About Us


Iron Range Partnership for Sustainability Logo

Iron Range Partnership for Sustainability (IRPS)

The Iron Range Partnership for Sustainability is a grassroots organization and 501 (c)(3) non-profit corporation located in northeast Minnesota’s Iron Range. We are dedicated to maintaining and improving the economic, environmental and social characteristics of our area so that our residents can continue to lead healthy, productive and enjoyable lives. Through our events, initiatives and projects we explore and seek answers to the question: how can we meet the needs of the present without compromising the abilities of future generations to meet their needs? Using an inclusive approach, we invite all the residents of the Iron Range and Northeastern Minnesota to join us in conversation about sustainability.


IRPS facilitates 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.

Organizational Values:


IRPS bases our work on the balance of all three elements of sustainability –community, economy, and environment. Sustainability means meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. We promote sustainability at both the community and individual levels.

Bringing People & Communities Together

We believe that the best decisions are made when there is an opportunity to express and understand different points of view. IRPS respects individuals and organizations holding differing perspectives, and facilitates open dialogue to promote sustainability.

Raising Awareness

IRPS is engaged in education and takes care to ensure that we share accurate information and provide practical resources to solve sustainability issues. We believe that both producers and consumers in our community will benefit from increased awareness of all three components of sustainability.

Focus Locally

We celebrate the culture, traditions, and history of the region and believe in local creative capacities to cultivate effective sustainable communities.

Multi-Generational Perspective

We believe in engaging every generation in increasing awareness of sustainability and how we impact the future.

Personal and Planetary Health

We believe that personal and planetary health both contribute to and result from sustainability.


IRPS initiatives help accomplish these organizational goals:

  • Encourage, promote and provide educational opportunities pertaining to sustainability
  • Become a networking and information-sharing hub for sustainability
  • Make sustainability an accepted core value on the Iron Range

Our initiatives include: 

Annual Iron Range Earth Fest

Community Sustainability Initiative (CSI) Contest

Sustainability Matters Conversation Series

Annual Iron Range Harvest Festival


The Rutabaga Project – The Rutabaga Project aims to address food insecurity experienced by many residents of Virginia, MN.  The project employs community engagement to determine local solutions to food insecurity issues by making local produce more accessible and affordable.  The Rutabaga Project will promote community health while also creating a model for a local, sustainable food system. The Rutabaga Project is a shared project between the Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency (AEOA) and the IRPS.  The project has been funded by Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) Community Partnership Funding through the University of Minnesota Extension.

YES! – IPRS supports the Youth Energy Summit (YES!) program in partnership with the Laurentian Environmental Learning Center.  The YES! program empowers youth to partner with their communities to create economic and environmental vitality through hands-on learning and team-based projects inspiring creative and workable solutions addressing issues such as renewable energy, climate change, energy efficiency and conservation.

Green Innovator’s Expo – The Green Innovator’s Expo taps into the creativity and ingenuity of Iron Range students while exposing their minds and talents to challenges facing our community, economic, and environmental sustainability.  Participants think critically and develop creative solutions to sustainability-related challenges such as waste and energy efficiency.  The Expo is a presented jointly by the Range Engineering Council (REC) and IRPS.

Virginia Farmers’ Market – IRPS is a partner in an initiative to bring life to the Virginia Market Square (located in City Center Park in Virginia).  Virginia Mayor Larry Cuffe dedicated the “Virginia Market Square” space as part of a Sustainability Matters event in August 2015.  Interested in learning more about the Virginia Farmers’ Market in 2016?  Send an e-mail to virginiamarketsquare@gmail.com to get on the list of contacts.

Support IRPS

Earth Fest 2016 $500 Match Challenge:

An anonymous donor is challenging IRPS supporters to a Earth Fest $500 Match Challenge!  If we raise $500 before Saturday, April 23rd (Earth Fest 2016), the anonymous donor will match our $500 with another $500! Together we can raise over $1000!

IRPS will accept donations in the following ways:
  • Online GiveMN Donation
  • Check by Mail – Please make your check payable to “IRPS” and send to P.O. Box 1165 Virginia, MN 55792.

Other Ways to Support Our Work:

The Iron Range Partnership for Sustainability participates in the AmazonSmile Program.  Click the link below to support IRPS when you shop at Amazon.com!


If you or your organization would like to contribute to these ongoing efforts and initiatives please consider making a monetary contribution by clicking the IRPS donations page through Give MN below:

If you would prefer to make a donation by check, please make payable to:
Iron Range Partnership for Sustainability
P.O. Box 1165
Virginia, MN 55792

IRPS is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.  Our federal EIN # is 27-5050532. 

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