Community Development

Extension’s Community Development Institute provides educational programming to assist leaders, communities, and organizations realize their fullest potential. We work with communities to build the vitality that enhances their quality of life and enriches the lives of their residents. We educate in leadership development, organizational development, food systems, community economic development, local government education and much more. In short, the Community Development Institute plants and cultivates the seeds for thriving communities and organizations.

Community Development Programs

a graphic featuring a doctor and a small child as a well as a separate photo of a tractor in a field. The text states, "Cooperatives in Wisconsin: The Power of Cooperative Action"

Center for Cooperatives

Seeking to increase understanding and encourage critical thinking about cooperatives by fostering scholarship and mutual learning among academics, the cooperative community, policy makers and the public

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Community Food Systems

Working with community organizations, tribal partners and local governments to promote community food systems development

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Community Economic Development

Collaborating with and providing resources for community leaders to improve the economic well-being and quality of life for Wisconsin residents

Wisconsin farm

Local Government Education

Coordinating and providing training and educational workshops for newly elected local government officials and those who continue to serve their communities

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Organizational Leadership Development

Helping people who want to provide leadership to bring about change in their organizations and community

Did You Know

Many people already know of our popular programs, but did you know that we also:

Upcoming Events



Community Development Publications

No-Box Thinking

The Learning Store produces and distributes educational materials based on university research, extending knowledge to the statewide community.

Featured Publication

No-Box Thinking offers a framework for understanding the automatic and powerful resistance to change those engaged in community development often face. This book details how to convert the powerful sources of community change resistance—identity, emotion, and social connections—into powerful forces for transformational change (105 pages; 2018).

View Related Topics on the Learning Store


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Find Your Local Office

Extension experts live and work in the communities they serve. Our team offers insight and solutions based on a deep understanding of local needs and priorities.

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A Part of the Agriculture, Natural Resources & Community Development Program Area


Extension’s Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources & Community Development creates a bridge between Wisconsin’s ag and the environmental resources with the people that use them. We help producers, farmers, and businesses build stronger and more diverse farm and food systems. With communities and regions, we work hand-in-hand to support land and water resource needs.


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Director – Community Development Institute

Benoy Jacob

432 N Lake St Rm 627
Madison, WI 53706-1415


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