Grange Notes for November 21, 2017 by Tim Swartz
Time for a change in our office names?
I hope that others will be interested in this question, and will let me know what you think–and that you will join us at our next Grange meeting, on Dec. 2nd at 4:30. I’m planning to propose a motion to make this change, and would like to have a good discussion!
Quick note about my motivations: like many other people in the country, I have been concerned about the divisions between races, and differential treatment of minorities by law enforcement for a long time. In the aftermath of last year’s Presidential election and the publicity about law enforcement shootings of African-Americans, I have gotten involved in groups discussing ways to make changes to improve the country, and I’ve thought about what I could do. One thing that quickly came to mind is making this change in our Grange terminology. As a word-oriented person, I know that words make a difference–and it is always wise to choose our words carefully!
Farm to School
Our Program at our December meeting will be presented by Misse Axelrod, who is the Washington/Orange County Farm to School Mentor for the NOFA-VT organization. The Northeast Organic Farmers’ Association of VT, one of the oldest organic farmers’ organizations in the country, has identified farmers and educators who have extensive relationships in both schools and farms, as Community Mentors. Misse will tell us about her work, and the work of the whole program–and how we can support the work in our local schools.
This is a very appropriate project for the Grange, based in rural communities, and seeking to strengthen the economic and social ties between those who work in agriculture, and the society and community members who depend on farmers. Come and join us, starting about 5:30 on Dec. 2nd, and hear more!
We were pleased to welcome new member Gretchen Elias, who as Executive Director of Good Beginnings has rented our Hall for meetings. We are not reluctant to vote in people who want to join us in the work of the Grange, so come in and check it out!
Grange member and Chaplain Alison Forrest has decorated a couple of donation boxes where anyone can donate food, with the goal of filling 6 boxes for 6 families who need some help in enjoying the holiday season. Washington County Head-Start‘s director will distribute them to 6 families she knows are in need. We are looking to provide food that families can use to make a holiday celebration–there are a number of programs that collect toys for kids, but sometimes not having good food can take the joy out of having toys. Grange donors have already donated 6 turkeys (most of them stored in the Grange freezer, not in the food boxes). You can chip in by bringing in tasty, non-perishable foods for holiday meals, or bring a cash donation to the next Grange meeting, or give it to me or another Grange member if you can’t get to the meeting. We’ll use cash donations to fill out the boxes, and we’ll let you know how it went.
See the separate article from the Friends for more about the project the FCCGH has chosen–and that the Grange voted to support. The combination of the active Grange members who come to meetings, the various communities whose activities take place at the Grange, and the Friends’ organization and skills have made big improvements in our Grange Hall and our ability to serve the community–and we hope you will chip in to support the next big improvements!
Our meeting was followed by an informative program about “Invasive Species” by environmental consultant Errol Briggs, whom we also know as a very active member of the State Grange. Brother Errol explained differences between non-native and invasive species, talked about the efforts to control the latter, and answered many questions by those in attendance. Many of the pictures he showed were taken by him, in Vermont locations familiar to many of us. We’ll need to get him back to discuss what we can all do to support native plants and animals, and reduce the impact of imported species on them.
What is the Next Big Project?
The Friends are now fundraising for the Mess Hall to Dining Hall project. The improvements will make the Grange’s ground floor less damp, warmer, and more attractive. Key objectives are to:
- Install perimeter drainage to prevent water seeping through the foundation onto the floor during big storms.
- Insulate the cold concrete walls and create a paintable, cleanable wall surface that won’t mildew.
- Improve heating and air circulation systems.
- Replace the existing tables with movable, smaller-size tables, for flexibility, better cleaning, and more choices in layout.
- Paint the floor (and the walls and maybe the ceiling) for a better appearance.
Our early estimates are that Mess Hall to Dining Hall will cost approximately $50,000. As in the past, we plan to apply for grants to pay for a portion of the project. This is where we need your help. Grant makers require that we raise matching funds. For example, the Vermont Arts Council — that has supported two of our previous projects — requires a 50% match. For every $1 they give, we must match it.
The Friends have raised $10,000 to dedicate to the Mess Hall to Dining Hallproject. Our goal is to raise a total of $25,000 as community-raised match funding to then leverage funds from grant makers. Please consider making a tax-deductible contribution in support of Grange Hall improvements.
Thank you! Together we can do this!
There will be a push on the Grange’s Facebook page to especially encourage giving to the Friends on “Giving Tuesday”, which is Nov. 28th, the Tuesday following the Thanksgiving holiday–don’t miss it! Check out https://www.facebook.com/