An interview of Dorothy Eck by George Cole for the Media West Oral History Project in our Community section. Eck was a State Senator from Bozeman and instrumental in the 1972 Montana State Constitutional Convention.
Oral History with Dorothy Eck
George Cole interviews Dorothy Eck for the Media West Oral History Project. Eck served for 20 years in the Montana State Senate representing the Bozeman area. At 88, she remains active in the political life of the state. In 1972, Eck was instrumental in the calling of a Montana State Constitutional Convention. Following the convention in Helena, the new constitution was challenged in the courts and was passed by Montana voters. The interview was conducted June 5, 2012, and the recording is also available at Bozeman's Pioneer Museum.
2012 Equal Pay Day presentation
Equal Pay Day is held annually in April to signify the point into a year that a woman must work to earn what a man made the previous year. To bring awareness to this issue, the Bozeman Professional Women (BPW), the Bozeman Library Foundation, and Montana Women Vote held a program on April 17 – Equal Pay Day for 2012 – at the Bozeman Library. Speakers included Rep. Franke Wilmer, Corky Bush, and Jan Strout.
The Bozeman Public Library: A Community Treasure - Wonderlust Forum May 9, 2013
The Wonderlust Friday Forum for May, "The Bozeman Public Library: A Community Treasure", was presented by the Library's director, Susan Gregory, and Library staff member Carrie Grimm, with assistance by Paula Beswick, the Library Foundation director. They discussed the changing face of libraries today and shared the results of a recent community visioning session which is helping to develop new goals for the Bozeman Public Library in future years.
The Use and Misuse of Antibiotics: Wonderlust Forum Apr. 12, 2013
Jovanka Voyich, a professor in MSU’s Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases, was the speaker for Wonderlust’s Friday Forum. Infections caused by drug resistant bacterial strains known as Super Bugs have become a growing concern as they spread in hospitals, nursing homes and beyond. This is a primary focus of Dr. Voyich’s research. Growing up on a Montana ranch she developed an early interest in both animal and human medicine. She received both her undergraduate and graduate degrees at Montana State and is well qualified to help us better understand the complexity of interactions of antibiotics and bacterial pathogens.
A Farmer’s story
When they try to make a movie of Atina Diffley’s story, some producer is going to reject it as unbelievable. Losing one organic farm to development, okay; but nearly losing a big chunk of the second to an oil pipeline? A pipeline owned by one of the two largest companies in the United States?
Start with this setup, and it’s a given that Atina takes them on and beats them. To top it off, she not only protects her own land from the pipeline, but she gets Koch to accept an agreement (at least in Minnesota) that will protect all organic farms threatened by pipelines. Then add that Atina had survived five years in an early, abusive marriage.
Isn’t that just a bit much, as plots go? Maybe. But it’s true.
Author of the beautiful memoir, Turn Here Sweet Corn: Organic Farming Works, Atina Diffley joins me this week to talk about the double assault on organic farms that she and her husband Martin have endured. She describes the “total ecological collapse” they saw as their first farm was gradually sold off to developers, and the shock when she discovered that their second farm might be subject to a claim of eminent domain by the Koch Brothers, who were planning to lay a pipeline across it carrying oil from Alberta’s oil sands. (No, the Keystone XL pipeline would not be the first.)
In part, this is the story of Atina’s transformation, from a battered woman almost devoid of self-esteem, to the woman who took on the Koch brothers and won. But it is also the story of the community she and Martin had built, for Atina stresses, both in the interview and in the book, that she did not win this victory alone. Her intrepid attorney was essential, as was Martin’s support on the home front. But the thousands of letters written by satisfied customers may have tipped the balance, for they made clear to the judge that this farm could not simply be replaced by another. Establishing that fact—that the farm was not fungible—was essential in arguing that Koch should not be allowed to damage it.
This saga is rife with smaller anecdotes, often funny ones, for Atina has retained her sense of humor even about some of the most devastating moments in these crises. There’s not much to laugh at when she tells how she and Martin lose an entire potato crop in a single night of rain after the adjoining hill has been stripped bare. But when she adds that the developer—of Irish extraction, no less—doesn’t know that potatoes grow in the ground, a touch of the ludicrous leavens the scene. And when she tells how her gentle husband terrifies the developer into buying the ruined field from the old woman who owns it—well, I, for one, laughed out loud. I hope you do too.
Go to the blog, The Manic Gardener to see more on this topic.
Turning the Tables, Again
When this show first ran under the title Turning the Tables: Organic Farmers Sue Monsanto, in December of 2011, 83 organic farmers, seed farmers, and organizations that had sued Monsanto were waiting to hear whether the judge would rule for the seed giant’s motion to dismiss the case, or would allow it to advance to oral arguments.
At stake in the suit is the question of whether Monsanto would be able to continue to sue individual farmers, both conventional and organic, whose crops were contaminated by pollen or seeds from fields growing Monsanto’s genetically modified crops. This group of organic farmers and organizations is suing to prevent Monsanto from suing them.
It’s now three and a half months later, and much has happened. The suit did advance to oral arguments, but at that point the judge ruled for Monsanto. The consortium of plaintiffs, under the leadership of OSGATA, the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association, has appealed the decision. So once again, everyone is awaiting the decision of the courts.
My guests here, as in the original show, are Jim Gerritsen, President of OSGATA, the lead plaintiff, and Daniel Ravicher, the lead lawyer in the case. Dan serves as both the Executive Director of the Public Patent Foundation, a non-profit organization devoted to representing the public’s interests against undeserved patents and unsound patent policy. PubPat is associated with Cardozo Law School, where Dan is also a professor.
This is a rerun of the original show, with some revisions. The interview themselves have not been touched, but both the introduction and the conclusion have been revised and updated.
Go to The Manic Gardener blog for more links and information.
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