My Grange Story
by Diane Johnson, President
I grew up on a small farm in Dabob, port of my grandfather's 1889 homestead (Washington Centennial Farm, 1989). Dad was a logger. My roots are deep in the land, forest, and the clear water of Tarboo Creek. I have always had a soft spot for small family farms and the people who eke out a living on them.
I remember square dance lessons for all Chimacum Junior High kids at the Grange. My old classmates sometimes remind me of the fun we had!
I left for college, graduate school, family, and career; was away for 30 years. In 1994 I cam home to my roots.
I served on a Citizen's Advisory Committee to the Jefferson County Planning Commission, in protest of potential changes to the Critical Area Ordinance (CAO) of the Comprehensive Plan that I felt would be ruinous to small scale local farms that count on every acre.
Disappointment with the resulting CAO led a group of us to seek a new voice in local decisions regarding agriculture. We discovered a Grange in need of renewal, and we took it on. I served on the Board of Directors for several terms.
I represented the Grange in Citizens for Local Food. Our first product was the Jefferson County Farm Survey. We found a healthy respect for conservation and a significant contribution of agriculture to the local economy.
I flipped burgers in the Grange Grill at the Farmers Market we started in the parking lot and ran a booth with children's activities.
Served as President. Diminishing attendance suggested that the Grange was losing relevance for the young farming community. Many new ag-oriented organizations competed for attention. We hired an Activities Coordinator who staged dances, music jams, a craft bazaar—all helped a little.
Last year, I put out a call to other ag organizations, the community, and our old members for help in rejuvenating the Grange and celebrating our 100th anniversary. I'm please to say many wonderful people have come forward, and the results are amazing!
The Grange has wonderful potential to add value to people's lives and have impact on shaping our world to make our rural community better. I am committed to seeing the Grange thrive into the future and hope you will join me!