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Iron Range Partnership for Sustainability

Earth Fest – Pluskwik Photography

The Iron Range Partnership for Sustainability is a region-wide nonprofit serving the Iron Range of Minnesota. We were founded in 2008 and incorporated in 2011. Our mission is to facilitate 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.

How to Support

If you are in the area, you can contact IRPS through our Executive Director, Melissa Roach at 218-969-6872 for opportunities to volunteer. You can contribute to the fulfillment of IRPS mission at this website

If you're in the area in April, by all means come visit Earth Fest at the intersection of Hwy 169 and Emerald Avenue in Mt. Iron, Minnesota.

Come to our first ever Pasty Festival in October 2019! Celebrating the pasty, hot-lunch for iron miners here for years, and a symbol of the Iron Range. Pasties came with Cornish miners from Cornwall through Michigan to Minnesota in the early days. They're wonderful meat pies. We will be selling pasties made from all local beef, pork, potatoes, carrots, onions, and rutabagas!!

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In your own community, buy from the farmers markets, join a community garden, check out solar opportunities for your home, and eat local!


IRPS initiated the Iron Range Earth Fest in 2008 and has successfully continued this major sustainability fair for eleven years. Offering a Green Innovators Expo for students and a Community Sustainability Initiative Contest for civic groups, Earth Fest boasts over 80 exhibitors/vendors as well as a keynote speaker and a dozen other presentations and demonstrations drawing 1300 participants. The 2019 Earth Fest is scheduled for Saturday, April 13 in Mt. Iron, Minnesota. See for details.

IRPS co-administers the Rutabaga Project for Access to Healthy Local Food with the Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency. Learn more about this project at

IRPS initiated the Virginia Market Square farmers market and the Growing Together Community Gardens program in Virginia, Minnesota in 2016. Both programs are thriving. See and

IRPS co-sponsors the Iron Range Solar Coop with Solar United Neighbors of Minnesota, promoting bulk buying and installation of rooftop solar on the Iron Range. See

IRPS published a study of the potential of local food on the Iron Range that demonstrated how buying just 20% local can generate 248-694 jobs and keep $51 million annually on the Range. Read the summary at

IRPS, following the recommendation of the Local Food study, will launch the "Grown on the Range" eat local campaign in the spring of 2019. Making our regional economy resilient by growing and buying local food will be our focus as we encourage area folks to "join the green ribbon campaign."