University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota

Small-scale Food Initiatives in Southwest Minnesota: Oral History Project

During 2012-13, the Institute for Advanced Study sponsored an oral history project focusing on small-scale food initiatives in southwest Minnesota. Bat of Minerva director Peter Shea carried out a series of interviews with individuals in Blue Earth, Steele, Watonwan, Brown, Redwood, Cottonwood, and Jackson counties. Drawn from outside of large-scale, mainstream agriculture, these voices represent current thinking and bold experiments around the topic of food in southwest Minnesota. This project has been made possible by the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund through the vote of Minnesotans on November 4, 2008, administered by the Minnesota Historical Society.


Ryan Batalden, farmer raising organic beef and soybeans, Lamberton, MN

Justin and Kathleen Batalden-Smith, Omega Maiden Oils, Lamberton, MN

Harry Baulisch, manager, Mary and Martha Food Shelf, Westbrook, MN, part of Western Community Action Partnership

Bill Brandt, owner, Brandt’s Gardens and Greenhouse, Lakefield, MN

Steve and Deanne Bryce, Solar’s Real Food, Springfield, MN

Joe Domeier, program manager, Blue Earth County Community Farm, Three Rivers Resource Conservation and Development

Terese and Daniel Hall, owners of beef farm, “Halls Across the Prairie,” Butterfield, MN

Judy Harder, co-owner, Jubilee Fruits and Vegetables, Mountain Lake, MN

Mari Harries, owner, River City Eatery, Windom, MN

Graham Meriwether, documentary film-maker presenting American Meat in St. Peter

Tom Nuessmeier – owner, Pig-in-the-Patch Farm, St. Peter, MN

Brian Quiring, owner, Wilder Thymes Natural Foods Store, Wilder, MN

Tina Richards, community activist renting land to Hmong gardeners, Walnut Grove, MN

Kate Roberts, coordinator, Senior and Retired Volunteer Program, Cottonwood County, MN

Sunny Ruthchild, founder, Merryweather Gardens, Walnut Grove, MN

Krystal Spinler, owner, La Plaza Fiesta Restaurant, Madelia, MN

Krystal Spinler and Jose Herrera, owner of two Mexican restaurants, Owatonna, MN

Jill Van Der Wal, cattle and crop farmer, Sanborn, MN

Ernesto Velez Bustos, Director, Centro Campesino, Owatonna, MN

Bryce Wolle and Lea Kirchner, community gardeners in Madelia, MN


Related: Shelly Cords-Swanson, Dominic Jones, Chuck Reinert, David Strom, Ken Meter, Gladys and Stan Friesen, interviews with Austrian food producers and scholars (in English and German).