The exterior of Farmington Grange No. 12 in West Farmington is in need of paint as evidenced by the peeling clapboards seen Saturday, April 30. Grange members are seeking donations from those who have used the grange or attended events there to help pay for paint and other needed renovations or upgrades to the facility. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

FARMINGTON — The paint is peeling on Farmington Grange No. 12 and assistance is needed in obtaining funds for that and other building projects.

“If 200 people in the community each donated $30, we’d have enough money – $6,000 – to purchase the primer and top coat that are needed to get started,” Bonnie Clark, president of the Farmington Grange #12 , said recently.

“It’s been more than 20 years since the outside was painted, she said. “We hired someone to do the exterior.”

Some touching up has been done which is why there are so many different colors, Clark noted. The interior ceiling, which was painted by grange members around the same time also needs to be painted, the floors need to be refinished and so forth, she said.

A building bee at the grange in 2010 provided a healthy boost of labor to move forward plans for a commercial kitchen and food storage facility.

“We’ve gotten an estimate on the painting, are waiting for the mason to repair brickwork on the foundation,” Clark said. “There is a small leak on the roof and a loose seam that need to be taken care of.


“We are also trying to raise money to update the commercial kitchen,” she added. “The bare bones kitchen is licensed ready but is missing equipment. There is no dishwasher, more modern commercial refrigeration is needed. It would be nice to have an ice maker, a ventilation hood over the stove. It is not very inviting.”

A food truck is using the grange as their base full-time as are some caterers, Clark said. “Farmers are using it for bottling honey and birch syrup and so forth once a year,” she noted. “Some farmers are using it for value added products to sell at farmers markets.”

The original idea of the commercial kitchen was for farmers, Clark said. “It has been more of a start up,” she noted. “Some have gone on to build their own kitchens.”

Melissa and Joel Gilbert, owners of Berry Fruit Farm in Livermore bag applesauce prepared in the commercial kitchen of Farmington Grange No.12 in this Jan. 13, 2015 file photo. They now have their own kitchen and bakery on Main Street in Livermore Falls. File photo/Livermore Falls Advertiser

Originally a Baptist church, the building has been home to the grange since 1938.

Clark admits that the estimated $6,000 for the primer and top coat is just a drop in the bucket. “But it is a start,” she stressed in a release. “The full cost of repainting the two towered building’s exterior and interior ceiling is somewhere around $30,000. But with inflation – who knows.”

In the past some things were done by members, but dwindling membership and the increasing of age of members prevents that now, while at the same time diversity of activities inside the hall increases, Clark said.


The $30,000 needed is a lot of money for a rural non-profit, so it makes sense to start small with the paint, grange member Steve Scharoun said. He calculated how much paint would be needed, within a gallon or two.

“We are reaching out to those hundreds of community members who have benefited from the contra dances, dinners, theater productions, weddings, scout meetings, quilt shows, yoga classes and winter farmers’ markets held in the Grange’s spacious hall,” member Marion Scharoun said.

“And to those farmers who are using the Grange’s commercial licensed-ready kitchen to add value to their farm products,” member Pat Libby noted. “To the tappers of maple trees and the beekeepers and makers of applesauce and bread. And most recently to those with food trucks that travel about the county.”

The Grange’s major source of income pre-pandemic was from its wholesome food booth and award winning vegetable exhibit at the fair each year and from the rental of its dining room, hall and commercial kitchen.

“But pandemic aside, that income is another drop in the bucket when it comes to paying for the heating, electricity, water, insurance and the upkeep and/or replacement of the stove and dish washer in the kitchen,” Grange Treasurer Gerald Libby said.

Beyond community members, the Grange is also currently reaching out to local foundations and trusts as well as the USDA for upgrades to its heavily used commercial kitchen. They estimate that cost to be around $20,000.

Checks should be made out to The Farmington Grange #12 and mailed to Treasurer, Farmington Grange #12; 381 Mosher Hill Road, Farmington Maine 04938. $30 or a part of that will be gratefully received. And, if you’d like to be a member, contact Bonnie Clark at 778-6637.

Comments are not available on this story.