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Home on the Grange

By Audra Carbone (Wilton Patch 4/25/10)

  MAY 8, 2010 --

The folks at Cannon Grange want you to have a positive impact on the planet by growing a vegetable garden.

To give Wiltonians a boost, members of Cannon Grange #152 will be exhibiting at the Wilton Go Green Festival, giving out seeds and tips on sustainable living.

"One way to reduce our carbon footprint is to plant a garden," said Cannon Grange Treasurer Don Offinger.

Growing your own fresh vegetables sets you on the green path; when you grow vegetables it puts nitrogen back into the ground. Also, at the end of the plant's life, the remains can be turned into compost. And if you need a pepper for that Spanish rice you are making for dinner, walking outside to pick one from your garden means not getting in your car and going to the store which uses fuel and pollutes the air we breathe.

"There is nothing better than eating locally," added Offinger, who grew up in Wilton on his family's farm and has been a member of the Cannon Grange since 1983.

These days Cannon Grange is generally a social club, especially for families, but it didn't start out this way. The Grange started just after the Civil War, when many farms were destroyed during the skirmishes in the South.

"Back then The Grange was for farm families to rebuild," said Offinger.

Local granges are offshoots of the National Grange, which is the nation's oldest agricultural organization. According to The National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry website, the National Grange has 2,700 grassroots units in 40 states since its inception in 1867.

Norfield, which is Westport and New Canaan's Grange, was established first and its members influenced Wilton to develop one as well. Wilton resident, Samuel Miller, formed Cannon Grange in May of 1899.

Cannon Grange is involved in a variety of philanthropic deeds and often donates to charities such as the Wilton EMS and the Helping Hands organization in Boston.

For the upcoming Wilton Go Green Festival, Cannon Grange will be giving away string bean seeds to get families outside and into the garden.

"String beans are both easy to grow and fun to watch," said Offinger.

You can even plant them in a pot if you do not have a full garden to sow them in. This isn't a raffle and you don't have to purchase anything to receive the packet of six seeds.

"It's a real giveaway with a benefit."

The Wilton Go Green Festival's website is www.wiltongogreenfestival.com.

More information on The National Grange can be found at www.nationalgrange.org and the local Cannon Grange's website is www.cannongrange.org.


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