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Reframing Rural Season 1 Update + Plans for Season 2!

Dear community, We made it to spring! With what felt like the longest winter in history behind us, I'm excited to share an update about Reframing Rural. I'm currently working on my second to last episode of season one featuring the stories of my mom, Renny Torgerson and our dear family friend, Kay Brinkman. This episode will uncover Renny's experience moving to Dagmar, Montana from Montreal, Quebec in the 1970s and raising country kids born in the '70s, '80s and '90s. Kay will share with us what it was like to be the last teacher in a two room country school house in Dagmar, and how Northeast Montana in the 1950s compares to today. Mark your calendars for mother's day, the date episode six will be released! In May I am also excited to partake in a "podcast swap" in which PRX and Wyoming Public Media podcast, The Modern West (themodernwest.org), will share my third episode Unearthing the Indigenous Narrative in NE Montana via their podcast feed and I will share the final episode from their Ghost Town(ing) season, The Fine Art Of Coexisting, with my podcast listeners. I have been listening to The Modern West since it was first launched and am honored and grateful for the opportunity to share my work with their subscribers. The small town politics carefully uncovered in The Modern West's episode is something I look forward to sharing with my listeners as well. In July I will share my final episode of Season One: Coming Home. This episode will be 100% audio memoir. Combining autoethnographic research highlighted in my fifty page thesis Reframing Rural: Rewriting the Narrative on Rural America through Oral Storytelling, with lessons I learned from creating this first season and new creative writing I'm generating through workshops with the Hugo House, this episode will highlight my youth growing up under the big sky of Montana and the journey I took to launching this passion project. Lastly, I'm thrilled to announce that I have begun planning my second season! In season two I am expanding the geographic scope of my interviews to provide a broader perspective on the rural experience to my rural and urban listener base. Pivoting from a longform, oral history inspired podcast style, to an interview-based approach in season two, I will produce episodes featuring interviews with rural-raised, rural-based and rural-centered artists, academics, authors and activists from across the Rocky Mountain West, Heartland and Pacific Northwest. Each interview will begin with the question of the guest's geographic and class background, and how these origins have shaped their current work as a rural cultural worker, entrepreneur, educator, advocate or thought leader. Conversations will then center the unique challenges interviewees’ face in their rural communities and how they have addressed issues such as: outmigration and job loss; rural community development; welcoming newcomers and migrant workers; tourism; rural gentrification; remote work; and new trends in rural industries such as agriculture, oil and gas, and renewable energy. Continuing questions I posed in season one about geographic diversity, rurality, indigeneity, socio-economic class, access, shifting economies and evolving demographics, season two will take a deep dive into the cultural forces and policies that have shaped rural America, and the people who are working on the ground to rewrite the future of and fight for the rural West. Look forward to sharing more about season two and how you can get involved this summer! Yours, Megan Torgerson Reframing Rural Founder & Producer

Looking for some rural book recommendations? Here's what's on my bookshelf:

  • Uprooted: Recovering the Legacy of the Places We've Left Behind by Grace Olmstead

  • English Pastoral: An Inheritance by James Rebanks

  • The Shepherd's Life: Modern Dispatches from an Ancient Landscape by James Rebanks

  • Knowing Your Place: Rural Identity and Cultural Hierarchy by Barbara Ching and Gerald W. Creed

  • Grounded: A Senator's Lessons on Winning Back Rural America by Jon Tester