History

The Rockford Grange #501 was established in 1913 and when the current Grange building was built in 1921 it was listed as the largest Grange in the state of Oregon. This Grange, #501, has had many names during its 100 years, including Park Grange and West Hood River Grange- at one time there were over 200 active Grange members.

Since WWII rural life and subsequently the Grange have been on the decline as people left the country for urban areas. Many Granges during this period were lost and the Granges that remain question where they fit into modern culture. The Rockford Grange believes that bringing families and neighbors together is of enduring value to people, and the spaces where we gather are to be protected. The roots of the Grange is agriculture and in our modern way we honor that by reviving a culture of food, by hosting Potlucks with Grange members, hosting Seed Saving workshops, partnering with Gorge Grown on a Farmer Film Series and more. Join us. Become a member and together we will nurture community in Hood River.

 

Hood River and Beyond

The Grange is a family, community organization with its roots in agriculture. The original Grange was founded in 1867, formed as a national organization with a local focus. Granges, including Rockford, were instrumental in bringing needed services to rural areas, such as postal service, utilities, farm supplies (Montgomery Ward & Grange Supply became Hood River Supply), rural fire protection, state agriculture schools such as OSU and their Extension services, 4H and FFA- and the list goes on.

The Grange has four levels, Community, County or District, State, and National. Our local membership sets the direction and activities for the Community Grange in true grassroots fashion, and those decisions seep up to the national level.

 

Meet your Grange Officers

 
 
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Master, Overseer 

Karen Harding

Karen’s specialty crop is children…along with her husband Keith she is a longtime Child Care provider in the Hood River Valley. Food is a big part of the curriculum at their home, and forest, oriented day care. Where our food comes from, what are it’s qualities, how do the nutrients help our bodies, as well as gratitude for Mother Earth, the farmers, plants, soil, Sun and rain, are all regular conversations during the meals they serve.

Karen first fell in love with the Rockford Grange building, and its amazing hardwood dance floor. She has shared 27 years worth of Mid Columbia Folklore Society 2nd Saturday dances there with her family. When the call went out in 2011 for new members for the Rockford Grange, the Hardings signed up. A strong populist history, events and rituals that celebrate the seasonal, agricultural community, and our resourceful, worthy, Grange family make her proud, and humble, to serve as Rockford’s Grange Master.

 
 
 
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VICE PRESIDENT

Becki Montgomery

 

 
 
 
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Steward

Tom Hons

 
 
 
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Chaplain

Keith Harding

Keith hails from New England by way of Alaska. He grew up near Granite Grange #7 in New Hampshire, playing ball games in it’s yard. He has a fond memory of the custodian replacing the windows, rather than forbidding the kids access. The Health of people, forests and planet keeps him passionate about life in the Hood River Valley, mid-Columbia watersheds. Besides nurturing children at StarShine ChildLife Habitat, he as served on various Forest Service collaborative groups, the Justice/Witness team and council member for Riverside Community Church UCC, the Mid-Columbia FolkLore Society board, the HRC Library board, the Columbia River Peace Fellowship board, a founding member of a HR men’s world concerns discussion group, Columbia Riverkeeper -especially focused on the Hanford clean up, coaching of Community Ed soccer and Baseball teams, as well as a founding member of Waucoma (democratic) School, when his kids were young.

Serving as Rockford Grange Chaplain gives Keith a place to share his vision and concern for our beloved planet within the Grange community.

 

 
 
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SECRETARY

Bonnie Cox

Bonnie has been a grange member for __ years and is a key player in organizing many of our events. Bonnie Cox moved to Hood River from the Willamette Valley where she worked in various agricultural extension projects with area vegetable farmers and also farmed organically with a friend. Her two years of Peace Corps work in Bolivia further developed her interests in community development and marketing as she trained farmers in modern beekeeping methods and helped them get their new products to market.

 
 
 
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Webmaster and Treasurer

Howard Cohen

Howard has been a Grange member since 2017 and brings his IT and Program Management skills to the Grange. Prior to joining the Grange he was the leader of the Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council, a non-profit group dedicated to enhance and preserve the trail system, promote public awareness and build, monitor and maintain trails with various government agencies. When Howard isn’t running ultra marathons, he and his wife Jeanne con be found on their flower farm in Hood River and have been learning what it takes to be a farmer.