Gratitude and Short History for the Granges

The Grange Farm School would like to extend a HUGE thank you tGrangeo the Aromas Grange and the Sebastopol Grange who joined Little Lake and Anderson Valley Granges by donating funds to our scholarship program. These Granges are actively empowering the next generation of food producers! We owe so much to our surrounding community and Granges for being the support and motivation needed to launch this school into its’ first few years.

Many people have asked us throughout the years why we are called the “Grange” Farm School, so here is a short history of the rural, democratic, radical, populist, fraternal organization created in the late 1800s.

After the Civil War, Oliver H. Kelley, a deputy of the newly formed US Department of Agriculture, was given the task of surveying southern farms. What he found was a splintered landscape with farmers who were subjected to corrupt price-setting from the railroad monopolies. He returned to New York and resolved to form a progressive fraternal organization to support rural farmers. Working with 13 founders, including Clara Kelly, his niece, they formed the Patrons of Husbandry the Fraternal Order of the Grange. It was formed as a secret society with a hybrid of pagan mythology and Judeo-Christian morals, combined with a populist political agenda. It was progressive in so many ways: they were the first fraternal group to allow women to be of equal standing, they wrote and passed legislation to break apart monopolies, brought water and electricity to rural areas, and set up the US postal service. Today, the Grange is no longer a secret society but many Granges still practice the rituals and historical traditions of the Elucinian mysteries ascribing values to each season: Spring as faith, Summer as hope, Fall as charity, and Winter as fidelity. Today there is a Grange revitalization happening in communities across America and they serve as hubs for community events and involvement.

In Essentials, Unity
In Non-Essentials, Liberty
In All Things, Charity 

For more information on the Granges, check out Daniel Spiro’s post on his blog Spiritual Fringe or join your local Grange!

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