Listen to the entire interview with Mary-Nell Bockman: Listen with NCPR Player.
The century-old building, once a hub for the local farming community, is seeing a rebirth as one of the area’s cultural destinations.
Volunteers have spent years raising money, and sweat equity, to save the structure. The last stages of renovation are underway, and organizers are turning their attention to programming. Mary-Nell Bockman is one of the volunteers bringing the old grange back to life. She’s program manager for the site, and told Todd Moe that the next goal is reinventing it as a year-round center of activity for the hamlet of Whallonsburg and the Champlain Valley. (NCPR News)
Highlights of the Interview
Mary-Nell Bockman explains the beginning of the Grange’s renovation and how it grew to again become a hub of community activity!
Volunteers started out just trying to save the historic Grange building, but decided that they needed to engage the community and add life and excitement to the area. Credit to their success is that the Whallonsburg Grange has grown into it by trying different events and activities to see what works and is popular with the public. The Grange puts on a multitude of events (lecture, dances, classes) related to the arts, music, history, nature, and more!
When something does prove popular, the Grange brings back that event or similar ones to ensure that the community in happy and remains involved. The variety of programs “make the place hum” and really fills this old building with new life.
Coming up soon is the Grange’s next lyceum series, which will have lectures stemming from the focus of “Land and Labor: The Past, Present and Future of Farming in America.”
The Grange Community Kitchen was an important renovation from the beginning. The volunteers felt that the Grange really needed an anchor and a way to give back to the community. CSAs and other farms in the area are providing locals with fresh produce, and so classes are taught to give members of the community the know-how to preserve and use fresh foods that has become lost in this recent generation of pre-packaged foods. It is a hope the the kitchen will draw many to it as canning center in the summer.