Family-friendly Roy Grange aims to become agriculture hub for locals


On the corner of Water Street, facing busy state Route 507 that carves through the small town, sits the Roy Grange.

The organization aims to build up community through conversations and conservation and offers a plethora of free agricultural activities for Roy residents and members of surrounding communities.

Victor Jamiel, first-year president of the Roy Grange, described the organization as a family-focused agricultural organization. Jamiel, who also serves as assistant steward for the Pierce County Grange, said the grange offers numerous events throughout the year.

“We do leadership activities, community outreach and teach ag. We’re currently helping some of our farmers within the grange get situated so they have their farmers license so they can turn around and sell goods,” Jamiel said. “Back in the day, we were pretty much the hub for the rural population of farmers to come together and network.”

The grange hosted its spring bazaar and bake sale on Saturday, April 20, and Jamiel said the Roy Grange doesn’t charge much for vendors to participate and sell their goods

“It’s about bringing the town together,” Jamiel said. “There’s small vendors in town. We keep our table rentals extremely cheap because it’s not about us making profit. It’s about showing your business and getting your name out there. We want to bring that to the center of our town. Why should we have to leave our town to support events like this? There’s so many vendors in town, and you wouldn’t even know it.”

People do not need to be a member of the Roy Grange to participate in events, but memberships cost $51 annually. The grange offers a wide variety of agriculture classes throughout the year, including preservation courses such as canning, dehydration and Dutch oven cooking.

One of the organization’s most popular events is the sewing program, which takes place on the last Wednesday of each month, Jamiel said. Due to the high demand and limited space, those interested in the sewing program must sign up in advance.

“The sewing program got a lot of great responses for the one coming up,” Jamiel said. “The response we got was overwhelming, to the point where we might have to add a second class.”

Jamiel is hopeful that the Roy Grange will begin working with other organizations that call the Roy home.

“I put a word out to the Buffalo Soldiers of Seattle, so hopefully we can do some stuff with them,” Jamiel said. “Many people don’t know that they have a ranch right here in Roy. I want to do some things so people can know and understand the history since we’re a military town.”

Jamiel said the grange is already connected with the Pierce County Conservation District and is hopeful that organizers will eventually offer classes in conjunction with the county operation.

“We want to get back to being the resource center for our town. If you look around at Roy, McKenna and Yelm — I consider them to be cousins. Yelm is really becoming a city, and I think more people are looking to slow down to that rural connection,” Jamiel said. “I want the grange to be the center hub, a place where you know you can drop your kids off for some classes. I want people to know that everything happens and comes out of the grange.”

Roy Grange member Leanne Oxborough said the organization wants to start a community garden in 2024 or the near future. She said the location had a lodge cookout last weekend, where everybody was welcome.

“We just want people to be fed and happy. All of (these events) go to help build up the grange and other events. We just want to make sure people are fed and taken care of,” Oxborough said. “We’ve had eight new members or so in the last year. We are family here. We look out for each other. If anything happens to you or your family, we’re there to take care of you, to feed you, to take care of your animals. Everyone makes a contribution.”

Roy Grange member Charles Ashman said grange locations opened right after the Civil War concluded. He believes now it serves the purpose of connecting neighbors and community members.

“Anymore, a lot of times, you don’t even know your neighbors. I walked into here today and saw some of my neighbors that I haven’t seen in a long time,” Ashman said. “It’s nice to get the community together and talking. In a small town like Roy, we don’t have a lot of extra money here. This gets the community together to work together.”