Green Routes is a statewide green tourism initiative in Minnesota, coordinated by Renewing the Countryside. Renewing the Countryside is a 501c3 non-profit organization, based in Minneapolis.
Green tourism encourages individuals to eat and vacation in ways that support healthy rural communities and encourage other businesses to support local food systems and green business practices. "Going green" means making a commitment to gradually, continually making your business, home or institutions economically viable, environmentally sustainable and socially and culturally responsible.
A green tourist supports healthy communities while traveling and at home by respecting the local culture and physical environment, supporting local businesses and artisans, and engaging in meaningful interactions with the local community and culture. A green tourist wants to learn about a place from the people who live and work there without interfering with the day-to-day life and activities of the community.
A "green" business featured through Green Routes meets some or all of the following criteria:
- Contributes to the local economy by employing local residents, using local products and growers, and supporting local businesses.
- Conserves and/or enhances our natural resource base (e.g. through use of renewable energy, recycling, green building techniques, wildlife habitat protection, etc.).
- Uses produced or organically grown products.
- Engages customers and visitors through active, personal, and meaningful participation in nature, people, places, history, and/or cultures.
Green Routes businesses were selected by a regional advisory group of businesses owners and community leaders from the Upper Minnesota River Valley, based on the above criteria.
Currently, two Minnesota regions have participated in Green Routes: the Upper Minnesota River Valley in western Minnesota and the Highway 18 Corridor in east central Minnesota. To learn more about these projects or to request a free brochure, visit www.renewingthecountryside.org.