Grange Notes by Tim Swartz, Grange President (with everyone’s help), June 3, 2020
Local farmers, healthy communities, healthy food–fostering connections
Rural Vermont has had these as guiding principles since dairy farmers founded the organization in 1985. Following these principles, they have brought farmers and consumers together. They have lobbied for better ways for consumers to purchase farm products–milk, meat and vegetables–more directly from farmers, for involvement of small farmers in the development of agricultural regulations, for GMO and rBGH labeling and much else. You can find out more about their history and advocacy on their website: RuralVermont.org
On Saturday, June 6th from 5:00 to 6:00, we’ll be hosting the Policy Director of Rural Vermont, Graham Unangst-Rufenacht. Graham will be talking about ways that the current Coronavirus Pandemic has shone a light on the weaknesses of our food system and its dependence on food from far away. And he’ll be discussing the ways that empowering local agriculture and local consumer connections can make Vermont a stronger and more resilient community. This discussion will build on what we discussed with David Zuckerman on May 4th.
To join the Zoom meeting, starting at 5:00, from your computer or smart-phone, use this Zoom link.
To join the meeting from your phone (audio only, of course!), dial this number: 646 558 8656 For either way of joining:Meeting ID: 875 0792 3076Password: 624628
Following Graham’s presentation, there will be time for questions and discussion, as always. We hope you will join us! Please spread the word to others, too! Grange Lecturer Carl Etnier arranged this program, and will be the moderator for it.
See below for more information about our speaker:
Having grown up in East Montpelier, and currently living in Plainfield, Graham knows this part of Vermont well. He co-owns a seasonal grass-fed and finished beef operation (Robinson Hill Beef), and also a home-to-farm scale agroecology design-build business (Walking Onion). He works with youth in a a variety of settings and organizations in Vermont, including: ROOTS School, Earthwalk, The Maplehill School and Community Farm, and the King Street Youth Center. He has degrees from UVM in Religious Studies and Plant and Soil Science, has a Permaculture Design Certificate from Yestermorrow, and attended the 3-year clinical herbal training program at the VT Center for Integrative Herbalism.
1/2 hour Grange meeting before the program
Our “executive session” Zoom meeting will start at 4:30, to discuss the state of the Grange regarding finances, rentals, and whatever else we have time for. Merry, our Treasurer, will present her usual monthly financial report, and we’ll discuss how the finances look in this time of extremely low cashflow. We will also be discussing the early beginnings of rentals to some of our long-term regular renters:
- The Montpelier Church of Christ has started to hold Sunday morning services. They came to us making a commitment to meet as safely as possible, and following safety guidelines We appreciate their pro-active approach!
- The West African Dance class held its first class in the parking lot on Tuesday, May 26th–see the photo below. As they told us they would, they kept 10′ distance from each other while dancing and wore masks at breaks.
- Erin will be holding Kids Trade and Play in June–but with some differences. Donations will be accepted only on Saturday, June 6th, in the morning, on the porch. People can fill out an “order form” for items they want to pick up on the second Saturday, June 13th–sizes and types of clothing requested, and even books! games! and surprise toys!, which they will do their best to fill. Orders will be placed in labeled bags on the porch for pickup on the 13th.
- AVP Detail, our usual cleaning service, has been doing a disinfectant cleaning of door handles, railings, bathroom fixtures, water fountains, etc. once a week.
- We are keeping the kitchen off-limits for obvious reasons; we also do not want any groups to meet downstairs, which has much less ventilation than the upstairs Hall.
- We are limiting the use of the Hall to established renters, rather than one-time events. We want to work with the people who have been a regular part of the Grange community, with whom we share the long-term interests of keeping the Grange Hall a welcoming–but safe–space.
We are paying close attention to the guidance given by the VT Dept. of Health and the Governor’s weekly briefings. While we don’t fit exactly in the buckets of “business re-start” or “retail spaces”, the general advice given is very helpful.
We’ll be discussing all of these questions in our Zoom Grange meeting on June 6th, from 4:30 to 5:00. Note–this is a separate Zoom event from the Program meeting with Rural VT. For this one, use
Link to meeting: https://zoom.us/j/91894580413
Meeting ID: 918 9458 0413
Call-in number for phone access to the audio: 646-558- 8656Log-in info will also be in the Grange Calendar listing for the meeting.
West African dancers, joyous in the outdoors!
The Grange is twice as grate now!
And much more graffitied…The good news: Kurt and I installed the second grate, in the entrance porch for the ADA entrance this week. Like the first one, installed in front of the old entrance, this will remove much of the parking lot grit which otherwise would get tracked in on people’s shoes. We appreciate the grant from the VT Arts Council which allowed us to purchase these grates, as well as funding 1/2 of the cost of the basement renovations. See the picture below…
The bad news: we found new graffiti on the Grange Hall last week–the first time this has happened to us. We know that lots of people have had extra time on their hands–and the Grange Hall has been much less busy, so easier to deface in private. See the pictures below…
Covering up the graffiti: in addition to asking the Berlin Police to randomly patrol the Grange Hall, I am purchasing paint to cover the graffiti on the foundation and the clapboards. If someone wants to help me put it on (rollers on the foundation), I plan to start on Thursday afternoon. We can easily keep at least 6′ apart; we’ll supply rollers and brushes and paint. Call me to let me know if you can help: 802-225-8921 –Tim