For the past three years, I have volunteered to travel around Maine visiting over two hundred farms. Through the generous funding from several donors and organizations, I was able to have a 296-page book printed in Maine on Maine paper about the farms which I visited. A copy of the book, which is entitled Unique Maine Farms, was donated to every public and college library in the state of Maine.
In addition to conducting educational presentations about the Unique Maine Farms project, I have created a traveling photo exhibit.
Profiles of the farms that I have visited can be found on the Unique Maine Farms website: www.uniquemainefarms.com. There was a profile of the Grange in the Unique Maine Farms book. I am aware of the historical effort among Granges to support agriculture and education. I am writing to you to see if you might be able to advise me on how this email can be shared with any Grange in Maine who might have an interest in an educational component of the Unique Maine Farms project which I would love to see materialize.
I have a collection of over one thousand puppets that can be viewed on the Puppets for Everyone website: www.puppetsforeveryone.com It has always been my desire to find a location where the puppets could be on display and be accessible for children and adults to enjoy. My vision is to set up a type of puppet museum where visitors, on an occasional basis, could have a hands-on opportunity to enjoy performing folk tales from around the world that deal with farming with the puppets.
A farm organization with a property in midcoast Maine has expressed an interest in housing my large collection of puppets, but I would prefer to find a location closer to my home in West Newfield. I would also love to learn if there is an old Grange building that is only having limited use and that might be interested in collaborating with me.
I was fortunate to be able to raise $24,000 in grant money to have the Unique Maine Farms’ book printed in Maine on Maine paper. It would be great to learn of a Grange that might embrace the idea of welcoming and displaying my collection of over one thousand puppets for educational programs. From my research of grants in Maine, I am aware of funding organizations that support the encouragement of the arts. There is funding available to non-profit organizations like the Grange that are interested in expanding their outreach in the community.
Perhaps there is a Grange that would need building repairs or a facility update and would be interested in being part of the grant application that I would be willing to write and submit to establish a puppet museum/ arts educational outreach program. I am not looking to make money from this project.Rather, I am hoping that the amazing collection of puppets will be able to be displayed in a building that is being underutilized. If a grant were submitted I would hope that it would be set up to request the coverage for operating expenses for both the Grange to house the puppet collection and for any materials necessary for me to erect and maintain the puppet display and educational program associated with it.
I am a certified Maine English and History teacher. In my travels, I have seen some Granges that have faced decreased membership. Because the work with which I am involved combines agriculture and education it seems as though there might be a Grange who would embrace this community-based project.
The Quimby Family Foundation limits the acceptance of their application to fund community arts projects only during the month of December. If there is any interest from a Grange in learning more about this possible collaborative educational endeavor, I would love the opportunity to share more information with them before the grant application deadline passes at the end of next month.
Thanks so much for helping to spread the word to Granges in Maine about this unique opportunity.
Mary Quinn Doyle
Unique Maine Farms
515 Garland Road
West Newfield ME 04095
Interested Granges may also contact Mary via email (mqdoylegmailcom) .