BACKGROUND: The Grange is a historic Monkton tradition dating back over 100 years. #540 was chartered in 1944 with the purchase of the 1881 Monkton Borough Baptist Church from the Methodists who had purchased the building in 1905.
THE GRANGE ORGANIZATION: its origins and evolution
“The National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry, encourages families to band together to promote the economic and political well-being of the community and agriculture.” Founded after the Civil War in 1867, it is the oldest American agricultural advocacy group. Major efforts included the establishment of rural free mail delivery and rural electrification.
In Vermont, as farming communities have diversified and agriculture has become less focused on dairy, interest in the Grange has declined. Once the Grange was seeped in secret rituals and pageantry which has been off-putting to many people. The Grange has modernized and allowed “subordinate” granges operate freely while adapting the pieces of structure that are still relevant for community building.
It should be stressed that the Grange has never been limited to folks involved in agriculture. All are welcome.
GRANGE MEETINGS: meetings, to oversimplify, are a gathering of friends to share a meal, conversation and to try to do some good along the way. Grange meetings are scheduled for the second Thursday of every month.
The meetings follow a simple agenda that revolves around the reports of “committees” that share news and spark discussion. Those area include: legislative reports; local government news; “is any committee member in sickness or distress” (how can we help); youth report–news from schools; events committees; community service; Grange communications and reports. This format is flexible according to the needs of the group.
The meeting concludes with a pot luck dinner and casual conversation.
Special meetings can occur with a wider public focus. Examples from the past include meet-the-candidates forums; historical lectures; musical performance; community suppers and other special events.
The meetings are always open to all and no membership commitment is required.
ORGANIZATIONAL THEME, STRUCTURE AND CORE VALUES: The State Grange recommends that each Grange have a theme. The themes I propose is community building events and agricultural education.
There is an organizational structure with elected officers such as a president, vice president, secretary and treasurer.
The core values are getting people together in relaxed environment to enjoy each other’s company and create stronger community ties. Along the way we hope to revitalize a Monkton tradition that once involved 150 active members. I hope you share our excitement at the possibilities.