Opinion

For over 150 years the Grange has made life better for farmers and the average citizen

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The Grange is now just over 150 years old. On Dec. 4, 1867, sitting around a plain wooden table in Washington, D.C., seven men organized the Grange. They were all men of vision — had faith in God, their fellow man and the future. Their focus was on agriculture and the principle that life would not exist without farming. From these humble beginnings, a fraternal order known as the Patrons of Husbandry was born.

Through the years the Grange has been responsible for many projects that have made life better for both farmers and the average citizen. In 1896, the order was the impetus behind getting the Rural Free Delivery system implemented. This allowed the mail to be delivered directly to farm families who used to have to travel for miles into town to pick up their mail. And, of course, it continues to this day.

When the Grange was organized the forward-thinking men recognized the importance of women in the farm household. This was well before women had the right to vote. In the Grange, there are four offices that can only be held by women. And they were also given an equal voice in all matters coming before the body with full voting privileges.

Do you have an idea to make life better? In the Grange, there is a way to see your ideas come into being. In your local Grange, you can write a resolution explaining your idea and present it to the members. The members discuss it and vote on it. If passed it goes on to the County Grange, or Pomona Grange, where the same happens. Then it will go to the State Grange and be presented at their annual conference, discussed and passed. It is a great way to have your voice heard.

There are several active Granges locally. Our Grange is Valley Grange, located at 172 Guilford Center Road in Guilford. We do many activities throughout the year to help our community. From Project Linus to knitting to working on several projects with the local school children, it’s all a labor of love. To find out more about the Granges nearby you can visit the Maine State Grange website (mainestategrange.org) or the Valley Grange website (valleygrange.com). We are a friendly group of people and love to have visitors at our meetings.

The next meeting scheduled for Valley Grange is Friday, May 18, when we will be presenting our Community Citizen of the Year Award. It’s an “open” meeting, beginning at 6 p.m. with a potluck supper and the ceremonies beginning at 7 p.m. We’d love to have you come.

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