Farming is a tough mental and physical job that many farm families consider a true labor of love. You may or may not get filthy rich farming, but you will be pursuing one of the most time-honored career paths in history. The American farmer knows better than anyone the importance of conservation of resources, sustainability and the value of supporting the community and neighboring families, especially in rural areas. The Grange was developed to support these intrepid farmers. What is the Grange, you ask? You’re about to find out.
Founding of the Grange. The Grange was founded by seven extraordinary men in 1867 in Washington, D.C. This group was and is more formally known as the Order of Patrons of Husbandry. The Grange is, specifically, a non-governmental, non-partisan, fraternal association that advocates for agriculture and rural America. From that point on, the Grange has grown to play a crucial role in the preserving and expanding of American democracy with a daunting list of objectives for many national issues.
Grange philosophy. The seven men — founders of this great society — sat around a plain, rather ordinary wooden table in the corner of a small building and mapped out their goals. They believed in the service of others, loyalty, support to the farmer and rural area, and democratic ideals. The Grange also was one of the first groups to admit women as equal members, according to the National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry.
Who can join? Anyone. Men, women and young people are all equals in the Grange and are admitted on equal terms. People 14 years and older are eligible for full membership. The government is direct representation — one vote for one member. The local Grange manages local officers and group affairs. Local Granges are grouped within a district or county. Above that are the State Granges, with the National Grange at the top of the organization infrastructure.
The Grange now. Much of the Grange’s activities revolve around local community service projects. Projects include sponsoring community fairs, organizing softball leagues, building community centers, staffing after-school care for children, offering hearing tests to community members, holding debates and hosting voter registration drives. All Grange activities, social events and objectives are developed with family at the heart. The Grange sponsors competitions in music, art, crafts and even public speaking. The Grange fosters the growth of leadership, community life and opportunities for all people. There are more than 200,000 members of the Grange in 2,700 communities across the nation.