Grange Notes by Tim Swartz, Grange President (with everyone’s help), February 14, 2021
It’s that time again–to get our tax exemption renewed
Think about people you know in Berlin, in all parts of your life. Ask them to please vote “YES” on Article 5 on the Berlin Town Ballot. The best lobbying is done by people we know! This Article will exempt the Grange Hall from property taxes, in return for continuing free use of the Hall by Berlin residents and organizations. This will help us stay solvent, and will allow our wonderful Grange Hall to support Berlin family and official gatherings, as it has for the past 5 years.
This year, there will be no in-person Town Meeting in Berlin, so this vote will happen on the mail-in ballots which were sent out this week by the Town Clerk. This Article will renew our tax exemption for one year; next year, we will be able to advocate for a 5-year exemption when we can discuss it at the 2022 Town Meeting.
Besides appealing for your help, the Grange is placing an ad in the Washington World, posting in the Berlin and Northfield Front Porch Forums, and we’ve put a page in the Berlin Town Report describing what we do, and the ways we benefit the Town. We are always looking for other ways to reach the voters of Berlin. If you have suggestions, by all means contact us!
Remember, personal contacts are the best way to get people to act–so check your address books and reach out to Berlin residents if you want to help the Grange in these hard times!
And it’s time to renew your Grange membership, too!
Being a Grange member also makes available some benefits negotiated by the National Grange, everything from prescription discounts to hearing screenings and discounts. You can read all about them by clicking this link to Grange member benefits.
If you aren’t yet a Grange member and want to join, we ask you to go to this page: http://capitalcitygrange.org/
639 Minister Brook Rd.
Worcester VT 05682
If you are ready to renew your existing membership, please mail it to Charles Martin at the address above. We don’t yet have an electronic way to fill out and deliver these payments. Maybe you can help us set them up for the folks who no longer routinely use checks! Our all-volunteer organization needs help in lots of ways, and we welcome your energy!
You don’t need to be a Grange member to attend meetings (in person or virtually), and anyone can also come to all Grange events–but we’d love to have you join us as a member! email me with any questions: firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Back to the Land Again” program captures new faces of farm life
The Dunlops first stayed at the farm’s “bed & breakfast” 14 years ago–and the Lights offered to sell them the farm then! Though they dismissed the idea then, further stays followed, and last year they said yes. Taking over a farm that incorporates about a dozen different “businesses” has been an adventure–but a welcome one for this family.
Neil worked as a journalist prior to their purchase of the farm, and Catherine still works for Network for Good, a company that provides software and coaching for non-profit groups. The farm, besides taking in guests at the B&B, milks a few cows, sells beef, raw milk, sells local products ranging from bread to locally-roasted coffee, plus their own syrup, yogurt, pork, chicken, eggs and orchard produce in the farm store.
The Dunlops also described some of the history of Bob and Lee Light, who owned the farm before them, having come to Vermont as part of the “back to the land” movement of the 1970s. The Lights at one point had 70 or 80 Holstein cows to milk, before “the bottom fell out of milk market”–a story familiar to many VT dairy farmers. The Lights were part of the origin of Rural Vermont, a farmer/activist organization advocating for locally-based farmer involvement in making agricultural regulations, farmer-based sales of farm products including raw milk, and community-scaled farming.
The audience for this program included quite a few folks who are friends of the Lights, as well as dedicated customers at the farm store, helpers with farm projects–and proud owners of descendants of the barn cats. One of the fascinating parts of the program was hearing stories from audience members, some new to the Dunlops!
If you missed this Zoom event, you can still view and listen to it. Just click this Grange website Calendar listing for the event, and click the link there for the recording. There is lots more that I haven’t tried to include in the description above.
To find more info on the farm and their activities, check out the HollisterHillFarm website.
Thanks to Carl Etnier, the Grange Lecturer, who produced and emceed this interesting Program! Our next one will be on Saturday, April 3rd.