Ground Swell Office, Wanda MN

I grew up in the 80’s when the farm crunch was in full swing.  A lot of farmers were losing their land and livelihood.   Farms that had been in the family for generations were lost.  It was a sad time.

I was in my early teens and don’t remember all the details anymore, I remember hearing about the “penny sales” in which farmers would show up to the foreclosure auction of a fellow farmer and bid pennies for the equipment and land to get back at the banks for foreclosing.

I remember bits and pieces of Groundswell, which as I recall was a grass roots organization begun by farmers to promote the family farm and try to help farmers keep their land.  I don’t remember a lot else about it.

Anyway, the picture is from the Groundswell office in Wanda, MN.  I’m not sure if that was the only office, or just one of several.    If anyone has more information, I’d be interested to know.

I did find some more information on Groundswell.  The Minnesota Historical Society has some records and other materials covering roughly the decade the organization existed

http://www.mnhs.org/library/findaids/00534.xml

The historical society lists this amongst it’s collection

Activities documented in the collection include meetings of the Groundswell board of directors (1985-1989), the publication of its newsletter, fund raising and grant proposals, protest actions at farm foreclosure sales, rallies and informational meetings, monitoring of farm legislation and lobbying of the state legislature, the operation of a free clothing store, a Christmas toy project, a women’s project, and communication with national and other state farm organizations.

Another article mentioning Groundswell, it’s organizer and Farm Aid

https://www.postbulletin.com/farmers-continue-to-struggle-today/article_f660dc00-2bf8-5098-b3a7-7ef72aa3b6ee.html

An article giving a summary of what was going on in the 80’s farm crisis.  It looks fairly thorough, though I can’t vouch for accuracy.

http://eightiesclub.tripod.com/id395.htm