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Reinvigorating the Grange for a New Generation of Farmers

PORT ANGELES, Wash. – Exploring how a new generation of small farmers and other community members with an interest in developing a more sustainable farm and food system might better connect through local granges is the topic of an upcoming meeting in Sequim.

Sponsored by Washington State University Clallam County Extension and the Sequim Prairie Grange, the event titled “Recreating the ‘Culture’ in Agriculture” will be held Sunday, Oct. 26 from 10 am to 3 pm at the Sequim Prairie Grange, 290 Macleay Road in Sequim.

The special guest speaker for the event will be Michael Ableman, a farmer and the author of “Fields of Plenty: A Farmer’s Journey in Search of Real Food and People Who Grow It” and “The Good Land.” Ableman, who with his family operates a farm on Saltspring Island in British Columbia, was featured in the national PBS broadcast “Beyond Organic.” He is also the founder the Center for Urban Agriculture, a nonprofit organization based on one of the oldest and most diverse organic farms in southern California, where Ableman farmed for 20 years.

“Since the late 1800’s granges have been formed to serve as a social gathering spot, a source for sharing information and a source of community support for farm communities across the country,” according to Curtis Beus, director of WSU Clallam County Extension. “We have a new generation of small, family farmers for whom the granges could provide a much needed place for developing social networks, enhancing economic cooperation, building and strengthening relationships and fostering a strong sense of rural community.”

While the event is targeted at Clallam County residents Beus says farmers and interested community members from neighboring counties are welcome to join in the discussion on a space available basis.

There is no charge for the event, but space is limited and advance registration is required. To register call WSU Clallam County Extension at 360-417-2279.

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