Way last winter, MPR News sent the photographer team of Jenn Ackerman and Tim Gruber crisscrossing the state to help us tell the story of “Fighting for an American Countryside,” a downloadable eBook project on rural Minnesotans striving to create lives and communities of value amid a sizable set of challenges.
In the course of shooting hundreds of photos and hours of video, Jenn and Tim hit on the idea of simply asking people in front of a camera to finish this sentence: “My town is . . .”
Here’s the poignant result, a four-minute video that is included in the eBook.
But the idea also turned into an opportunity to include the whole state.
We sent MPR News intern Clare Roth to the State Fair Thursday to ask people about their towns. Check out what All Things Considered broadcast about the things people from Virginia, New Auburn and Morris told her.
And via MPR’s Public Insight Network, Twitter and Facebook, people have been contributing their thoughts as well. As it happens, those thoughts run the gamut, everything from “cultural wasteland” to “filled with good, caring people.”If the next few decades sort survivors from also rans, you can imagine that winnowing taking place in this conversation.
A resident of Elko New Market characterized the place as gaining a sense of community after a building rush and bust threatened to leave it unmoored.
A Fergus Falls resident is heartened by the appearance of young entrepreneurs and artisans.
Red Wing resident Kent Laugen said the town is searching for an identity as its economy and demographics change.
All that’s left of Becida is a bar and cafe but residents for miles around are proud to claim it as their own, said resident Blane Klemek.
You can find more responses on this Storify page. Take a minute and add your own.