The Order of Patrons of Husbandry, generally known as The Grange, was a radical populist movement that formed in opposition to monopolistic corporate capitalism, commercialized agriculture, and the rampant political corruption in the later half of the Nineteenth century. Grangers opposed both monopolistic corporations and their middlemen as detrimental concentrations of resources and the power it creates. This they reasoned would result in a society that degraded the producer, violated the public good, and undermined the republic.
Over a century later, this situation not only persists, it thrives - fueled by dwindling supplies of non-renewable and toxic fossil fuels. The coming years will see increased energy costs, which will dramatically affect the cost of most of our commodities, as much of their price depends on how much it costs to ship. This “centralized” approached to our daily needs is flawed and is already failing, as it is based on non-renewable resources, planned obsolescence and unsustainable growth.
However, society as a whole, is slowly moving towards a re-localization paradigm, even if many in industry fail to recognize it, or actively oppose it. We see this in our grocery stores with the ever-expanding range of local organic produce; Or in the increase in vibrant Farmer’s Markets and in the creative ingenuity of many of our rural citizens. Our society has grown up around the paradigm of cheap energy and rapid mobility. This is changing no matter what anyone feels about it one way or the other. Many of us feel that the Grange should accept this changing paradigm, and become a major player and even leader in rural communities in transition.