by Larry Bailey, Master
I am always gratified at the generosity of our Ocean View Grange members. In a desire to honor and thank our injured Veterans, we started a drive to provide ditty-bags filled with items useful to our veterans who are at Togus VA Medical Center. The list below shows what kind of items we supplied and those members who helped.
These items were made possible by the generosity of the following members: Gayle and Rick Bedigian, Larry and Diane Bailey, Peg Fields, Ben and Judy Norton, Neva and Steve Joseph, Debbie Rogers, Leslie Korpinen, Trip Woodbridge, Gina Neilson, Nat Lyon, Gillie and Rob Sloat, Dick and Terry Bomba, Jeff and Tina Riedl.
We want to give a special thank you to Glen Cove Dental Associates in Rockland. When asked if they had anything they could donate they immediately brought out a couple of boxes full of toothbrushes, mouthwash, floss etc. These were not free samples. They bought them but were very happy to help.
Sister Debbie and Sister Neva will be delivering all the items Friday, April 21, 2017.
Webmaster Note: As a reminder, we publish an updated list of volunteer and donation opportunities for our Veterans each month in the Community Service Section of the Program Books and Information Page.
by Marilyn Stinson
Enterprise Grange #48, Richmond, Maine will celebrate 150 years of Grange by honoring citizens of Richmond and Dresden with Community Citizen Awards, Sunday, April 30th at 3:00 pm. at Enterprise Grange #48 Community Room, 15 Alexander Reed Road, Richmond.
The recipients are Laurie Saunders of Richmond and David Probert of Dresden. The public is invited and encouraged to share stories about the two great citizens of our respective towns. This is a free program and light refreshments are included.
Laurie is well known to Richmond residents for her work with the Senior Center and taking care of so many of our older residents’ needs as well as her being the producer and director of The Richmond Players. She has served on the Selectboard, Richmond Days Committee, and has been a very important part of Richmond’s past and present days. She had The Front Porch Boarding home for many years, doting on older women to help them stay out of nursing care. She has two adult children and was able to start a Senior Citizen Group in Gardiner.
Dave was on the recycling committee to get the center going and later was the “Recycling Coordinator” for 16 years. He has served on The Comprehensive Plan Committee, the Conservation Committee, and is currently on the Budget Review Committee and Recreation Committee. He and his wife have one daughter and grand-daughter living in Freeport and Auburn. He is currently active with Lincoln County Historical Association (LCHA) and on the Pownalborough Court House Stewardship Committee.
The Grange is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, fraternal organization with more than 160,000 members across the United States. Our more than 2,100 Granges contribute millions of volunteer hours and hundreds of thousands of dollars to our hometowns each year. We have a proud past and an exciting future!
This past Saturday, April 8, a benefit spaghetti supper was held at Somerset Grange #18 in Norridgewock. We had a great turnout, people from many towns around came. Was so good to see the dining hall full and folks milling all about visiting. this was a benefit for a long time Norridgewock resident who is now living in Madison. The apartment she had was totally destroyed in a fire a few weeks ago. Somerset Grange was happy to be of some help.
Sallie Wilder Master, Somerset Grange #18
In something of a perfect storm, Valley Grangers are experiencing a bit of March Madness with two major community service projects involving local students and community volunteers. First up was their annual GrowME Collaboration–a joint effort with Piscataquis County UMaine Extension and Piscataquis County Soil and Water Conservation District. By pooling resources and volunteers, the three organizations are visiting with nearly 750 students from Kindergarten through Third Grade in Piscataquis County. With a mission of “increasing agricultural literacy and making it fun,” volunteers help kindergartners build an animal graph, first graders taste and sort apples, second graders make their own butter, and third graders construct their very own “dirt babies.”
Walter Boomsma, program director for Valley Grange is especially proud of the fact that “we have no budget and not much structure–just a bunch of people who love working with kids and providing positive experiences around agriculture.” His specialty is making butter with second graders. “We have fun and the kids almost don’t realize they are learning–some have even asked for instructions and then made butter at home as a family activity.” He notes that teachers are often integrating the activities into their regular curriculum by using the experience as a writing prompt or a math lesson. But he maintains that the best part is everyone has fun. “Every year there are new stories to tell,” he notes.
Third graders make dirt babies that grow sprout and grow “hair” (grass). The babies include a birth certificate that tracks important events such as “first haircut.” In one classroom this year, as the babies were being collected and placed on a windowsill, one new “parent” exclaimed, “Uh oh! My Dirt Baby had an accident! She pooped and peed on my desk!” (There was some water and soil on the desk after the assembly was completed.) Perhaps in addition to “agricultural literacy” the GrowME program is teaching the joys of parenthood!
Boomsma notes that one school has requested an activity for their Pre-Kindergarten classes this year. “Finding activities that are grade level appropriate can be a challenge because we also have to make certain our volunteers are comfortable with it. This year I’ve agreed to be the guinea pig volunteer for this new activity and we’re trying a project involving sprouting bean seeds so the kids not only help with the planting, they get to watch the sprouting take place.”
Another initiative Valley Grange has supported long enough that it’s a school tradition is a contest among third and fourth graders to design two advertisements for the Grange in the Piscataquis Observer’s Annual Newspapers in Education Supplement. The program is a favorite of Piscataquis Community Elementary School Art Teacher Jane Daniels because it “gives the kids a practical side of art.” Valley Grange Master Jim Annis notes that “We have strong ties to kids…” with Grange members involved regularly at the local schools. “We’ve actually built a series of programs that range from Bookworming and Words for Thirds to our blistered finger knitters making hats and mittens for the kids who need them. The kids know us and we know them.”
Valley Grange Community Service Chair Mary Annis is quick to note that this is not a one-way street. “In addition to the fun we have, the kids help us. We collect ‘Coups for Troops’ most of which came from collection boxes placed in local schools. We like the feeling that we are redefining community and good ways of working together.”
Additional information about all of the Valley Grange Programs can be found on their website, http://valleygrange.com. The GrowME Collaboration maintains a basic information and resource site at http://growmehelp.wordpress.com. If any other Granges are interested in starting similar programs, Valley Grange will be happy to help!
Wednesday, April 5, 2017
Master Betsy will arrive from Massachusetts.
- Event: Legislative Luncheon at 12:00 p.m. at Maine State Grange Headquarters. Legislators are invited.
- Event: Androscoggin Pomona Meeting. There will be a 6:30 p.m. $5.00 supper with a 7:30 p.m. meeting. Members of Oxford and Cumberland Pomona have been invited to attend as well. The meeting will be held at Danville Junction Grange.
Thursday, April 6, 2017
Master Betsy will travel north and be available for media interviews in the Bangor area.
- Event: Piscataquis Pomona Potluck Supper at 6:00 p.m. and Meeting at 7:00 p.m. Meeting is being hosted by Valley Grange, 172 Guilford Center Road, Guilford. The public is invited. Click for more information about this event.
Friday, April 7, 2017
Master Betsy will be available for media interviews in the Augusta area.
- Event: Potluck supper will be held at 5:00 p.m. at Maine State Grange Headquarters. A Grange “town hall forum” will be held from 6:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. and include questions and answers as well as discussion of ideas and challenges facing the Grange at the national and local levels. The public is invited.
Saturday, April 8, 2017
Master Betsy spends the day at Maine State Grange Headquarters
- Event: Morning reception from 9:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. at Maine State Grange Headquarters. Officers, Deputies, and Directors are invited.
- Event: Junior Grange sponsored contests from 11:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.
- Event: Lincoln Pomona Potluck Supper at 6:30 p.m. and Meeting at 7:30 p.m. Meeting is being hosted by Meenahga Grange, 860 Main Street, Waldoboro. The public is invited.
Maine State Grange Headquarters is located at
146 State Street
Media Inquiries should be directed to
Walter Boomsma (webmastermainestategrangeorg) , Maine State Grange Communications Director
Amanda Leigh Brozana (communicationsnationalgrangeorg) , National Grange Communications Director
(202) 628-3507 • ext 102
by Rick Grotton
Maine State Grange Master
Our National Master, Betsy Huber, will be visiting Maine April 5, 2017, through April 8, 2017. She will be attending our Legislative Luncheon on April 5 and wishes to meet with as many Maine Grangers as possible during her visit to answer questions and listen to your ideas. We will be attending Grange meetings on Thursday and Friday (April 6 and 7). Please come to State Headquarters at 146 State Street in Augusta on Saturday, April 8 to visit. She will be attending the Junior sponsored contests that day beginning at 11:00 a.m. for the Public Speaking and Alphabet Signing (Juniors only) followed by the Assistant and Lady Assistant contest (for all Grangers). This will be a perfect opportunity to come support our Junior Program and to meet our first woman National Master! She has some great ideas and has been very busy but she is trying to visit all Grange states. If you want to come down on Thursday or Friday during the day to visit please let me know ahead of time. Let’s be Doers and show our National Master how proud we are as Grangers!
The NEGB trustees met on Saturday morning January 28, 2017, during Leaders Conference held in Rutland, VT. The store managers and the treasurer reported that we made $14,698.00 at this year’s fair after all expenses, including building maintenance prior to and during the fair.
For the protection of the items submitted for the craft contest, Plexiglas was put in place so fairgoers no longer have direct access to these items. The quality of the contest entries have made people want to take them (literally) and in the past, there have been items taken from the building.
We continue to maintain the building and that is where the profits from the store come into play. Last year we had the building painted. In doing so it made us realize that the wooden letters that spell out the name of the building need to be replaced. The fire escape door on the first floor needs to be replaced and the cement steps outside that door also need work. We need your help to keep this building in repair and continue to show all the visitors to the Big E that the Grange is alive and well.
The trustees voted to require each State Grange to fill fifteen shifts in the store and at the quilt raffle table. If an individual(s) works an afternoon/evening shift and then works the morning/early afternoon shift the next day the Store will pay for a hotel room at The Comfort Inn for the night you work. For those who work in the store, you will need to run a cash register and assist with stocking shelves, answering questions, if new items come in you could help with pricing the items. Those who work on the raffle table will ask shoppers if they would like to enter and that it is simply whatever they want to donate. You may need to explain where the money will be going and each year the state that donates the quilt decides which charity the money will be going to. Both areas require standing and the shifts are 9-3 (day shift) and 3-9 (evening shift). Arrangements for scheduling to work are made through Linda Sanderson, Store Manager, 802-999-3510. You will also receive a pass to get into the fair the days you work. If you are interested please contact Linda as soon as possible. We have to have a list of names of those working to the Big E by the end of June. Linda will let State Master Rick Grotton know if our 15 slot obligation is not met.
If you cannot or do not want to travel and work in the store there are other ways to contribute to the building. There is always a need for handmade items to sell in the craft part of the store. Below is a list of items that are big sellers or that people make a request for.
- Large and medium afghans
- Baby afghans, sweater sets, headbands, slippers, anything baby
- Quilted wall hangings
- Corn or rice bags for the microwave
- Dog toys, scarves, and knitted sweaters- Catnip toys
- Long plastic canvas tissue boxes
- Wool felted dryer balls. They help clothes dry faster.
- Knitted, crocheted hanging kitchen towels
- Full-size aprons
- Draft stoppers
- Scrubbies, scrubbies, scrubbies–these things are one of the biggest sellers
- Adult slippers, hats, mittens, winter scarfs- colors for men too, but not black or brown
- Bag holders for plastic bags
- Women’s sweaters- if you make these please somehow attach a label including the size
- Medium to large adult clothes protectors (bibs)
- Embroidered pillow covers
Pretty much anything and if you make items that are not listed they accept anything that is homemade. The central location for item donation is State Grange Headquarters. If you or someone from your area is coming to an event at HQ please bring or ask them to bring the items. If items cannot be brought during an event then please call headquarters and make arrangements for someone to be there to meet you.
Dates for this year’s fair are September 15, 2017, through October 1, 2017. Grange Day is Sunday, September 24. New England Grangers will be having a float in the parade that day and we are also looking for folks to be in the parade on Saturday, September 16 as we will be showing support for FFA and 4-H. There is a challenge out there for all the states to see who can have the most Grangers walk in the parade on Grange Day (September 24). If you plan on getting a group of Grangers to go down on Grange Day and participate in the parade, State Master Rick Grotton needs you to contact him before June 1, 2017, so he can request the correct number of tickets for those attending. Let’s car pool and make the trip to the Big E and show them that Maine Grangers are up for any challenge.
Falls Church, VA—February 2, 2017—The Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund (FTCLDF) is proud to announce that Maine farmer Heather Retberg is the winner of the second annual Gravel Road Gang Activism Award, an honor recognizing FTCLDF members for success in working on food freedom legislation and initiatives. Heather is a farming mother, the lead organizer and advocate for Local Food RULES, a board member for Food for Maine’s Future, and is working with her local grange, the Halcyon Grange #345 in North Blue Hill to rebuild food and farming infrastructure while maintaining legal space for traditional food exchanges. Retberg and her husband Phil own and operate Quill’s End Farm in Penobscot, producing raw milk, meat, and eggs. Utah farmers Symbria and Sara Patterson were the winners of the inaugural Gravel Road Gang Award in 2016.
The award is named in honor of Donna Betts, a longtime farmer and activist in southeastern Ohio. Betts has been a walking history of farming and farm politics in Ohio since World War II. A longtime advocate of measures favoring small farmers and local food production, Betts has not been afraid to take on the government. She was a successful litigant in an eight-year court battle with the Ohio Department of Agriculture over her right to sell raw pet milk, a case in which she recovered attorneys’ fees from the Department. The Gravel Road Gang is Betts’ name for a group of women that have been meeting in her area the past 16 years to discuss farming, activism, and other matters of the day.
Retberg has been instrumental in the passage of the Local Food and Community Self-Governance Ordinance (LFCSGO) in 18 Maine towns. Under the LFCSGO, farmers and other local food producers can sell their products direct-to-consumers within the ordinance town’s borders without licensing or inspection. Along with her husband Phil, farmer Deborah Evans, farmer Bob St Peter, and Larissa Curlik, Retberg drafted the ordinance in 2010, and in 2011 five towns including Penobscot became the first to adopt the ordinance. The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (DACF) subsequently challenged the ordinance by filing suit against dairy farmer Dan Brown, claiming he was violating state law by selling raw milk and canned goods from his farmstand in the ordinance town of Blue Hill without a state license. The case went all the way to the Maine Supreme Court, which did not strike down the ordinance but did rule against Brown. The Court avoided preempting the LFCSGO, choosing to interpret the language “narrowly” to exempt farmers and food producers only from municipal licensing and inspection. While the case was making its way through the courts, the Maine legislature passed a bill requiring DACF to support policies that through local control preserve the ability of communities to produce, process, sell, purchase, and consume locally produced foods. The 2014 state Supreme Court decision has not slowed the LFCSGO’s momentum; since the court’s ruling, seven towns have adopted the ordinance.
Retberg is the lead organizer advocate of Local Food Rules, a non-profit organization whose mission is to encourage the passage of local food ordinances in Maine. She has traveled around the state since 2011 supporting and assisting the efforts of local leaders as their own towns consider its passage. She is currently working with local organizers toward passage of the ordinance in Rockland, which would mark the first time a city has adopted the LFCSGO. FTCLDF has provided financial support for her travel expenses and many hours spent the past three years working to increase the number of ordinance-protected towns.
On the state level, Retberg has worked successfully on scale-appropriate regulation for on-farm poultry processing and has been part of several attempts to adopt the LFCSGO statewide. In 2016, a constitutional right to food amendment that would have enshrined a right to food of our choosing and food freedom in Maine’s constitution, passed in the Maine House of Representatives but died in the Senate. Retberg helped draft the amendment. In addition, she worked closely with legislator allies on four other bills that same session approaching food sovereignty, food self-sufficiency, and food freedom from different tacks.
In the 2017 legislative session, Retberg will be working to support more people in rural communities who aim to help their town adopt the LFCSGO on the local level. At the state level, she is working primarily on two bills: another effort to adopt the ordinance on a statewide basis as well as a measure toward state recognition of food sovereignty, effectively addressing the threat of state preemption to local control of community food and water systems. Towns and counties in other states have passed food sovereignty ordinances, but when it comes to the number of towns and the strength of the ordinance language, Maine is still ahead of the curve. Retberg has been a leader from the beginning.
FTCLDF works with its members at the federal, state, and local levels on legislation and other initiatives to promote food freedom of choice; we welcome those working on or wanting to work on food freedom bills or similar measures.
I started my Grange Journey at the age of five as a Junior Granger. At the age of 14, I joined Mousam Lake Grange, working my way up thru the offices to Master, prior to attending Casco Bay College.
Upon graduation from college, I held several office jobs, including Getty Petroleum, Konica Photo, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield. I am currently working at Maine Medical Center as a Payment Poster.
I am currently Master of Mousam Lake Grange and Steward for York Pomona. I am looking forward to serving many years as a Deputy and living up to the standards set by my parents (Joe and Lorraine Goodness) while they were Deputies.
Welcome, Melissa! Note that contact information for Melissa (and all Officers, Deputies and Directors is available in the “ODD Directory” published by the Communications Department. Get your copy here: ODD Directory!