Grange Notes by Tim Swartz, Grange President (with everyone’s help) October 3, 2023
This Saturday: October meeting
We’ll go over finances at this meeting, and do a quick review of the “Resolutions” which will be discussed at the VT State Grange Annual Session, on Oct. 27 & 28. Tim and Liz will be taking part in committees reviewing the Resolutions, and will be voting on them in the general sessions. A download link for a PDF of them is available on our website, here. Among the 12, there are ones on prohibiting the use of “dairy” names like “milk” and “cheese” being used for plant-based products, supporting education on food waste composting, promoting serving of whole milk in schools, and more. Check ’em out, and come to the meeting for a quick discussion.
If we have time, we’ll also start discussion of the Grange Cooking Contest we’d like to have for the May 2024 meeting. I got some input already from our friend Delna Khambatta, who has taught Indian cooking classes at our Hall! I’d still like to find someone who wants to take on organizing this tasty event–maybe you?
I’m sure we will fill up the brief time we’ll have–as we need to pivot to the “Community Program”–see the article below:
What’s the state of housing in Central VT?
And what can be done to improve your access to home ownership here?
Kicking off our fall season of Grange Programs, we’re pleased to present a program featuring DownStreet Housing and Community Development. This local, private non-profit’s website states their mission as: ” Downstreet strengthens the communities of Central Vermont by creating permanently affordable homes, promoting equity and inclusion, and connecting people to the resources and services they need to thrive.”
Our program will focus especially on their “Homeownership Center”, which provides a range of services to help people before, during and after the home-buying process. This includes down-payment options, help with financing repairs, home-buyer education and much more. Our program presenters will be the Director of HomeOwnership, Cheryl Moyer, and HomeOwnership Specialist Bill Meckel, who is now a Grange member!
I expect that the current state of housing in Central VT will be a topic of discussion as well. The impacts of the July and August flood events have reduced and/or damaged some of the housing stock, including properties owned by DownStreet. We’ll have discussion and question time available to focus on the concerns of our audience. We really hope you can join us to learn more about this very relevant topic!
We also encourage you to stay for….
After the program, time for a potluck dinner!
We’ll move out of the upstairs Hall at 6:00, to make room for setup for the special waltz session from 7 to 7:45, before the contra dance. We’ll move downstairs, and enjoy our monthly Community Potluck dinner! We hope you (and many others) will join us in sharing tasty main dishes, sides, salads, soups, desserts and more! We know you’re going to eat dinner, so why not join us? Bring whatever you want–and if you don’t have time to cook, contribute chips and salsa, or a loaf of bread and some cheese, or a jug of cider.
Who are these friendly people?
These are part of the technical assistance team for “COMSA“, which stands for “Cafe Organico Marcala S.A.”, a cooperative coffee processor in Marcala, Honduras. This organization now has 1,573 coffee producers (25% women), each with less than 9 acres of land. This represents quite a bit of growth since starting in 2001 with the equivalent of $300, and 60 producers!
So why are we telling you about this cooperative? Because they are one of the coffee producers who supply Just Food Hub, the non-profit local organization which sells Equal Exchange food products in Central Vermont. JFH donates its profits to local community organizations–including Capital City Grange! The products they sell are all produced by small farmers and cooperative groups like this one, from around the globe. All sustainably or organically grown, Just Food Hub’s products are available through the JFH website, and free delivery is available to a list of central VT towns (or they can be shipped to other locations). Please choose “Capital City Grange” as the fundraiser beneficiary on the Checkout page, and we receive 25% of the sales price, to help us fund improvements!
For more info on COMSA, check out the info on the Equal Exchange website. You can learn more about the “5 Ms” of soil health that are the basis of the organic approach they take at the cooperatives experimental farm, “La Fortaleza”.