Moving from the big city back to the land: Lina Belar shares her story

by Trinity Gruenberg

The Wadena County Historical Society has been working on recording oral histories of the “Back to the Land” movement by the dreamers of the 1960s-1980s. Those dreamers were people leaving the city life behind, moving to rural areas to live off the land. Wadena County Historical Society Director Lina Belar just happens to be one of those “back to the land-ers”.

Belar was living in New Jersey, just across the river from New York City where she had lived for 10 years before deciding to move back to Minnesota.

Belar was 26 when she and husband Ralph Calabria had their son Rama. That was the year U.S. astronauts first set foot on the moon. She and Ralph lived with both of their parents for a time to save money for a home.

She kept a tight budget, feeding her family of three on $10 a week for a year to save money for the new place. She kept track of prices, recalling a dozen eggs cost 29 cents.

Living on the East Coast, people would often talk about going back to the land. Part of it was a sense of independence, part of it was frustration with the way things were going. . .

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