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Rogue Valley Granges show leadership on public policy

Two of our local Rogue Valley Granges continue to show civic pride and leadership by successfully writing resolutions that transform public policy on a number of timely and crucial issues.

With more than 4,000 members, one of the primary responsibilities of the Oregon State Grange is to write and pass policy resolutions that have the potential to become legislation on the local, state and national level. In recent years, many of our local resolutions have been adopted at the Oregon State Grange Annual Convention.

In 2019, Ashland’s Bellview Grange submitted 14 resolutions addressing pressing issues such as climate change, pesticide use, Josephine County’s right to be GMO-free, indigenous rights, health impacts from EMFs, and weather modification techniques. The Phoenix Grange submitted two resolutions encouraging beekeeping and zero waste practices. Bellview saw seven resolutions adopted at the state level, and both resolutions from the Phoenix Grange were adopted as well.

A total of 62 resolutions were passed during the 2019 state Grange convention addressing topics as diverse as removing fishing restrictions for non-native fish, veterans anti-discrimination rights, advocating for rural broadband and other issues concerning our communities.

The nine Granges that make up the Jackson County Pomona are proud to support local agriculture and the growers who continue to serve our community with sustainable and regenerative products and practices. We will continue to write and support resolutions and policies at the state and national Grange levels to help meet the needs of Oregon family farmers and the broader communities we serve, as illustrated by these important policy statements as adopted as Oregon State Grange resolutions in 2019. Visit http://orgrange.org/state-grange-information/ to read the 2019 Adopted Resolutions – Final to read these and others:

- Create a GMO-free agricultural district for Rogue Valley

- Prevent neonicotinoids from contaminating water sources

- Prohibit aerial herbicide spraying on state-owned forest lands

- Agricultural improvement through education about bees, regenerative beekeeping and forage

- Weather modification technologies

- Reduction of greenhouse gases

- Zero waste

- Prohibit use of glyphosate on public properties

- Support Josephine County resolution to ban GMO crops, seeds and trees

The Grange, officially known as the Order of Patrons of Husbandry, is a fraternal, non-partisan national organization with a rich history and mission rooted in community service. The National Grange was formed in 1867 to advocate for and protect family farmers; one of the first actions taken was the promotion of cooperatives in response to the warehouse companies, and growing railroad monopoly, and their control over agricultural commerce. In 1867, the Grange distinguished itself by being the first American lobbying body to give women an equal vote with men. The birth of the Extension Service, dramatic improvements in rural schools, and the Farm Credit System were in large part due to Grange lobbying.

Although the issues of today have changed, the Grange continues to represent the views and interests of rural residents and the agricultural community in the areas of farm programs, rural economic development, transportation, education, health and safety, veterans issues, the environment, and more. The Grange continues to provide community members with the opportunity to partake in one of the finest living examples of democratic grassroots activism.

We are excited that the 2020 Oregon State convention will be in Southern Oregon next year, hosted by the Klamath Falls Grange June 20-25 at the Klamath Falls Fairgrounds. We are encouraging all Grange members in Oregon to attend! What a great reason to join your local Grange now, and become involved in the many activities that support and serve your local community.

Our Jackson County Granges invite everyone to attend our monthly meetings. We are a family organization, which means youths and young adults are encouraged to attend, participate and have a voice as well. At 14 years of age, Grange members are given the right to vote. Come learn more about us and the work we are doing in the community. Visit http://orgrange.org/find-a-grange/ to find a list of the Grange nearest you.

Carmel Valencia is president of the Jackson County Pomona Grange #27.

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