Re: Enterprize mgmt [was: Questions about ... Farm Mgmt.
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Mon, 31 Mar 2014 08:47:53 -0700 (PDT)
>> It would be great if you could share your perspective on the questions
>> below.   We'll share ours with you too if you are so interested!   If it is
>> easier for you to connect directly either by phone or email, please let us
>> know.  Maybe this dialogue will evolve into a cohousing farm affinity group!

When you ask people to "answer questions" sometimes they just don't have time 
so don't respond at all. You might instead say these are our concerns. Then 
people can respond with whatever they think might be helpful. 

Also when you ask for numbers, unless the manager of the project responds 
people have to go check on numbers in fear of making an error. By the time they 
have figured out who has the numbers they may have forgotten where they go 

A good reminder is to ask people in the list to forward the message to whomever 
might be interested.

And if you search the archives you will find threads on chickens and eggs that 
are often on community property but privately owned. 

Also check Diana Leafe Christians books because she lives in an intentional 
community and for many years had stronger ties there. Her first book covers all 
types of community ownership. The second is about finding community and I 
haven't read it but it may also have information.

And finally, two lawyers were writing a book  "Practicing Law in the Sharing 
Economy", (ABA Books) that was supposed to come out in fall 2012. They did a 
highly regarded workshop at one of the cohousing conferences.

It's important to consult a lawyer. Just say we need to talk about this for an 
hour. Find one who does "common interest" organizations, non-profit work, etc. 
A lawyer can tell you what to look out for. It doesn't have to be complicated 
-- don't try to address all the potential issues the first time around but 
write some documents that you can amend yourselves. Thin bylaws and more 
policies. Our lawyer says policies are as enforceable as bylaws.

The tricky thing is to clarify assumptions. I was in a meeting the other night 
to approve the draft of a policy. One member had written a new draft that 
included only #4 of the previous policy. One member thought that since we had 
agreed on #1-3 and believed the community had already agreed, that they weren't 
included but would be done. Not so. The person was entirely changing the 
agreement. Fortunately we discovered this.

Everyone will have a different assumption about how this will work. One way to 
bring them out is to do rounds on questions dealing with operations, income, 
sharing, etc. No silent voices. You need to hear from everyone. A piece on 

Sharon Villines
Elegance in Organization

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