Tuttle is a small town of 80 residents located in central North Dakota’s Kidder County, which boasts a total population of 2,400. The goals of the Tuttle ND CIRD workshop held on November 1 and 2, 2018 were to develop a robust business plan for the Tuttle Rural Innovation Center (TRIC), in the newly renovated and repurposed Tuttle Public School, and to create a replicable model for community development leveraging vacant community assets to develop food hubs, maker spaces, and small business incubators around the region and in greater Kidder County. Towards this goal, TRIC is working toward operating a local food hub and commercial kitchen that will serve food entrepreneurs, farmers, and artisan food producers alike, both to foster economic development and to serve vulnerable populations.
Most towns in Kidder County are located within a 30 minute radius of one another and these towns, like Tuttle, all have something going for them: an opera house, restaurants, a coffee shop with art, a CSA and organic farm, and lots of vacant available properties like old schools and libraries. The overarching idea that emerged from the workshop was for these community leaders to collaborate more purposefully and market their region and the county - as an arts and culture destination a short 45 minute drive east of Bismarck. Numerous mini-anchors exist here, and taken as a collective they could jump start a regional economic renaissance, attracting younger, creative makers and doers to the County in the process. The participants from other communities shared their ideas, triumphs, and challenges and thru this exchange a cohort was born committed to collaboration rather than to competition.
Zack Mannherimer, the lead resource team member for the workshop, presented a draft business plan for TRIC which emphasized building the programming first and then deciding what equipment is needed, where it goes, what might need to be changed or built or purchased and what it will cost.
The TRIC team will start immediately producing free/donation only events at the TRIC building including a community spaghetti supper (with the spaghetti prepared in their new commercial kitchen using their state of the art pasta machine) to share out findings from the workshop to the broader community. Weekly open gym nights have already begun.
The TRIC team plans to start a gofundme type of crowdfunding campaign to generate funds to replace the building’s heating system and to plan a fundraising event (a Mardi Gras celebration) to generate enough revenue to create an endowment. Kate Green of Small Change expressed commitment to helping TRIC with producing an impact investing strategy for the facility. Their team is working hard on the further development of the building’s business plan as well.
Check out the blog post on Tuttle, ND here!