Strut Your Stuff Tour in Cannon Falls – using technology to build a food brand and more!

’m out with the Blandin crew talking to communities that are part of the BBC (Blandin Broadband Communities) initiative to hear about the great stuff they are going in their town. Today we visited with Cannon Falls. You can watch the meeting in its entirely or read the notes below.

Local Food Market – Cannon Roots

Developed a mission, vision, logo for local foods and tourism. It’s a niche that fits the community. They worked with consultants to develop a regional economic development plan and product promotion plan for the community.

From their literature…

An engaged community shares resources and insights to strengthen the fabric of the areas. An engaged community partners with and knows the producers if its local foods. An engaged community facilities dialogue about how to best utilize and maintain its resources An engaged community is good for everyone.

There’s a farmers market. They work to get local foods in the schools and Mayo Clinic. There a location (Artisan Plaza Food Hall) with restaurants, commercial kitchen to rent, butcher shop, event space, food shop.

People in the area (even outside of Cannon Falls) are excited about the Food Hall and initiative.

The initiative has turned into a conversation to align different aspects of the community together and create a unifying force.

Biggest challenge? Narrowing the field of possibilities. Figuring out the best foot to put forward.

Local Tech Training

  • Tech Savvy Seniors – teaching them how to use email safely (phishing..).
  • Giving talks to Triad – citizens and law enforcement partnership
  • Talks to the Chamber – how to use social media et al

In August – we will be creating an assessment class to help local businesses better use online marketing and then make projects happen.

Encouraging people to do social media is good. And/or it’s helpful to recognize that you can pay someone to do social media for you. And part of the training process is helping them get connected to the right fit for them.

Better Broadband

In a unique position with the geography so we’ve been working on better broadband.

We use the City’s water tower to add fixed wireless for most of the school distract – if we partner with HBC. One issue is that space is running out on the tower. And the City is looking at potential damage caused by adding such equipment.

We’re adding hotpots around the city and along the Cannon Valley trail, where even cell coverage is shaky. We’re seeing more people coming to the areas where we do have hotspots.

Maybe we could work with Dakota County Parks to help sustain the hotspots in the park. Looking at hotspot for local campground – would be a good way to connect (network and

Cannon Falls is lucky to have a community-focused provider in HBC.

PCs for People – computer redistribution

Identified 35 families that would benefit from a free computer. Many families have returned their letter to apply for the computer. We’re also talked to a few community organizations that could use a computer.

Did the first distribution yesterday – in the senior centers. They will be doing some memory care programs. And they are bringing computers to the food shelf. Maybe people can order food online and have it delivered to the Food shelf so that they only need to “shop” once.

Coworking Space

They are interested and investigating the options. But aren’t at a place to make a move. We need to find the right space and make sure that there would be enough interest.

Cannon Falls Chamber

The Chamber Board and EDA Board and EDC and others – talked about all talking together. Check in to see who is doing what. That will help us leverage existing resources and find gaps.

These are ideas people. It just might lead to another BBC project!

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