The Crescent Grange in Broomfield, Colo., hosted an open house this afternoon in honor of National Grange Month. The festivities featured music from the two-man band Diamonds in the Rough, brochures about Grange membership, a living history presentation and fashion show, and an art project for children. They also highlighted the Grange’s community garden and its recent interior renovations, completed in large part through current partnerships with The Refuge and Anchored Life faith communities, which use the Grange facility for weekly services.
Before their membership declined and their facilities fell into disrepair starting in the 1960s and ’70s, grange organizations nationwide were important local community centers, hosting everything from dances to dinners to advocacy meetings for farmers. More recently, in places like Broomfield and Las Lomas, Calif., local stakeholders and a new generation of grangers have been resurrecting their facilities and their role in cooperative efforts at conservation, youth leadership and community service.
New Grange member Mike Herzog says, “I’m excited that this building can be used to benefit the community of Broomfield…especially for people who are marginalized.”
While the Crescent Grange is part of the Colorado State Grange and the National Grange, it is actively looking to enhance its local partnerships in areas like up-scale recycling and agricultural education.
“This is such an amazing place in Broomfield,” says member Beverly Yates, who serves as the Crescent Grange’s “overseer” or vice president. “It has such potential as a community focal point.”
Since the Grange was originally created to help those who grew food for the community, Yates points to the Grange’s community garden, also known as its “demonstration farm” or its “experimental horticultural environment.”
“We plant for the future here,” she says. “Our goal in 15 years is that the nut and fruit trees we plant will be bearing fruit for generations to come.”