Granges in Maine
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Name:        Maine State Grange

Address:    Maine State Grange

                   146 State Street

                   Augusta, Maine 04330

Phone:       207-623-3421




Products and Services:

-agricultural events

-agricultural education

-Maine Agriculture in the Classroom

-youth program

-community service

-agricultural scholarships

-sewing, baking, needlework contests

-photography and art contest

-reading program

-family health and hearing

What Makes The Granges in Maine Unique?

From the very early stages of the Unique Maine Farms’ project, it became apparent that Granges have played an important role in agricultural and rural development in Maine. The Grange holds the distinction of being the oldest sustained agricultural advocacy group in the country. While most of the profiles that are found in this farm project focus on a singular farm, the inclusion of a story about the history and offerings of an organization which has supported agriculture in the state of Maine for so many years seemed most appropriate. Granges were established throughout the state to promote agriculture and rural life and they have served as a significant resource for many farmers in Maine for over one-hundred-and-forty years. 

Stan Howe, the State Historian, provided a very interesting background of the history of the Grange in Maine on the Maine State Grange website:  According to Mr. Howe, there were Farmer’s Clubs in Maine in the 1850’s which were focused on agricultural and household concerns. After the Civil War, there was an attempt to unify farmers from the North and South and Grange groups began to develop and replace the Farmer’s Clubs throughout the country. 

The Grange, known as the Patrons of Husbandry, began in Maine in 1873, and the Maine State Grange was organized in Lewiston.  In 1874, around two thousand individuals were members of the sixty-four Granges in Maine.  Two years later in 1876, there was a significant increase as the number of Granges jumped to two-hundred-and twenty-eight with a bountiful membership of approximately twelve thousand individuals.

As time passed, the Granges became active in grassroots activism and legislative issues and educational reform.  They promoted education, libraries, and reading.  The concern for education and reading are still priorities in many Granges.  The Grange often provided a place to socialize for rural Mainers.  The Grange halls became a home to community suppers, dances, meetings, educational events, rallies, and theatrical performances.

The amount of people enrolled in the Granges in Maine skyrocketed in the first decade of the twentieth century.  In 1907, Maine had the highest per capita Grange membership in the entire country.  There were over fifty-five thousand members and over four hundred Granges in Maine at the time.  Women were warmly welcomed in the Grange and from the beginning days they enjoyed voting rights.  It is interesting to note that this sense of gender equality took hold in the Grange long before women were granted the right to vote in national elections in the United States in 1920.

Voting membership in the Grange begins at fourteen years of age and young Grange members can hold office and are encouraged to be a part of all the activities.

Participation in legislative issues and keeping abreast of agricultural developments has been at the forefront of many Granges in Maine.  The Grange is non-partisan; however, and does not endorse political candidates. The underlying concern for the support of farming has remained solid.  Over the years the Grange has formed a strong alliance with the Extension Service to educate farmers about new methods in agriculture.  Associations with the Farm Bureau and 4-H clubs have been fostered.  Through the proceeds from bean suppers and other fundraising endeavors, the Maine State Grange supported the Grange Cottage at Good Will Farm in Hinckley and the Maine Conservation Camp at Bryant Pond. The stewardship of America’s natural resources is included in the Grange’s mission.

With the decline in farming in Maine; the advancements in technology; a change in social trends; and a more mobile society, the enrollment in the Grange decreased in Maine.  There are now around one-hundred-and-eighty Granges in Maine with approximately eight hundred members.

It is quite remarkable to learn how many farming-related undertakings have been able to take place because they were welcome by the Granges in Maine.  Several indoor Farmers’ Markets exist in Maine during the winter months because Granges such as the Bangor Grange, Canaan Grange, Farmington Grange, and Topsham Grange allow the use of their Grange Hall and welcome the farmers and producers.  Many 4-H and Future Farmers of America groups have been able to function because they are able to hold their meetings in Grange facilities.

The Maine State Grange has supported the Maine Agriculture in the Classroom program for teachers.  Their support for education has also been demonstrated through their Boxtops for Education program, the Campbells Labels for Education project, and the Dictionary Project.

Visitors to the Maine State Grange website are kept up-to-date about agricultural issues.  In the past month, information has been shared on the website about such topics as the turkey virus in Maine and regulations for selling eggs in Maine. 

The Grange supports the passage of progressive legislation that benefits agriculture and rural America.  Local Granges can make decisions on legislative issues that may be independent of the Maine State Grange.  Many Maine Granges are turning their attention to the local food movement and local farming.

The Halcyon Grange #345 of Blue Hill recently enthusiastically voted to support  legislation being considered in Augusta called LD 475 - An Act to Increase Food Sovereignty in Communities. Halcyon Grange Master John Gandy sent the following letter to the clerk of the Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee:

Please find attached Halcyon Grange of Blue Hill’s Resolution For Food Sovereignty in support of LD-475. The members of the Blue Hill Grange feel strongly that individuals have the right to consume foods of their choice from sources of their choice and that government does not have the right to take that freedom from us. We value the wholesomeness of locally grown and produced food from our farm neighbors. Therefore, Halcyon Grange #345 of Blue Hill unanimously passed the attached resolution and authorized me as Master of the Grange to forward it to the Committee.

The Highland Lake Grange #87 of Westbrook has demonstrated a keen interest in promoting agricultural education.  Not only did they welcome a group of teachers from the Maine Agriculture in the Classroom course as guests to a bean supper in July 2012, they also have conducted agricultural programs.  In March 2013, five family farms spoke about their farm operations.  The issues facing farmers were discussed and power point presentations were shared.  Another farm program took place at the Highland Lake Grange #87 in April 2013, when Dr. Richard Brzowzowski from the Cooperative Extension Office of Cumberland County presented information on ways to extend the growing season in Maine.

The Guilford Grange partnered with the Piscataquis County University of Maine Extension and the Piscataquis County Soil and Water Conservation District to offer the GrowME Sprouts program.  This agricultural-related program involved making animal graphs, apple tasting and sorting, butter making, and making “dirt babies.”  The program wrapped up with the Eggstravaganza that was hosted by the Valley Grange.

An understanding of the amount of people that the Grange positively affects became very clear upon visiting the Fryeburg Fair.  It seemed as though all the Grange exhibits with the variety of vegetables, preserves, needlework, and agricultural displays were such exceptional representations of farming and rural living.  The large Exhibition Hall was filled with impressive displays of the produce and crafts of so many members of various Maine Granges.

The Maine Grange Store at the Fryeburg Fair was monitored by three Grange volunteers on the day when Unique Maine Farms visited. Pictures of their booth appear on this website.  The Maine Grange Store had some of the most beautiful vegetables and the plentiful and attractive assortment of a variety of handmade preserves demonstrated a great deal of effort.

Unique Maine Farms will be inviting Granges throughout the state of Maine to send photos of their Grange buildings and to share their agricultural-related news.  Many of the Grange buildings in Maine are historic treasures and it will be exciting to create a webpage to showcase pictures of these buildings.

The Maine State Grange welcomes new members in their work to support agriculture.  The Granges have a long history in grassroots activism and community service that has contributed greatly to farming and the rural fabric of Maine. Individuals interested in learning more about all their programs should

access the Maine State Grange website:

Lake GrangeGranges_-_Highland.html
of Some
Grange Buildings

Posing for a picture at the Maine Grange Store at the 2012 Fryeburg Fair were from left:  Ann Burns from Maple Grove Grange # 148 of Sebago; Robert Fitch from Mt. Etna Grange 47 of Baldwin, and Ellen Heigham of Maple Grove Grange #148 of Sebago.

The Maine Grange Store at the Fryeburg Fair

Farmington Grange

Farmington Winter Farmers’ Market at the Farmington Grange Hall

Maine State Grange Cookbooks

Halcyon Grange #345 of Blue Hill

Cheerful helpers at the Highland Lake Grange supper that was hosted for the Maine Agriculture in the Classroom group of teachers

Comic books about the Grange for children were distributed at the Fryeburg Fair.

Grange #12Granges_-Farmington.html

Ruth Van Sickle of Paugus Grange #540 and Cumberland and Oxford Union Pomona #21