the irresistible fleet of bicycles


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the grange hall in ojai has great upcoming events

The Grange Hall in Ojai has got it going on!

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Beginning this weekend (sign up quick!) the Ojai Grange is hosting a series of summer classes on a variety of different homesteading/self-sufficiency topics.Check out http://www.ojaivalleygrange.com for more information and to sign up!

Below is the flyer for a homesteading Farm Camp for girls age 8-14 at local organic Poco Farm, July 20-24.
PocofarmCamp
Support your local community and home economy by signing up soon!
Thank you!
Grace Malloy
Secretary, Ojai Valley Grange #659
ojaivalleygrange@gmail.com


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history of the grange wars

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West Coast Grange Wars:
A Reborn Farmers’ Movement Takes on Corporate Agriculture
By John Collins, Rural America In These Times

As more and more grocery shoppers refuse to write-off the origins of their food as some unsolvable whodunit, a network of sustainability minded, locally oriented farmers are working to connect those people to calories from known sources.  For such farmers, and those in the communities that support them, the local Grange is a well-established ally.

Jay Sexton is Master at Mary’s River Grange #685 in Philomath, Oregon. A member of that Grange for six years, he is also the current director of the Oregon State Grange Agriculture Committee, working to advance Grange policies and promote agriculture awareness. Reminding the general public that we all depend on agriculture for the food we eat has been no small part of the organization’s mission for the last 148 years.

“The Grange has an interesting history,” says Sexton, “not just with the ups and downs of membership, but with how closely it’s been tied to big agriculture.”

In recent years, a rift has emerged between some state and local Granges and the national organization. New farmers with progressive ideas regarding the future of agriculture—organic farming practices, an end to the use of GMOs, environmentally beneficial land use—are clashing with the National Grange over its support of industrial agribusiness.

Like many advocacy organizations headquartered in Washington D.C., the National Grange is politically cautious. In the Beltway, severing ties with large, technology-driven farming operations—biting the hand that feeds—is a tough sell.

“Grange policy is very clear in that we support all of agriculture,” says Ed Lutrell, president of the National Grange. “We believe that production agriculture is important to the world—it’s feeding millions of people. Local, small-market agriculture is equally as important because what the American consumer is demanding is locally grown, wholesome, safe food. We’re in complete support of that process as well.”

But those active in the new farming movement, keenly aware of the environmental perils of BigAg and champions of a wacky notion that places sustainability ahead of profit, could not care less about being cautious.

Neither could many Grangers who came before them. Continue full article here.


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article: west coast grange wars

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On one hand you have an established order that, while quick to conjure its Populist origins, appears threatened by the kind of grassroots change it once championed. On the other, a contingent of rogue Grangers—progressives decidedly less interested in nostalgia than their national counterpart—attempting to breathe new life into an aging system that doesn’t seem to want the CPR.

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“There’s a contestation around what the Grange will be,” says Von Tscharner Fleming. “Right now, the Grange present is captured by a pretty corporate voice. The original Populist voice of the Grange is not present on the national level. We called our project Grange Future because we’re claiming an interpretation. We’re saying: the future’s a long time and we’re going to be here and we can use these buildings and this infrastructure.”

In a captivating article feature on In These Times, John Collins takes on the history of The Grange, the recent polemical schism between the California Grange and the national organization, and Grange Future.


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new 2015 programs at the grange farm school

The Grange Programs for new and beginning farmer education as well as opportunities for experienced farmers looking to learn more. Apply now to be one of the first students of an emerging hub for sustainable agricultural education, or register for one of the exciting workshops being offered!
The Grange Farm School is dedicated to teaching the next generation of responsible, innovative, and successful farmers.  We are strong believers in experiential education, and our Practicum Student Program is built upon that philosophy.  A combination of hands-on field work instruction with rigorous academic curriculum provide an environment for students to learn the foundations of integrated crops and livestock operations, business management, industrial arts, sustainable technologies and ecological restoration.

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great press!

New Life at Sonoma County’s Historic Granges
by Mary Callahan for The Press Democrat

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A surge of interest in natural foods, local sourcing and environmental sustainability is bringing new life to the Civil War-era Grange movement, driving participation and restoring its relevance among modern folks yearning for connection to one another and to the food they consume.

The Sebastopol Grange — part of the nationwide farmers alliance that spans 147 years of agricultural development, economic expansion and vast social change — is among the groups that are thriving, its membership surpassing 200 people just a few years after its existence was threatened.

“It’s a process of revitalizing community,” President Jerry Allen said. “It’s going on all over, and it’s sure going on here.”

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