New Blood Sparks Identity Crisis for Fraternal Group of Farmers
–Jeff Brady, NPR, June 14, 2013.
Lots of passionate people are taking up farming these days, motivated by frustration with industrial farming, concerns about the environment, and a desire to build community and local food markets. Some of these new farmers have joined the Grange, a long-established fraternal organization for farmers with roots in social activism.
In Oregon, Granges dominated by this new generation have banded together in a coalition dubbed “Green Granges,” which work together to advance the issues they care about.
You would think that would be good news for the Grange, a group whose membership peaked in the 1870s at 2 million and has been struggling to draw new blood in recent years. But these “Green Grangers” are creating an identity crisis for the organization, which has long been made up of older, more conservative farmers.