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Lunenburg Grange Looking to Re-establish Chapter

October 9, 2018

LUNENBURG -- The town is on track to revive its Grange chapter nearly a decade after its previous one closed down.

“They’re still in the early stages of figuring out what they want their club to look like ... but things have been moving fast,” said Christopher Szkutak, legislative director for the Massachusetts State Grange.

To re-establish the chapter, 13 people interested in organizing the group will need to sign paperwork with the state group, he said. This is expected to happen at a Nov. 2 meeting, which would make the chapter official.

Lunenburg’s chapter closed in 2009. Declining membership is the reason why most chapters close, Szkutak said.

A couple months ago, a member from the Sterling chapter who lives in Lunenburg gave the state Grange the contact information for Matthew Allison, the chairs of the town’s Agricultural Commission, Szkutak said.

Allison, who has not available for comment, has been spearheading the effort to bring the Grange chapter back and has been reaching out to residents.

As part of that effort, Szkutak and officials from the state Grange came to the library at the end of September to meet with residents.

He said about 20 people attended to learn about what action to take to reinstate the town’s chapter and about the organization.

Once the chapter is set up, people from Lunenburg and the surrounding area who are older than 14 can apply to join, Szkutak said. There would also be elections for officers.

He will work with the members to help get the chapter going with meetings and programming.

The Grange was founded in 1857 after the Civil War to be an organization for farmers. Nationwide, there are more than 300,000 members in 37 states.

Not all members are farmers now, but the organization has the same principles of hosting events that bring people together and help them learn about agriculture, Szkutak said.

Chapters have programming relating to agriculture, like food preservation and gardening. Also are involved in community service.

There are nearly 50 Grange chapters across the state. The closest ones to Lunenburg are in Sterling, Groton, and Pepperell.

The State Grange oversees the chapters, but they have a level of autonomy for the type of programming and community service they offer, Szkutak said.

“Every Grange does what’s right for their community,” he said.

Follow Mina on Twitter @mlcorpuz.

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