Apr 262016

Youth Logo

The Youth Photo Scavenger Hunt is a program that has been developed by the 2016 Youth Team to provide a new activity for Grange youth and young adults to share their Grange story.

Photos will be judged by a panel of judges selected by the 2016 National Grange Youth Team.

CLICK HERE for rules, judging guidelines and more.  Visit the National Grange Youth website for a full list of Youth Programs

Nov 042015

Maine Farmland TrustFrom the Maine Farmland Trust Newsletter…

This January and February, we envision our downstairs gallery space to be wall-papered with portraits of as many of Maine’s farm animals as possible. Send us your best close-ups of your cows, chickens, sheep, horses, donkeys, pigs,  goats, alpacas, geese, turkeys, barn cats, farm dogs – we want to see them all!

If you are not a farmer but have a favorite farm or farm animal, your pictures are welcome as well.

All high-res photos can be sent to annaatmainefarmlandtrustdotorg  (annaatmainefarmlandtrustdotorg)   no later than December 20, 2015.

Please include farm name, and town (and the animal’s name if you know it).

Our upstairs photography show “Faces of Farms”  will feature professional animal portraits by photographer and marketing consultant  Catherine Frost.

Jan 142015
A mug WBBy Walter Boomsma,
Communications Director

“A picture is worth a thousand words.” Well, maybe! But this generally accepted truth only tells part of the story when it comes to media. Most “newsy” photographs will benefit from what is called a cutline.

The cutline is not quite the same as a caption. The cutline most often appears below the caption. It explains the “who, what, when, where, and why or how” around the photograph. Contrary to what the word implies it’s more than a line; it’s actually a short paragraph. Obviously different publications use cutlines and captions differently, but there are a few general guidelines.

Let’s assume you have taken a photo of the master of your Grange presenting an award to a community leader. Because that photo is depicting an event frozen in time, you would write at least the first sentence of your cutline in the present tense.

Master [name] presents [name of award] during [name of event] at [name of Grange] in [city] on [day of the week], [month, date, year].

You’ve covered the “who, what, when and where” in one sentence! Another sentence or two explains the why or how.

The [name of award] celebrates (or recognizes or honors)…

The objective of a cutline is to tell an entire story in a short paragraph. The first sentence may look the easiest, but it is also the most important. Editors attempting to save space will typically “cut from the bottom,” so the last sentence is the one to go!

Weekly newspapers—especially those distributed for free—are great outlets for photos with cutlines because they require little editing and can be “copy fit” into available space. Your 500 word press release may not make it into the paper, but a good photo and cutline might!

But wait, there’s more! One of the real values of submitting photos with cutlines to media outlets (including the Maine State Grange Website) is they are really not difficult or intimidating to prepare. You simple add some detail to the photo: who is doing what when and where.

Of course this starts with a photograph, but that’s a different topic. I’ve been known to say that a technically bad (out of focus, too dark, etc.) picture isn’t worth a thousand words; it takes a thousand words to explain it.) Photos shot at a fairly high resolution will be best for print media and have the added advantage that they lend themselves to editing and “fixing.”

Another platitude is “keep it simple” and should be applied to photos and cutlines. A simple photo with a very short “story” is much better than the press release you never get around to writing. I’m waiting for yours!

  “Let’s make some news, take some photos of it, and share it!”

For those who wish to explore photojournalism, an excellent place to start is Mark M. Hancock’s site where you’ll find lots of good articles and some professionally done examples.

Nov 012014
Harriman 1By Sherry Harriman, MSG Lecturer

2014/2015 Lecturer Program Books with contest rules, art & photo labels plus help materials were passed out at Lecturers Conference in August and at State Session to your Grange Delegate.  If there was not a delegate from your Grange the books were given to the Deputy of your area.  Call that person and ask them for it.  If you didn’t get it let me know.  Every Grange gets one whether you have an elected Lecturer or not.

SUPER JOB — Thank you Steven, Ruby, Cassie, Leslie, Linda and all who helped on my table at State Session, cataloging art & photos, sorting, counting, hanging them, etc., checking off names & passing out program books, selling books & tickets.  Thank you Ruby for the beautiful basket of Lecturers items won by Gary Nickerson of Porter Grange. Thanks to the Deputies, Junior Deputies and others for setting things up and taking them down for me.

PHOTO AND ART WINNERS  Ribbons were presented to winners and participants.

PHOTOGRAPHY  —  ADULT total entries 143: “Fantastic Job Everyone!!”

GRANGE –24 entries: First: Glenn Haines, Mt Etna; Second: Norma Haines, Mt Etna; Third:  Bob Smith, Farmington.

PEOPLE –25 entries: First: Patricia Medeika, Evening Star; Second: Bob Smith, Farmington; Third: Laurie McBurnie, Willow.

OTHER –18 entries: First:  Merton Ricker, Topsham; Second: Jackie Morgan, Maple Grove; Third: Laurie McBurnie, Willow.

ANIMALS AND OTHER CREATURES – 26 entries:  First:  Laurie McBurnie, Willow; Second: Patricia Medeika, Evening Star;  Third: Marilyn Stinson, Enterprise 48.

NATURE AND SCENERY – 37entries: First:  Jackie Morgan, Maple Grove; Second:  Laurie McBurnie, Willow; Third: Pauline Spencer, White Rock.

BUILDINGS AND OTHER STRUCTURES –13 entries: First:  Charles Hammond, Norway — Barn Picture **Best of Show goes on to National Grange; Second:  Glenn Haines, Mt Etna;  Third:  Marilyn Stinson, Enterprise 48.

PHOTOS JUNIOR  – Photo First:  Kaycee Walker, Bangor

Once again I find myself reminding folks to FOLLOW ALL THE RULES!  Deadline 10:00 am.   Labels were not filled out completely, You MUST choose a category, You MUST put some type of matting or backing on every photo – NO FRAMES, matting or backing only on all photos.

ART ADULT – total entries: 3 These were all beautiful, thank you, Shirley    

OILS AND ACRYLICS – First: Shirley Hatch, Danville Junction.

WATERCOLORS – First:  Shirley Hatch, Danville Junction.

CHARCOAL OR PENCIL DRAWINGS – First: Shirley Hatch, Danville Junction.

ART JUNIOR  – total entries: 3

OILS AND ACRYLICS – First:  Emily Dill, Maine State Jr Grange.

CHARCOAL OR PENCIL DRAWINGS – First; Zoe Dill, Maine State Jr Grange.

MARKERS OR CRAYONS:  First:  Jillian Dill, Maine State Jr Grange.


HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL from Sherry and Richard.

Sep 192014

Many are aware of the work of Chris Hadsel and Curtains Without Borders. Chris has spent lots of time and energy documenting and encouraging the preservation of the curtains found in Grange Halls and other public buildings throughout New England. As just one example, when the West Paris Grange Hall was sold to the American Legion, Chris helped save the curtains–even to the point of helping to load them into a U-Haul. They traveled to Wardsboro Vermont where they will be conserved and some will be permanently placed on stage. Ironically, there is another set of curtains by the same artist “just up the road.” When efforts are complete the artist’s grandchildren and great-grandchildren will come to see his work.

Chris is publishing a book “Suspended Worlds” that is a “visually brilliant celebration of historic state scenery from norther New England.” In appreciation of Chris’s work on behalf of these Grange Treasures, we have created a posted an information sheet with an advanced order form: Order Form — Suspended Worlds. You can also access this from the “Program Books and Information” tab–Look under Miscellaneous Documents.

Jul 102014
by Walter Boomsma,
Communications Director based on information provided by National Grange

Check out this learning opportunity!

National Grange recently announced that a generous donation from DCI will again allow the use of “fellows” in conjunction with National Conference. (DCI is a worldwide public affairs firm with offices in Washington, D.C., Houston and Brussels, Belgium, that has been a fantastic partner of the Grange for many years related to advocacy and coalition services.)

Is it news if no one knows it?

Is it news if no one knows it?

These fellows learn about basic and advanced communication practices, and put those skills to work by covering many aspects of convention, creating stories, providing assistance with the daily newsletter and much more. When they return home, they will have a better sense of how to provide their local and state Grange with assistance in the fields of newsletter writing/creation and public relations.

This is a great learning opportunity for the right person. Maine State Grange has been given the opportunity to nominate an individual for consideration. The successful candidate will receive lodging and food assistance from National Grange and some travel assistance from Maine State Grange.

Candidates must have a strong work ethic and plan to be available for work in Ohio from November 7 through November 16. While this is a learning opportunity, fellows are expected to work hard. In fact, National Grange has specifically requested candidates not have officer or other responsibilities during the conference. National Grange will supply equipment such as iPads, audio recorders and video/photo equipment.  Any fellow able to provide their own laptop, camera or recording device is highly encouraged to do so.

Please note: If you are interested in taking advantage of this opportunity, you must contact Master Vicki immediately. Do NOT contact National Grange. Candidates must be nominated by their state Grange. Nomination does not guarantee acceptance. The deadline for Maine to submit nominations is August 1, 2014, so you must complete the application process well in advance.

Jun 132014
By Walter Boomsma,Walter Boomsma
Communications Director

A friend likes to occasionally send me “funnies” via email. One this morning pictured a senior looking couple sitting together on the porch in the evening. The man has his arm around the woman and says, “In the moonlight, your teeth look just like pearls.” His companion replies, “Who is Pearl and what have you been doing with her!?”

This is actually funny on several levels. Those who are “grammarically inclined” will recognize the power of the missing apostrophe. Did Grandpa say “pearls” or “Pearl’s?” A similar lesson demonstrates the power of a comma. Consider the difference between “Let’s eat, Grandma” and “Let’s eat Grandma.”

In spoken word, it’s actually unlikely that most people would be confused. We effectively “hear” the apostrophe or comma—that’s what makes these miscommunications funny. Written words become a little “trickier” even though they offer the opportunity for a higher level of precision. Some of my writer friends are fond of sending me real life examples of writing where the message meant and the message sent are very different.

Communication is both art and science and not a very exact science at that. Journalists and professional writers learn to proofread several different ways. That’s also usually the job of an editor—to look at writing and question the connection between message meant and message sent.

While I don’t have time to “professionally edit” every post and event submitted to the website and every article submitted for the bulletin—I do try to fix the obvious after a quick, critical read, but I can assure you I don’t catch everything. I’m really counting on submitters. So here are a couple of “tips” for those who want to truly communicate when they write for our site and bulletin.

Consider the audience. If you are, for example, writing up an event, don’t just focus on the event itself. Think about the people who are going to be reading what you write. What do they need to know? How are they going to react to what you’ve written? The writer’s job includes creating interest and making people want to read the entire story/article. Get in your reader’s head!

Remember the Five W’s and one H. Journalism 101 teaches Who, What, Why, When, Where and How. Applying these can be great fun because there are versions of each question. If we are writing about an event, “Who” could mean who is sponsoring it but it could also mean who should come. If we’re reporting about an event that happened the questions simply change to the past tense. Who sponsored it? Who came?

Let technology help. I usually let out a little groan when I receive something that is clearly full of typos and basic grammar errors because most programs offer some level of spelling and basic grammar checking. Set up your email or word processing program to do this automatically.

I recently had the opportunity to work with fifth graders during a writing assignment. One young lady was quite sure she’d run out of things to write about. I explained “writer’s block” and suggested she just start writing. “Just get your pencil moving… write words, don’t worry about whether or not they make sense. You can make sense later.” I’m happy to report she later shared the beginning of a story that sounds quite intriguing.

Don’t try to write the entire story in your head first. The odds are good you’ll get discouraged and either procrastinate or give up. One of the great things about technology is it’s easy to fix, edit, delete, move things around. Using your “W’s and H” get some stuff written. Then move it around and make it flow.

In her Master’s Memo this month, Vicki has suggested that when we have special events we should consider having a photographer assigned (a picture may be worth a thousand words, right?) and do some simple write-ups for the local media and our website.  That sounds like a great idea to me! Tell us what happened! Who did it? Why was it awesome? You can do this!

Disclaimer: In the interest of effective communication, the beginning of this article is not meant to imply I want people forwarding cartoons and jokes to me. Copyright issues prevent us from using them on the site or in the Bulletin and I get far more than I really need already, thank you!

Feb 012014

Readers will recall previous posts requesting photos… here’s a story about the results!

Belfast. When Maine Farmland Trust’s Gallery Coordinator Anna Abaldo decided to invite farmers to submit a dozen pictures of their favorite things for the next gallery exhibit, she made a big mistake.

Not because she did not receive enough pictures. That was a concern at first, but it proved unfounded: the gallery received well over three hundred photographs.

And not because the photos were not good enough. To the contrary, Maine’s farmers are clearly a creative bunch with an eye for detail and beauty.

No, the real mistake lay in the fact that there was so much wonderful artistry and content in the submissions, that these photographs could have filled a year’s worth of shows at Maine Farmland Trust.   Each farm in this show is worthy of its own spotlight. Submittals from more than thirty farmers ensure that the gallery will be brimming with farm images from top to bottom.

“The best part about this show is that the pictures were taken by the farmers and farm workers themselves—so we get to see the daily life at the farm, and the highlights of different days, through farmers’ eyes,” said Abaldo.

“When the most photographed subject among thirty-plus farms is baby animals, we know that our farmers’ hearts are in the right place, ” she added with a smile.

Abaldo explains that she did not curate the show, but rather, accepted all submissions, ensuring more accurate representation of real farm life. “This show is really about the farmers and what they cherish,” said Abaldo.

This approach led to Abaldo’s decision to print all photos on regular glossy cardstock and to hang them home-style, un-framed, like a big collage.

This is the first time Maine Farmland Trust has drawn on photos taken by farmers to create a gallery show, but judging by the enthusiastic response from the farmers, Abaldo thinks it may set a precedent for a yearly exhibit.

Shelby Chadwick, from Ben Eva Farm in Warren, submitted photos along with this written note: “We just love our farm and it’s so hard to pick only 20 things we love, but we’re also thankful we got a chance to share our life, the farm and the things that make our heart sing!  It’s also a great chance to show those who don’t farm an amazing life we get to live and how blessed we feel… maybe it will inspire some to get back to the land and enrich their own lives, too.  What a wonderful opportunity to celebrate Farms, Farm families and farmland.”

When viewers take in the wall-papered gallery, they will notice that each picture, or grouping of pictures, tells a story. Clearly, there are some stories that all farms share, such as the joy of late summer harvests, or the sweetness of new life being born. But there are other stories that are unique to a farm. That includes one farm’s steer called Christmas, who thought he was a horse; another farm’s ritual of laying the last of summer’s dahlias on rocks by the river to let the tide take them away; and the legacy of eight generations of farming from Cobb Farm in Winthrop.

In the words of Justin Cobb: “The final picture is a copy of the first ownership transfer of our farm from my great-great-great-great grandfather Nathan and my great-great-great grandfather Lewis.  It may not qualify for your show but, it is among my favorite things.  Eight generation farms are rare and it is a nice reminder of how my history instructs my future.”

One of the interactive elements in this exhibit is the option of listening to farm stories provided as podcasts. “These are interviews with Maine farmers who participate in the Forever Farms program, edited for radio,” explained Jamie Wood, a Maine Farmland Trust staff member who made the recordings.

Other interactive elements include: a response board, so that visitors can also share their favorite things about farms; a questionnaire which guides visitors to look for certain elements in the photographs; and several farm recipes to take home. Given that this show is well-suited to children, Abaldo hopes that families and schools will take advantage of this exhibit.

A Farmer Reception with refreshments, open to the public, will be held on Friday, February 7, from 3 pm – 5 pm. “These Are a Few of my Favorite Things” will be on display until March 3.

The Maine Farmland Trust Gallery, located at 97 Main Street in Belfast, is open Monday through Friday from 9 am – 4 pm. More information can be found at www.mainefarmlandtrustgallery.org or by contacting Gallery Coordinator Anna Abaldo at annaatmainefarmlandtrustdotorg  (annaatmainefarmlandtrustdotorg)   . To book a classroom visit to the gallery, contact Kim Sanborn at 338-6575 or kimatmainefarmlandtrustdotorg  (kimatmainefarmlandtrustdotorg)   .

Maine Farmland Trust is a statewide non-profit organization working to keep Maine’s farms farming. Maine Farmland Trust created its gallery to celebrate art in agriculture, and to inspire and inform the public about farming in Maine. For more information on the Trust, visit www.mainefarmlandtrust.org

Jan 142014

Mr. Boomsma by Mr. Arthers

Walter Boomsma

As many know, our website takes full advantage of the WordPress software–a free and open source blogging tool and a content-management system based on PHP and MySQL. (Are your eyes glazing over yet?) One of the many “services” included is a short calendar year analysis and report… here’s what we’re told about MaineStateGrange.org based on 2013 activity:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 21,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 8 sold-out performances for that many people to see it. In 2013, there were 298 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 733 posts. The busiest day of the year was September 2nd with 183 views.

Since I have trouble relating to the size of the Sydney Opera House, I went with something I know. The maximum capacity of a school bus is 72. If we’d bussed all those visitors to the site, we would have needed nearly 300 busses. Or one bus would have needed to make nearly 300 trips! (By the way, the 72 is based on kids. Having gone on field trips I can tell you there’s a big difference between three nine-year olds in a seat and three adults.) And to answer an anticipated question, I do not know what happened on September 2.

I’m excited to be part of the team who put together the “Junior Grange Then and Now” initiative. One of the things to really like about it is that we’re not just living in the past–the program invites today’s Junior Grangers to share their thoughts or draw us a picture of what Junior Grange is about. The rules are pretty loose, so I’m thinking we might even accept a submission from a youngster who is familiar with the Grange but perhaps not an actual Junior Grange member.

Where are the exciting Granges and Grangers? I know the weather outside has been frightful… but some of you must be doing something delightful!


Jan 092014

With a bit of an “oops”… when we published the opportunity for farmers to submit photos for the Maine Farmlands Trust Gallery, we really didn’t include much about the Gallery itself! Here’s an attempt to correct that.

Young lady practices driving skills at the Ag Trades Expo - photo by Walter Boomsma

Young lady practices driving skills at the Ag Trades Expo – photo by Walter Boomsma

The gallery will be open Tuesday January 21 – March 3, 2014, Monday-Friday from  9 AM until 4 PM. We are told there are “lovely places to eat or have a warm drink right across the street to make your outing complete.”

The Maine Farmland Trust Gallery is located at 97 Main Street in Belfast ME.

This Winter, MFT Gallery is covering all its walls from top to bottom with pictures of “Favorite Things” from Maine farms: a much-loved farm animal, a baby calf, a favorite tool, a most-worn pair of overalls, a cherished view, a yummiest value-added product, the best pie from the farm kitchen, farm family loved ones – whatever makes our farmers’ hearts sing.

What makes this show unique is that the pictures are all taken by the farmers and farm workers themselves: this is not a jurried show, but rather a very personal collection of pictures shared as if we ourselves were sitting at the farm kitchen table on a wintry day.

That being said, you will be struck by the careful eye of many of these “amateur” photographers as they capture moments of their day. Whether it is the intimate connection with their subject, or a hidden talent for the arts – there are plenty of photographs among the 150+ submissions that would rival any professional picture.

With this exuberant collection of images, we at Maine Farmland Trust would like to pay homage to Maine’s farm families and all that they do and love.

Any questions can be directed to Gallery Coordinator Anna Abaldo at: annaatmainefarmlandtrustdotorg  (annaatmainefarmlandtrustdotorg)  .