New exhibit by Lake Lida resorter-photographer Jon Solinger unveiled at NY Mills center

‘Deep Roots’ features local photographer

Doesn’t look much like spring this week in the greater Pelican Rapids lakes area. But this photo of Brittney Johnson, Stout Farm, Underwood, who raises sheep for wool and meat, reminds us of warmer days ahead. 

This image, and others, are on exhibit at the New York Mills Regional Cultural Center. The special exhibit features the work of Lake Lida resort owner and photographer Jon Solinger. 

His “Deep Roots: Sustaining a Living Community” series continues at the center through March 4.

The New York Mills Regional Cultural Center has on display in its gallery photographs by Jon Solinger about life on small farms in rural west central MN.

The show entitled “Deep Roots: Sustaining a Living Community” will be on display from February 1 to March 4. Jon Solinger, in collaboration with members of the Lake Agassiz chapter of the Sustainable Farming Association and MANNA Food Co-op, and with the support of West Central Initiative, has created a gallery exhibit about life and work on small farms in our region. The exhibit emphasizes the Why of the farmers’ chosen way of life, over the What and How.

Deb Jenkins, Deb’s Corner Foods Catering, Fargo.
Edward Anderson, Anderson Farm, apple orchard, Pelican Rapids area.
Edward Anderson, Anderson Farm, apple orchard, Pelican Rapids area.

It addresses the human side of agriculture and local food: what the work means to people and the emotional responses to the trials and rewards of life in sustainable farming and food production. It is art that celebrates farmers and producers who bring to their work an ethic of living well on the land by practicing environmental stewardship and building economic resilience.

It looks into the related essential relationships: between farmer and land, food producer and community, among farmers, and within families. The exhibit consists of photographic portraits of the people, animals, and landscapes engaged in the work of sustainable farming and local food in our rural neighborhood.

We once lived in villages and tended the commons. A community. Even though modern life has pulled us apart, the ancient communal spirit lives in each of us, yearning for a reconnection to land and each other. The fundamentals of sustainable agriculture hold the tonic to today’s ills – honest work, quality food, and care for people, animals, and land. Instead of an ag industry that extracts and ships off the fruits of our labor to parts unknown, to manufacture goods for faceless consumers, we envision an agri-CULTURE that strengthens our human bonds and builds our communities.

Ryan Pesch, Lida Farm
Zachary Paige, North Circle Seeds, Frazee-Vergas area.

It also includes an oral history component: transcribed interviews with the subjects build a rich context and reveal personal glimpses into the motives and thoughts of the people in this network of food producers. The New York Mills Regional Cultural Center Gallery is free and open to the public.

Gallery Hours are Wednesdays and Thursdays 10 a.m.- 7 p.m., Fridays 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and Saturdays 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Private viewings can be arranged anytime by calling Cheryl Bannes at 218-385-3339 or emailing

All are invited to the Gallery Reception held on Friday, March 3, from 4 to 6 p.m., which will include an artist talk by Jon Solinger.