Ojai CITRUS HAPPENINGS next weekend!

posted April 19, 2016

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Hey Greenhorns…What is the Future of Citrus? Have you been wondering? We’re sponsoring two great events this weekend in Ojai related to this question.
 
Saturday 23rd April
2pm Community Rights Workshop at Oak Grove School
with Javan Briggs
Sunday 24th April
2pm Citrus Grafting working at Poco Farm
with John Valenzuela RSVP HERE.
Specifically, we’re asking:
All these commodity oranges that grow in our valley, where to they go?
Can our region afford to water these trees?
What is in all these spraying regimes?
What is the history of the Sunkist cooperative and how can the industry adapt to drought?
What is the future of citrus in southern California?
Join Greenhorns special guests to discuss and explore the future of fruit 
from an ecological, community health, and resilience perspective.
We will learn how to organize to protect ourselves from poison drift
We will learn how to graft citrus trees from one variety to another.
We will discuss strategies other drought-stricken regions have used to adapt to new conditions.
 
Events are FREE! and scheduled to align with Ojai Earth Day at Oak Grove School
where international eco-hero Vandana Shiva will be speaking.
MORE DETAILS AFTER THE BREAK//

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before bernie sanders: a 19th century populist’s run for the presidency

posted November 25, 2015

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We are nearing a serious crisis. If the present strained relations between wealth owners and wealth producers continue much longer they will ripen into frightful disaster. This universal discontent must be quickly interpreted and its causes removed. It is the country’s imperative Call to Action, and cannot be longer disregarded with impunity.

 

So begins the preface to A Call to Action—the 1892 political manifesto by James Baird Weaver, the People’s Party’s candidate for president that same year.

The “crisis” Weaver was referring to got its start 19 years earlier, when post-war inflation and wild financial speculation (particularly on the part of those trying to cash in on the seemingly ceiling-less railroad industry) resulted in the Panic of 1873, which triggered industrial capitalism’s first global depression. Employment and wages plummeted as American companies defaulted on $1 billion of debt. The collapse, which would be felt for decades, left many, including Weaver, vehemently opposed to monopolies and critical of banking industry policies.

To read more, click HERE!


state of the maine grange

posted October 25, 2015

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STATE OF THE GRANGE
by Mary Pols
Originally Posted on the Portland Press Herlad

This week, the Maine State Grange holds its annual conference in Skowhegan.

What, you didn’t know?

Once upon a time, you absolutely would have known, because Grange was an integral part of Maine rural life, a gathering place for farmers and community members to share news, information and concerns. If you worried about being able to afford insurance or being ripped off by the railroad monopolies taking your agricultural products out of Maine, or just wanted to slough off your cares by going to a dance, you turned to the Grange. It did cooperative buys on insurance and seeds, lobbied Washington on your behalf and could always be relied on to feature a big empty room with a fine dance floor.

The ritual heavy, Christian-oriented and unusually progressive Grange (female members got the vote long before the rest of American women did) was the original Facetime for farmers. Or rather, “Grange.” Like Farm Bureau, Grange hardly needed an article. But consider this: The 2015 Maine State Grange conference is not being held at Skowhegan Grange, because declining membership caused that to close several years ago, although the building was saved and is being rehabbed.

There are two trends in Maine Granges. One is positive: Young or younger farmers are taking an interest in revitalizing the institution, fixing up old buildings; adding bathrooms where there were none; hosting farmers markets and contra dances; sharing Grange space with entertainment, as at the Wayside Grange and Theatre in Dexter; and returning to the cooperative model for better buying power for local farmers, hobby or hard-core, as at the Halcyon Grange in North Blue Hill.

But the second trend, the negative one, are Granges shutting for lack of membership, and that decline still outweighs the positive.

Read the whole article at the Portland Press Herald!


maine grange halls

posted October 18, 2015

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Photographer, Rose Marasco, has developed a large collection of photographs of the aging Grange halls of Maine. The halls in her photographs are at once regal relics of the past and a little spooky, leaving us both nostalgic and slightly unsettled by their slight disrepair. See a sampling of the collection on her website.

A limited number of signed exhibition catalogues are available and includes essays by Frank Gohlke, photographer and Elspeth Brown, historian. To purchase a copy for $20. + $5. shipping. Please contact Rosa at info@rosemarasco.com if you would like one.


history of the grange wars

posted June 15, 2015

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West Coast Grange Wars:
A Reborn Farmers’ Movement Takes on Corporate Agriculture
By John Collins, Rural America In These Times

As more and more grocery shoppers refuse to write-off the origins of their food as some unsolvable whodunit, a network of sustainability minded, locally oriented farmers are working to connect those people to calories from known sources.  For such farmers, and those in the communities that support them, the local Grange is a well-established ally.

Jay Sexton is Master at Mary’s River Grange #685 in Philomath, Oregon. A member of that Grange for six years, he is also the current director of the Oregon State Grange Agriculture Committee, working to advance Grange policies and promote agriculture awareness. Reminding the general public that we all depend on agriculture for the food we eat has been no small part of the organization’s mission for the last 148 years.

“The Grange has an interesting history,” says Sexton, “not just with the ups and downs of membership, but with how closely it’s been tied to big agriculture.”

In recent years, a rift has emerged between some state and local Granges and the national organization. New farmers with progressive ideas regarding the future of agriculture—organic farming practices, an end to the use of GMOs, environmentally beneficial land use—are clashing with the National Grange over its support of industrial agribusiness.

Like many advocacy organizations headquartered in Washington D.C., the National Grange is politically cautious. In the Beltway, severing ties with large, technology-driven farming operations—biting the hand that feeds—is a tough sell.

“Grange policy is very clear in that we support all of agriculture,” says Ed Lutrell, president of the National Grange. “We believe that production agriculture is important to the world—it’s feeding millions of people. Local, small-market agriculture is equally as important because what the American consumer is demanding is locally grown, wholesome, safe food. We’re in complete support of that process as well.”

But those active in the new farming movement, keenly aware of the environmental perils of BigAg and champions of a wacky notion that places sustainability ahead of profit, could not care less about being cautious.

Neither could many Grangers who came before them. Continue full article here.


the west coast grange wars

posted June 14, 2015

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On one hand you have an established order that, while quick to conjure its Populist origins, appears threatened by the kind of grassroots change it once championed. On the other, a contingent of rogue Grangers—progressives decidedly less interested in nostalgia than their national counterpart—attempting to breathe new life into an aging system that doesn’t seem to want the CPR.

The Grange, once a longstanding institution in American rural and agrarian communities, stands poised for a revival after decades of increasing obsolescence– expect that it’s at war with itself.

In a captivating article feature on In These Times, John Collins takes on the history of The Grange, the recent polemical schism between the California Grange and the national organization, and Grange Future— an initiative co-founded by the Greenhorns.