John Crippen was elected the new President/Master during a Special Session of the State Grange of Minnesota on Saturday, January 27, at the Minnehaha Grange Hall in Edina, Minnesota. Crippen, currently a member of Sunbeam Grange #2, has been a member of the organization for nearly 15 years.
Crippen was introduced to the Grange through his work with the Oliver Kelley Farm, a National Historic Landmark thanks to Kelley's work in founding the Grange, but also one of Minnesota's state historic sites. For nearly 30 years he worked at the Minnesota Historical Society, most recently as its Director of Historic Sites & Museums. In addition to his new duties with the Minnesota Grange, he is chair of the board at the Minneapolis Riverfront Partnership, and serves on the board of the Mill City Farmers Market Charitable Fund, building upon his work to help create that market in 2006. He also volunteers at his church, and spends a lot of time at his daughters' favorite pastime, a local youth circus. He is married to Sheila Stuhlman, and they have two daughters, Audrey and Eleanor.
John hopes to build upon the long and proud tradition of the Grange in Minnesota, and help the Subordinate Granges get into a stronger mode of growth and long-term sustainability. Reflecting broader trends in the state, the Minnesota Grange is struggling with issues of urban/rural divides, and a population that feels increasingly disconnected from its agricultural past and current reality. His perspective as someone who grew up in a rural community, is now living in the largest city in the state, and who spent many years working in a statewide capacity with a focus on both educational programs and community service will give him helpful insights into this challenge.