by Ellen Sribnick, LFC Co-General Manager
In spite of the urge to hibernate through the snowiest of winters in years, members of Legacy Farm Cohousing (LFC) continue to work together, keeping the project afloat and forging ahead. These have been challenging times for LFC but we remain committed to our vision and its realization; the latest expression being the launching of an organic Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) project on our farm (see article below).
The enthusiasm of the CSA Committee (composed of the LFC Farming Committee and local community members working alongside mentor Dan Guenther) has been inspiring. It is amazing how folks have rolled up their sleeves and have accomplished so much in so little time.
It is one more reminder of the Rosendale community’s remarkable vitality:
.. the town where a handful of neighbors - realizing the importance of saving our local movie house (the epicenter of Rosendale) - got together as the Rosendale Theatre Collective and bought the theatre;
..the home of a world-renowned art school, the Women's Studio Workshop;
..the home of the Pickle & Chili Bowl festivals and the ever popular Summer Music Festival;
..the home of Legacy Farm Cohousing.
Though it took over five years for LFC to get the town Planning Board and County approvals for the Project, it is clear that LFC is now seen as an asset, bringing sustainable, cluster development to Rosendale for the first time. We continue to value our relationship with the town and look forward to giving back to the community, with the addition of Binnewater Farm Project (the CSA) at Legacy Farm Cohousing.
It has been a long haul, eight years and still counting, to create this cohousing community. Eight to ten years is actually consistent with the time line for the self-development cohousing model. In a moment of reflection, we acknowledge all we have accomplished to bring our vision forward:
..We have all the required local and state approvals;
..We have a professional team that has produced site designs, house designs, etc.
..We have raised close to $1.5 million through member contributions, sale of two houses on the land, and investments from family and friends.
The NY Attorney General approved LFC for a Limited Filing under Policy Statement 101. This model allowed for a continuous stream of new members who, after becoming thoroughly familiar with the project, would be able to join LFC by contributing $25,000 towards the down payment on their individual homes. These contributions should keep the project funded until the construction loan from a bank is arranged. The increasing number of new members should create a solid roster of pre-sales, which will make the project more attractive to lenders. The success of this 101 model has been inhibited by the change in the world economic situation, decreasing the risk tolerance of many individuals and thwarting their willingness to make the financial contribution necessary to become members. This has led us to a heavier reliance on outside investors.
We will continue to facilitate the process by which Prospective Residents become knowledgeable about the project, increase their involvement with the current members and move towards crossing the threshold of financial commitment, to join us fully in creating this wonderful community.
We will be pursuing investors who, after review of our extensive documentation (Business Plan, budget, site map, house designs, green building features), we hope will appreciate the value of our sustainable vision, recognize all that has been accomplished to date, and will choose to participate in bringing the LFC vision to fruition.
We will be meeting with professional lenders and banks both in this region and the metropolitan area, seeking the financing for our infrastructure and construction. We would like to start the infrastructure and first phase of house construction this year.
The current world situation, with abrupt rises in the costs of oil (passed on to other products including food!), highlights the importance of the sustainable model that LFC, with Binnewater Farm Project, will represent. We have had many wonderful people attend our meetings, express their enthusiasm for our vision and their sense of compatibility with life at LFC. We are now asking for a higher level of support, in the following ways:
...become actively involved in committee work;
...stretch your memory to help us network to find investors/financiers who might be interested in supporting green building projects and sustainability;
...seek anonymous financial donations;
...consider what will help you make the decision whether LFC is a good match for you.
Share your thoughts with your Buddy (if you do not have one we will assign one if you express interest in learning more) or with me firstname.lastname@example.org
Spring is in the air and soon we will be able to get back to the ‘lower forty’ to gather and play again on the land. We look forward to sharing our continued monthly meetings and future events organized by the Community Life Committee.