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© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Call No.: MC 514
Repository: Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Title: Pineapple papers, 1992-2001
Quantity: .83 linear feet (2 file boxes) plus 1 folio+ folder, 3 photograph folders)
Language of materials: Materials in English.
Abstract: Papers of Ruth Dixon-Mueller and Norma Wikler, former sociology professors who became organic farmers in Costa Rica.
Ruth Dixon-Mueller was born in Toronto, Canada. She received her B.A. (1964), M.A. (1966), and Ph.D. (1970) in sociology from the University of California, Berkeley. She was an acting assistant professor (1968-1970) in the Department of Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley; population affairs officer (1972-1973) for the United Nations in New York; assistant professor (1970-1976), associate professor (1976-1982), professor (1982-1988), and chair (1984-1986) in the Department of Sociology at the University of California, Davis; senior research associate with the graduate group in demography at the University of California, Berkeley (1988-1992); and independent consultant in population and reproductive health and organic farmer in Costa Rica (1992-2001).Norma Juliet Wikler was born February 17, 1942. She received her B.S.N. from the University of Michigan (1964) and became a registered nurse in California (1965) before receiving her Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California, Berkeley (1973). She was an associate professor of sociology at the University of California, Santa Cruz (1971-1992), receiving tenure in 1980. In addition, she held several research positions and was the director of the National Education Program to Promote Equality for Women and Men in the Courts (1980-1982), a joint project between the National Organization for Women Legal Defense and Education Fund and the National Association of Women Judges. She was an organic farmer in Costa Rica (1992-2001). She was a frequent contributor to books and journals and co-authored Up against the Clock: Career Women Speak on the Choice to Have Children (1992). She died May 28, 2002.In 1992, Dixon-Mueller and Wikler embarked on a "midlife adventure" to become organic farmers in Costa Rica. They began by purchasing a house and coffee farm in a village near the town of Grecia through a company called "Inversiones Zacatipe, S.A." Within the first year they established "Bananotero, S.A.," which was planned as an organic banana company, and "Mono Azul, S.A.," through with they trained local women to make cloth dolls that were sold in local hotels and through a "fair trade" organization in the United States. In addition, they founded a group, "Grupo Ecológico," where boys and girls ages 8-12 gathered on a monthly or bi-monthly basis to participate in environmental education programs and projects, and to attend cook-outs. Membership was limited to two years to enable more children to participate. After giving many local women a form of employment, "Mono Azul, S.A." closed due to slow sales. "Piña Perfecta, S.A." ceased operations by 2001 due to production difficulties, exporting troubles, changing National Organic Standards Board standards, and competition in the United States market from larger companies.
The collection contains correspondence, newsletters, minutes, notes, legal records, financial records, an unpublished manuscript, printed material, etc., relating to the establishment, management, and closing of "Inversiones Zacatipe, S.A.," "Bananotero, S.A.," "Mono Azul, S.A.," and "Piña Perfecta, S.A." The organization and folder titles were established by Ruth Dixon-Mueller and Norma Wikler; information in brackets was added by the processor. Each folder contains a description of its contents. Series descriptions by the donors are found in #1.2 and #2.1. The collection is arranged in three series.Series I, Gringas of Grecia (a midlife adventure), 1992-2001 (#1.1-1.17), includes newsletters, minutes, correspondence, notes, contracts, and an unpublished manuscript. This series focuses on Dixon-Meuller and Wikler's reasons for going to Costa Rica, establishing themselves in Costa Rica, and includes a small amount of information relating to "Inversiones Zacatipe, S.A.," "Bananotero, S.A.," "Mono Azul, S.A.," and "Grupo Ecológico."Series II, Piña Perfecta (the perfect pineapple), 1992-2001 (#2.1-2.14), includes correspondence, notes, maps, legal records, financial records, printed material, etc., relating to Dixon-Meuller and Wikler's efforts to grow and export organic pineapples. It contains research into methods of growing pineapples; information concerning the legal, financial, and personnel aspects of the business; production notes; information about the certification of organic producers, and marketing information.Series III, Oversize and Photographs, 1992-2001 (#F+D.1, PD.1-PD.3), contains oversize items and photographs removed from Series I and II.