Here’s what some Grangers are up to in 2020!

Petaluma’s Biotic Brands navigates COVID-19 challenges while giving back to Sonoma County

Biotic Brands

Granger Victoria Johnston’s family is finding ways to give back through their company Biotic Brands, which makes healthy Kvass beverages. For every Biotic bottle bought locally at Oliver’s Market or Community Market, the company will donate another one to Redwood Empire Food Bank, where demand for the nonprofit’s sustenance has grown almost 200% during the economic crisis brought on by the pandemic. Read the article in the Press Democrat Dec. 11.

 

Sakiko Pizzorno

Sakiko Pizzorno earns her Black Belt in Judo

After 4 years of hard work, Sebastopol Grange member Sakiko Pizzorno recently received her Black Belt in Judo.

At 16, she is one of the youngest judokas (one who studies Judo) in her dojo to have received her Black Belt. Only half of this year’s judokas who tested for their Black Belt passed the scrutiny of the 15 judge panel.

Congratulations Sakiko!

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Grangers collect food for The Redwood Empire Food Bank

Grange food drive

Grangers and friends collected lot of food at the Grange Hall on Saturday, Dec. 6! Grange Secretary Carol Henderson delivered 20 boxes and bags stuffed with groceries along with a check for $75. Pictured are Mary Helen Franze, Carol Henderson, and Dot Janson.

The next Food Drive at the Grange will be on on Thursday, Jan. 14th from 10am-4pm.

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Sebastopol Grange on the radio!

Laura Shafer talks about the Grange on the radio

Sebastopol Grange President Laura Shafer talked about the Grange on the anniversary of the organization’s founding in 1867 on KOWS community radio on December 4th. She was interviewed by Arnold Levine on his show, Tommy’s Holiday Camp. You can listen to the show online.

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Home Gardener Produce Exchange/Donation returns

Produce exchange

 

What:  Join us again for our local project to redistribute homegrown produce and eliminate food waste.  It is an opportunity to trade surplus items from your garden for something you don’t have.  You may also bring produce that you have gleaned (with permission of course) from a neighbor’s yard.  Plant starts are welcome for sharing and trading.  At the end of the exchange period, all left over produce will be donated to a food recovery partner.

Update: This year, we’ll be wearing face masks and keeping at least a 6-foot distance between each of us. Please put on clean gloves or sanitize your hands prior to unloading your starts/produce and when you are packed up to leave the exchange. Please follow the directions of the exchange host when putting out your starts/produce and when looking for items you would like to take.
We encourage gardeners to plant extra so that we are able to donate produce throughout the season to our local food pantries and community members who are in need of healthy food.

Where:  The Sebastopol Grange  6000 Sebastopol Rd/Hwy 12

When:  5:00 – 5:45 pm on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays – May 26 through October 27.

Dates:  May 26, June 9, June 23, July 14, July 28, Aug 11, Aug 25, Sept 8, Sept 22, Oct 13, Oct 27

Contact:  Dena at dena@rahus.org or 707-484-5703

Non-Gardener Participants:  Let’s talk- maybe volunteering your time, not your produce is what works for you.

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Song Circle featured Holistic Resistance

Song Circle

The Sebastopol Grange had one of its most well attended Song Circles on January 31st, with nearly 90 people in attendance, from children to elders. Our songleaders were cousins Aaron Johnson and Porsha Beed who make up a team of change makers called Holistic Resistance, a group who has dedicated their lives to dismantling racism through reaching for each other and building relationships via song circles, programs and workshops. These good folks are all heart and soul and many people left that evening saying it was one of the best singing experiences they’ve ever had. We will definitely be having them back again!

Song Circle

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Carbon Conversations: Regenerative Agriculture:  A Natural Climate Solution

Notes from the workshop held at the Grange on 15 January 2020

The website, drawdown.org, is where Project Drawdown has compiled the top 80 solutions to climate change.  Regenerative Agriculture is their #11 solution.

Speaker: Lauren Lum—California Climate and Agriculture Network (CalCAN)

Lauren comes from a background of farming in Vacaville with large scale conventional agriculture.  She reflected on both the joy of growing up in the farming lifestyle, but also the hardship for her family to make a living.

Impacts of Climate change

Agronomic impacts:

  • Drought/flood cycles
  • Erratic and extreme weather
  • New pests & diseases
  • Decreased chill hours
  • Subsidence

Economic, health and social

  • Reduced yields
  • Job losses
  • Farmworker health
  • Public health

CalCAN is a coalition working on policy for sustainable agriculture.

Current Greenhouse Gas Targets for California

Reduce 40% below 1990 levels by 2030

Carbon Neutral by 2045

Agriculture’s Climate Solutions:

  • Create the farm as a whole system.
  • Healthy soil—build up the nutrients, feed microbes.
  • Keep soil covered and minimize disruption.
  • Year-round planting—keep more roots in the ground.
  • Biodiversity & Conservation Planting– Example: Owl boxes to minimize rodents.
  • Water & Energy—water is contained better when there is better soil/irrigation is more efficient.
  • Farmland Conservation—1 acre of urban land emits 70x the greenhouse gases as an acre of farmed land.

Climate Smart Ag Programs

4 programs where farmers can get money to support regenerative practices:

  • Sustainable Ag Lands Conservation Program
  • Healthy Soils Programs
  • State Water Efficiency & Enhancement Program
  • Alternative Manure Management Program

These programs are Cap-and-Trade funded.  California is the only state with a Cap-and-Trade program.

Governor Newsom is proposing different options for future funding for climate work and resilience, so we need to continue to exert political pressure to make sure that funding continues for ag programs.

Ways to get involved

  • Vote
  • Support your local farmer
  • Work with your local Resource conservation District. Sonoma Resource Conservation District.  (707) 569-1448/ Gold Ridge Conservation District (707) 823-5244
  • Work with Daily Acts to convert your landscape.

Speaker: Elizabeth Kaiser from Singing Frogs Farm

Elizabeth and her family have been doing no till farming for about 10 years. They farm 2.5 acres of fields on an 8-acre parcel at Ferguson and Mill Station Rd. in the Atascadero valley bottom where it is quite cool.  They have been farming for 14 years.  They grow food for CSA members and farmers markets.  98% sold locally.

Soil Organic Matter

Soil is made of minerals, air and water (95%).  What is alive is the 5% consisting of organisms, roots, and humus.  It is important because that is where the biology is in the soil.

Tillage is one of the major practices that reduces the organic matter level in the soil. Tillage increases surface area and the organic matter is blown off.

At their farm they have increased the soil health by increasing the percentage of soil organic matter to 9 or 10 %.

Managing for soil health

  1. Disturb the soil as little as possible.
  2. Keep living plants in the soil as often as possible. (photosynthesis, re-synthesis, exudation, humification). They get 3-8 sequential economic crops per year per bed.
  3. Grow many different species—crop diversity (flowers/perennials.)
  4. Keep the soil covered all the time.
  5. Incorporate animals and think outside the livestock box! (wild animals)

Go from one photosynthesizing plant to another photosynthesizing plant.

Three Principles of their farm: No Till– Be Intensive—Be Ecological

Healthy soils give the resilience to all of the disasters be it flooding, drought, fire because of the ability of the soil to retain water and air.  Recovery is quicker in healthy soils.

She referenced the ETC Group or Action group on Erosion, Technology and Concentration and a report they put out called, “Who will feed us?” (etcgroup.org) and the result of their findings is that small scale agriculture is what is needed, so we need to do everything we can to support small farmers.

 

Respectfully submitted by Carol Henderson

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The Grange celebrates a new year at our Inaugural Ball!

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New President Laura Shafer accepted the gavel from Jeanna Collet as we celebrated the promise of a new year at our January 28th potluck meeting!

Grangers presented outgoing president Jeanna with a basket of appreciation, a lime tree for the front of the Grange and a six-month membership to Coaches Corner Gym was given to Jeanna.

Laura encouraged us to ask: What can I do? What am I willing to do? to make the community a better place.

Photos by Dorothy Morgan.

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Grange recognized for 120 years of service

Grange wins award

 

Grange awardVice President Hrieth Pezzi, outgoing President and Co-Lecturer Jeanna Collet, Treasurer and Co-Lecturer Gary Abreim and President Laura Shafer accept a Certificate of Recognition for the Sebastopol Grange’s 120 years of service to the Grange and to our community, awarded by Hessel Grange President Vince Scholten.

Gary was also awarded a pin for his service as State Grange Treasurer. Congrats to the Sebastopol Grange!

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Community Sing with Mamuse and Debbie Nargi-Brown was a joyful event!

On December 10th we had a sold out Community Sing with local song leaders Mamuse and Debbie Nargi-Brown of Santa Cruz. About 100 people came out on a rainy Tuesday night to join hearts and voices in song. We had a wonderful connective time and most people left with big smiles on their faces. Community Singing brings a lot of joy! Big thanks to the Grange for making this event possible.

Megan Eberhardt

Granger member and Song Circle leader

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Support for our neighbors encamped on The Joe Rodota Trail

Dec. 1, 2019

A message from long-time Grange officer Gary Abreim:

KayLynne and I have recently gotten involved with some folks who are serving the encampment community on the Rodota Trail.  Last weekend there was a major cleanup and many loads of trash were taken to the dump. Today toilet paper, ponchos, gloves and plastic tubs to keep possessions dry were given along with tamales and soup.

The Roberts sisters, Rochelle and Jillian, were able this week to get 8 porta potties placed.  It’s truly a labor of loving service and more voices are speaking out for permanent shelter.  With these storms they are hoping to create some temporary shelter too.

The sisters have an inspiring commitment and also carry the financial load.  They created a gofundme site – Funds for the Less Fortunate – four days ago with a $5000 goal.

[Gary proposed to the Grange Executive Committee that the Grange donate $300, which was enthusiastically approved. He invites Grangers and friends who want to help to contribute to the fund]

I also encourage you to visit the trail and meet the residents and see if you get called to support our houseless community in some way.   If you meet Rochelle or Jillian let them know you are from the Grange.  At some point we might want to do a fund raiser event with them.

The group has a Facebook page – Sonoma County Acts of Kindness – where you can read about ways to help.
Gary Abriem
Let’s take them over the $5000 goal!

It’s becoming ever more clear that there is no them…..just us.

 

 

Gary

 

 

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