In part two of Megan’s conversation with journalists Emily Stifler Wolfe and Jason Thompson of the “Common Ground Series” published by Montana Free Press, they discuss the threat of desertification, succession planning challenges family farms face and the sixth soil health principle of context.
Combining profiles of farmers from the Golden Triangle with soil science, history, policy research and transportive photography, the award-winning “Common Ground” series is sowing hope in the future for farmers across the West. Published by MT Free Press “Common Ground,” was written by Emily Stifler Wolfe with photography by Jason Thompson.
Randi Lynn Tanglen grew up in the small NE Montana town of Sidney and turned an early love of literature into a career in education. Randi developed a specialty in hidden voices of 19th century Western American Literature and toady leads the statewide humanities council, Humanities Montana, ensuring the public humanities are stewarded in rural and Tribal communities.
Sowing Possibility Episode 7: Jeanie Alderson
Jeanie Alderson comes from a storied legacy of ranchers in SE Montana. In the '70s, her parents were among the rural organizers to form Northern Plains Resource Council. Today, Jeanie continues their work standing up for family ranches by fighting against the "Big Four" meatpacking monopoly that's extinguishing competition and dictating prices, forcing some ranchers out of business.
Sowing Possibility Episode 6: Ashley Hanson
Ashley Hanson is the director of PlaceBase Productions, a site-specific rural theater company, and the executive director of Department of Public Transformation, an artist-led nonprofit that's fostering community connection, civic pride and equitable participation in rural places. This episode explores the role of the arts in facilitating community cohesion and rural community development.
Sowing Possibility Episode 5:
Benya Kraus is the co-founder of Lead for America, a national nonprofit nurturing the next generation of rural leaders. Benya embodies the virtue of getting proximate to issues most affecting her rural home, while striving to restore solidarity between disconnected cultures and a divided nation.
Ben Winchester is a rural sociologist with the University of Minnesota Extension whose research into the rural “brain gain” has illuminated the trend of 30- to 49-year-olds migrating to rural America. A purveyor of good news that small towns are not dying, Ben is on a mission to elevate a positive narrative on rural America through applied research and data.
Sowing Possibility Episode 3: Miranda Moen
Miranda Moen is a rural architectural designer studying the architecture and cultural history of her ancestors through a Fulbright fellowship in Norway. This stirring conversation covers Miranda's mission to uplift the importance of rural and working class buildings, and how she has come to better understand her cultural identity through study of the built environment.
Sowing Possibility Episode 2: Jake Bullinger
Jake Bullinger is a Wyoming native, freelance journalist and new father who covers the politics, culture, economy and environment of the West. In “Sowing Possibility: Episode 2” host Megan Torgerson and Jake discuss red state-blue state binaries, the history of mobility in the west and the potential for climate resilience in resource economies.
Bonus Episode: Red Ants Pants Music Festival
Following Reframing Rural’s interview with Red Ants Pants Founder, Sarah Calhoun, Megan Torgerson heads to Red Ants Pants Music Festival in White Sulphur Springs, Montana where she records powerful performances and speaks with musicians, festival attendees and Red Ants Pants Foundation timber skills workshop facilitators.
Sowing Possibility Episode 1: Sarah Calhoun
Sarah Calhoun has long been venerated as a champion of rural causes in Montana and beyond. In the first episode of our Sowing Possibility series, Calhoun explores how her childhood in rural New Brunswick and New England informed her decision to move to the small agricultural town of White Sulphur Springs, Montana.