Morris’s Janel and Juan can’t imagine life anywhere else

Janel grew up in Fergus Falls, Minnesota, and after college, lived in Minneapolis. Single, 20-something, city life….she loved it, right?

Wrong answer.

“I didn't like it at all,” Janel said. “All the people, traffic, noise. That’s not me. I realized that my heart is in rural MN. I missed the peace and quiet that I had living in also didn't hurt that Juan was there" she laughed. So after a year of big-city life, she decided to move back to her college town of Morris.


Juan grew up in Tarimoro, Mexico. After moving to the U.S. with his family, he worked in Texas, Pennsylvania, before finding Morris, Minnesota. Small town, far north, nice people...he loved it, right?

You betcha. “Morris is a great town and people are so nice,” Juan says.

Flash back 12 years when Janel and Juan met, married, and settled down in Morris. Eight years of marriage, three kids, and a move to nearby Cyrus later, they are thankful for the life they are living.

“I can’t imagine living anywhere else,” Janel said. “We love the rural area. Morris is such a unique place in that it is a college town, but you still have that small-town feel. I like the fact that I see familiar faces no matter where I go. Everyone is so friendly and they greet each other by first names. I find a lot of comfort in that." 


For Juan, the adjustment took a little longer. “When I first came to Morris in 2004, I didn’t imagine settling down here,” he said. But after starting his job at Riverview Farms, he began to feel like “maybe this could be home."

"My co-workers welcomed me to the community and encouraged me to explore my potential in the field of agronomy. I now have a true passion for farming, and am excited to get up for work each and every day." 

Today Janel works in facilities management at the University of Minnesota-Morris, while Juan continues his work with Riverview Farms. Most of their spare time nowadays is spent taking care of their three kids…yes, Mom and Dad’s taxi service.

“This is a wonderful community to raise a family,” Janel said. "Our kids have a ton of opportunities for after-school programs, and they love the fact that they always know at least one or two kids when they start a new activity or sport.

“The slower-paced way of life here is wonderful,” Janel continues. “While we are certainly busy, we aren't spending hours on the road. We get time to enjoy each other and the beautiful prairie around us."

Juan and Janel embrace the spirit of Live Wide Open. “To us, Live Wide Open means being able to live the life you want, the way you want,” Janel said. "As a college graduate, I thought I was supposed to be living this big-city life with a big-city job. But I realized that a happy, meaningful life looks different for everyone. We feel like we are truly embracing the Live Wide Open dream right here on the prairie."