Since 1867, rural American farmers have had the National Grange helping to promote the interests and needs of farmers nationwide. The Sammamish Valley Grange, located at 14654 148th Avenue NE, south of downtown Woodinville and just a few doors north of the Hollywood Schoolhouse, was established in 1909 to do just that for local farmers.
Through the years, the Sammamish Valley Grange’s focus has fluctuated to meet the demands of its members, but recently the grange’s 60 members made a commitment to return the grange’s focus to local farmers and agriculture.
Eric Clark, Grange master for Sammamish Valley Grange, likens the new focus and purpose of the grange to an agricultural club.
“Most projects, programs and activities will be agriculturally based, with the exception of continuing to help support children attending a summer camp,” he said.
The grange is actively seeking new members interested in agriculture. “People who join will have resources to the local agricultural community,” he said.
According to the Sammamish Valley Alliance website, King County has designated approximately 1100 acres of farmland, which is available for cultivation in the Agricultural Production District along the Sammamish Valley.
It is estimated 22 million pounds of fresh food could be produced within the Agricultural Production District using top production methods.
The grange members meet the first and third Wednesday of each month at 7 p.m. The focus of the first Wednesday meetings is an educational presentation on an agricultural topic, with the third Wednesday meeting focused on grange business.
In addition to twice monthly meetings, the grange is active in sponsoring nonprofits with an agricultural focus, including a local 4-H sheep club, the Sammamish Valley Alliance and Farms for Life, an organization that distributes fresh produce to food banks. “Our major community service goal is to connect local food to those who need it the most,” Clark said. In fact, all grange activities will try to be tied together with an agricultural focus from now on, he added.
Ron Baum, a board member for the Sammamish Valley Alliance, of which the Sammamish Valley Grange is a member, likens the SVA to a small chamber of commerce promoting agricultural products. “We’re trying to bring the city people and farming people together,” Baum said, referring to the organization’s events like their Celebrate Spring event Mother’s Day weekend, Celebration of Lavender and the Arts on July 11-13, and their Fall Harvest Celebration planned for September 26-28.
If interested in joining the Sammamish Valley Grange, call Eric Clark at (206) 930-5572.
For more information about Sammamish Valley Alliance events, visit www.sammamishvalley.org.