Grange practices old traditions in modern times

By Tony Cagala

Grange Hall members Bernadette Faust, treasurer; Cathy Pritchard, gate keeper and executive committee member; Sandra Wolfe, secretary; and Jacqueline Wolfe, master, welcome the public to learn more about the organization during their open house on Saturday. Sentinel photo/Tony Cagala

Grange Hall members hosted an open house Saturday to generate interest in the history of the hall, to find new members and to let people know that they are not a church.

“We are the patrons of husbandry,” said Sandra Wolfe, secretary of the Ramona Grange. “We are an agricultural club. We promote agriculture. In the olden days, this is where the farmers would meet.”

They meet on the third Saturday of every month at 10 a.m., and everyone is welcome, Wolfe said. And you don’t need to know the password, she added.

The meetings are overseen by a master, not a president, and other formal posts created when the organization began in 1847. The Ramona Grange organization still incorporates all of the traditional titles and opening procedures when opening their meetings.

“The grange is about the oldest club that ever allowed women an equal vote,” Wolfe said.

“Women vote and youth vote, and you’re a youth until you’re 42 in grange.”

The grange is open to men, women and children.

“When you become a member of the grange, you’re a full-fledged member, as an adult, as a child you have a vote, and not just that, you have an opinion,” said Wolfe.

Grange supporters are working to pass a law to allow backyard chickens. Some of the other issues they’ve addressed include trying to stop genetically modified seeds that include pesticides in them. The grange also required semi-trucks to have mud flaps through a bill, and was able to repeal the tax on red diesel gasoline, which is used in many recreational off-road vehicles.

“There’s not a lot of agriculture still going on in Ramona, but there are a lot of backyard farmers...so we’re trying to get a lot more of that here,” Wolfe explained.

The history of the club is rich and members hope to one day turn the hall into an agricultural museum of Ramona.

“The history is just amazing,” Wolfe said. “There’s so much agriculture history here...the building’s been here for a long, long time, and I’m hoping we can keep it here for a very long time.”

They have about 20 members in the grange and they are always accepting new members. The only requirements for joining include being a citizen in good standing and knowing an existing member who will serve as a sponsor and be willing to promote agriculture.

For more information, call 760-788-7854.

   
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