The Grange Movement

The Ohio headquarters of the Ohio Grange in Frederickstown, Ohio. Photo by Ivory Harlow.

The Grange Movement began in the 1860’s as a grassroots effort to improve conditions for farmers in the Midwest. The original Grangers were led by Oliver Kelley, a farmer and agent for the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. Kelley’s goal was to organize farmers to gain greater influence in the industry, bargaining, and purchasing power that would allow them to compete against oppressive monopolies. Grangers purchased machinery and built infrastructure such as grain elevators. They lobbied government for regulatory change to support their operations.

Grange Halls popped up in rural communities across America. The halls were a gathering place for business, civic, and political meetings and also became hubs for social, cultural, and community events.

“Gift for the Grangers,” an 1873 print promoting the Grange. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Ohio History Central notes that the National Grange was the first male-dominated organization to empower females to become full-fledged members. Youth also actively participated in Grange membership. The modern FFA grew out of the Grange Movement.

The National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry still exists today. Their mission is to build strong communities through fellowship, service, and advocacy. There are chapters in 37 States; over 150,000 rural members nationwide.

Watch this video from the National Grange to learn more about the organization.

 

References

National Grange Commercial. National Grange. YouTube. Dec 2, 2009.

“Our Roots.” (n.d.). National Grange Order of the Patrons of Husbandry. Retrieved from https://www.nationalgrange.org/about-us/history/