Season 1 Trailer
Megan Torgerson (narrating): Welcome to Reframing Rural, cultivating curiosity and conversation across the urban, rural divide. I'm the founder, Megan Torgerson and in this first season, entitled Coming Home, I'm excited to share with you stories of hope and resilience from the wide and wild Northern Great Plains.
Kim Rudningen: I always think why did the Danes come to settle here. Don't you think after one winter, they would have turned around and been like, I'm out of here. Half my family is dead, you know, cause of this weather.
Eddie Hentges: It takes a lot of hard work and planning to live in a rural area like that.
Kay Brinkman: And I thought, holy cow, how and the world would I ever do it?
Ralph Summers: All we need is faith the size of a mustard seed, and we can move a mountain.
Megan Torgerson (narrating): For those of you who haven't been, Northeast Montana is at once untamed and peaceful, endless and settled. It is the ancestral land of the Sioux and Assiniboine peoples and since the late 1800s it has also been home to Scandinavian homesteaders and their descendants who sought a better life in the Treasure State. Here tourism is limited to hunting and the Sheridan County population of approximately 3,500 residents, has increased only slightly in the last decade, due to the neighboring Bakken Oil Formation. Many who grew up in this part of the country are retiring from farming and moving to warmer climates, or moving to bigger towns offering more opportunity. I'm one of the kids who left, but this project keeps me coming back. It also keeps me asking myself, how has the community changed since my childhood, who is left to preserve our cultural traditions and what is the future of this place.
David Anderson: Farms have to get bigger and bigger and bigger and fewer people are coming back to farm. Children who grew up here aren't coming back.
Jacob Torgerson: There ain't much left of ol' grandpa's place is there.
Megan Torgerson: I know, it's sad, isn't it.
Ralph Summers: Not many kids out here anymore. Farms get bigger and fewer people, and there's not much work here unless you're a farmer or taking over a farm.
Thomas Ostby: I think it was the '50s, they were running five combines at the time and I don't know how many trucks because that's what you needed to do to cover the ground at the time. It's a different world now. You can get a lot more done with one or two people.
Megan Torgerson (narrating): While there aren't as many people as there once were, there is always something about home to be grateful for.
Margaret Hoven: It was a wonderful place to grow up.
Kim Rudningen: If you went to a place where you could see forever, so much you could see the curvature of the Earth, that feels like home.
Eddie Hentges: I'm sure if you closed your eyes Megan, just think of yourself out in the field, dusk, right, it's just starting to get dark. What are the sounds you can hear?
Jacob Torgerson: They aren't even gonna moo for ya.
Ralph Summers: Well, home is the place I like to be the most. It just reminds me when the kids were little and we were al one family, that's home still. It's a picture you have in your mind you never lose.
Megan Torgerson (narrating): I think there's been an over-emphasis on how divided America is right now, on the news and in pop culture. But the theme of home is universal and I believe storytelling has the power to connect us all. By elevating stories directly from rural residents, this project takes back control of the way rural issues are discussed, while bringing into focused details that are lost when people are boxed into labels by society.
There is much reframing in store for season one. In March 2020 we'll release episode one featuring the story of Kim Rudningen, a mother of four employed in the oil and gas industry, whose family is helping to reinvigorate the community surrounding Dagmar, Montana. For more information about this original podcast series, visit reframingrural.org. Thank you to all those who generously shared their stories, to Andrew Drinnan, Ryan Manthey and Dan Sodomka, for the music, for Linnea Ingalls, for your invaluable feedback and Seattle University for your help supporting this project's launch.