The past lives on

Baldwin is a certainly a little bit country. But, according to Chris Manisto, it’s a little bit punk rock as well.

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Chris is the associate pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church. The church is located in Princeton, Minnesota, but the congregation is made up of those from Princeton, Baldwin and a number of surrounding areas. Chris and her family moved to the area from Chicago about a year and a half ago. In the Windy City, Chris and her friends grew their own vegetables; they made their own bread; they organized knitting circles and evenings full of craft making. Amidst all the metropolitan hustle and bustle, they loved the idea of reviving “an old-school way of life.”

“We thought we were so punk rock and so alternative for all that, the crafts, the gardening. Then I came here. Here that stuff is simply called ‘life’.”

Chris now laughs at how the things some city dwellers consider “hip and forward-thinking” are, in fact, staples in smaller communities. Here there’s no need to revive the past because the past was never really lost.

“A lot of parts of the environmental movement, for example, things that people are really trying to get the city to take hold of, they are already happening here,” says Chris.

Some members of Trinity Lutheran spend their free time working to keep Little Elk Lake clean. And many, like Chris, rely on localism whenever possible — buying produce, beef and milk from neighboring farmers.

Chris admits small communities like Baldwin aren’t perfect. But, the way she sees it, they might have a few things to teach big cities about hanging on to what works.

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