work to help reform the structure and workings of Michigan's political system.

Rural Partners of Michigan (RPM)
The Rural Partners of Michigan is a public/private partnership whose charge is to develop new, collaborative approaches to build sustainable communities and to enhance the future of Michigan citizens. The emphasis of the Rural Partners' work is on finding new, innovative, non-traditional ways to address the issues, problems and needs of rural Michigan. Each April they host the Small Town and Rural Development Conference.

Kellogg Foundation, Food Systems and Rural Development
The Kellogg Foundation is in the midst of a multi-year transition. They have recently announced a new mission, vision and program framework. As a former program area with the Kellogg Foundation, Food Systems and Rural Development is no longer making new grants. However, many of the Kellogg-funded projects and grantees are continuing their work. The Foundation will continue to share news highlights and stories about these projects within these Food Systems and Rural Development web pages. The Kellogg Foundation supports the Rural People, Rural Issues project of which Michigan plays a part.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides snap shots of state population data (Version 1.5), including local level community profile information. It can be browsed by county and state and searched by zip code.


Conference webcasts

The following links will take you to  webcasts of presentations made during the August 6, 2010 conference, "Boundary Crossing II: Expanding Opportunities for Agricultural Entrepreneurship." (Click on the title you would like to view) 

Energizing Agricultural Entreprneurs--Opportunites for Growing Regional Economies
Presenter:  Deborah Markley, Managing Director and Director of Research, Center for Rural Entrepreneurship
Date: August 6, 2010; Duration: 00:56:42

Boundary Crossing II: Panel Discussion on Community Supported Agriculture--production and marketing
Presenters:  Chris Swier, Swier Family Farm; Ron Steiner, Director, The Starting Block; Emma Currie, Co-owner and Chef, The Brass Saloon; Sarah Christensen, Manager, Green Tree Natural Grocery
Date: August 6, 2010; Duration 00:56:16 

Boundary Crossing II: Panel Discussion on Anaerobic Digestion, Composting, and Agritourism
Presenters:  Brad Morgan, CEO, Dairy Doo; Judy Gould, Co-owner, Gould Farm Bed & Breakfast; Andy Austin, Biosystems Engineer, Scenic View Dairy LLC, Stan Lilley, Executive Director, Chippewa Watershed Conservancy
Date: August 6, 2010; Duration:  00:45:39


News and Newsletters

Below is a selection of newsletters on regional issues. To receive these newsletters, you will need to sign up on their Web sites below as directed.


Social and Economic Indicators provides economic and health data. Here is the link for Michigan.