Re: CoHousing farm interface
From: Sandy Thomson (
Date: Mon, 11 Jul 2011 06:02:29 -0700 (PDT)
We have been grappling with this question for a couple years now and still 
don't have a solution that works.  We started an organic farm on CoHousing land 
at Heartwood in order to better use our pasture land and provide food for the 
community.  At first it was a coop and members of the CoHousing community 
invested in the company and got ownership in the company.  So it was suppose to 
be an entirely separate entity.  There was too much paperwork, and tracking 
involved and we decided to to do away with the co-op structure and have run it 
more like a special interest group within the community.  We have other things 
like this on a much smaller scale.  Like out chicken group.  A few members have 
chickens and pay all costs associated with them and keep all the eggs from the 
chickens.  But this structure has it's problems as well.  We want the whole 
community to feel ownership for the farm.  So they can be proud of it and will 
support it.  Ours is a non profit farm designed to serve the community.  Any 
ideas would e helpful.  Our website in case you are interested is

On Jul 11, 2011, at 5:16 AM, cohousing-l-request [at] wrote:

> Message: 2
> Date: Sun, 10 Jul 2011 18:29:37 -0400
> From: Joel Plotkin <joel [at]>
> Subject: [C-L]_ Cohousing/ Farm Interface
> To: cohousing-l [at]
> Message-ID:
>    <CA+hbnxc4JpATJpvBBqad4tFJSAwFsZuSjDJUfw_rbdCZxqj49Q [at]>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1
> Coho'ers:
> I'm curious about organizational dynamics of Cohousing communities that have
> farms as part of the common land. At Hundredfold Farm in PA, we have a
> Christmas tree farm that is a profit-making business. At present, all
> residents are required to be members of the Tree Farm LLC, a separate
> corporation (easier for tax purposes). We hope to make membership optional,
> in which case, the farm will be a business operated by a subset of the
> community. They will lease property and own equipment used for the business.
> How have other communties handled their farms? Some lease to residents, some
> to outside farmers, some own and operate, sometimes the farmer is an
> employee of the COHO, etc. What models have you found that work for your
> community? What models were problematic? I'm also interested in a governance
> issue--do those coho members who are also business partners have to stand
> aside during COA decisions about the business? Our condo documents have a
> conflict-of-interest clause that would seem to apply there.
> Joel Plotkin
> Hundredfold Farm Cohousing
> Orrtanna PA

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