Fighting for an American Countryside - Voices from Minnesota

a film by Ackerman+Gruber

Against a backdrop of decline, some Minnesotans are battling to create lives and communities of value.


Charles Marohn, Baxter "We need people in those places."

Verna Toenyan, Long Prairie "Socialization is the best pill you can take every day."

Verna Toenyan, Long Prairie "The struggle is that people want to be close to health care."

Michael Dagen, Hewitt "We’re planting seeds. We’re reaching out to others."

Charles Marohn, Baxter "What is the best about these places needs to come from inside. It will be theirs."

Patrick Moore, Montevideo "Community is when the person you least want to be with shows up. You have to grapple."

Kelly Asche, Hancock "It’s not going to be the way it used to be. Get over it."

Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquinville, Northfield. "We have created structures that keep people from being who they really want to be."

Bruce Tiffany, Redwood Falls. "Would the people before me be proud of the way I used the resources they left and would the people after me be proud of the decisions I made?"

Windy Roberts, Morris. "It’s a wonderful opportunity to repopulate a town and get the economy going."

Lisa Weiskopf, Simone Senogles, Bemidji. "If you want to know how to survive in northern Minnesota you might want to ask the original inhabitants."

Ann Thompson, Milan. "When I was growing up, if you stayed here you were kind of a failure. But that’s changed."

Joe Buttweiler, Lutsen. "They’re accessing it over dial-up and it’s just not feasible."

My Town is...

Fighting for an American Countryside: by Jennifer Vogel, Ground Level project of MPR News

Editor: Dave Peters, Ground Level project of MPR News

Photos and video: Jenn Ackerman and Tim Gruber, ackermangruber.com

Web development & design and graphics: William Lager, Ground Level/MPR News

Bush Foundation

Support for Ground Level is provided by the Bush Foundation.