Projects - Grange Farm School

California State Grange Center for Agricultural Arts

  • Projects

Grange Farm School has a thrilling opportunity to draw from the deep well of knowledge contained in our agrarian elders while at the same time inspiring innovation and providing a platform for experimentation.

The Grange Farm School is proud to provide the space for progressive projects related to sustainability. Community groups or individuals with a specific interest have been instrumental in developing some of our related programming and we encourage collaboration with likeminded groups. Here is a brief synopsis of the projects we are working on:

Streambank Stabilization

In conjunction with NRCS and MRCD, the Grange Farm School is working to rehabilitate the habitat surrounding the stream running to the East of our field. A 100 foot setback is preserved for native plantings and streambank engineering, and the riparian habitat is expected to take over after several years of propagation, planting, and protection.

Beneficial Insect Planting

A 3 foot buffer surrounding our fields will be planted in herbaceous, flowering plants to attract beneficial insects and pollinators. By providing a habitat conducive to pollinators, we are benefitting our own crops as well as the surrounding ecology.

Student Housing

With plans underway to host up to 10 students at a time, we are busy building the infrastructure for student life. Ten platforms will be built into the side of our knoll and each will be topped with a canvas wall tent. An outdoor kitchen and bathhouse will provide more facilities for students, and the greywater from these structures will feed into downhill garden beds.

Electric Tractor

Steve Heckeroth and Keith Rutledge have been awarded a grant to develop four prototypes for the electric tractor. One of these tractors is being donated to the Grange Farm School for experimental use and data logging. This impressive piece of machinery has a battery bank mounted on the tractor which charges off of a 5 kw photovoltaic array. Working the fields with a tractor has never been so peaceful!

Fuel Alcohol

The Fort Bragg Grange hosts a group called the Mendocino Alcohol Fuel Group which holds the goal of distilling their own fuel from local sources. Here at the Ranch, we have a 300 gallon still that hasn’t been used in decades, and with the help of interns and community members, this still is being brought back to life. The goal is to collect lees from the vineyards in the area (a waste product from wine production) in order to distill our own ethanol for running equipment and vehicles.

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