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Around The Grange
USDA Visits California Grange

By Maureen Moore, Staff Writer, The Willits News, CA (8/4/10)

  AUGUST 7, 2010 --

On Monday, August 2, six representatives from the United States Department of Agriculture came to the Little Lake Grange in Willits, California, to see the kitchen project funded by the organization that was completed last spring.

The ribbon, officially opening the new community kitchen to bakers and county cooks, was cut in February. The massive restoration wouldn't have been possible without the $70,647 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act community facilities grant.

The kitchen enables Willits to continue localization efforts supported by many community members. The Grange has been featuring a 100-mile dinner with locally found goods; the first grain crop grown in Mendocino County is almost ready for harvest; and storage in silos behind the Grange and kitchen provide a commercial space for farmers to prepare food for long-term storage by freezing and canning, readying for delivery to the schools and to farmer's markets and for local business and bakers to prepare goods to be sold locally.

"The representatives were very impressed with our projects and our overall vision for food security for the schools, Willits and the rest of the county," said Grange President Karina McAbee.

The group, which included representatives from both the Washington, D.C., office and Sacramento office, were traveling from Davis to Crescent City to participate in a Northern California workshop.

USDA State Director Glenda Humiston, Deputy Administrator for the USDA Rural Utilities Service Jessica Zufolo, USDA Rural Development Community Programs Director Janice Waddell, USDA Rural Development Senior Outreach Manager Kathie Klass, USDA's Rural Development Public Information Coordinator Sarah Pursley, and USDA Area Specialist Ann Manos were in attendance, and presented McAbee with a certificate of appreciation.

McAbee noted an additional grant proposal is being readied for the USDA to help restore the Grange's bathrooms to make them ADA compliant, and to rewire the electrical system in the Grange's main hall.



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