REFLECTIONS by Ellen Sribnick, LFC Co-General Manager In spite of the urge to hibernate through the snowiest of winters in years, members of Lega

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Ellen explaining the Project to architectural students.

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 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; 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

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.

Happy Spring!


Sheilah Davidson and School Food FOCUS

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What do sustainable agriculture, healthful school food, and cohousing have in common? For one thing, they are all things that Sheilah Davidson cares deeply about. For another, they are all about sustainable living and creating a more just world. How did Sheilah become so involved in sustainability and food? Her college degree is in Social Work which, she said, has two general applications: helping individuals with problems (casework), or addressing root causes of problems (community organizing). Sheilah chose the latter. Ready to resume her social change career when her daughter turned 2 ½, she was lucky enough to land at the National Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture, which was a network of organizations working on federal sustainable agriculture policy. Her job involved helping with membership development, outreach and fundraising.

When Sheilah was ready for a career change, she learned of a job opening with a new initiative called School Food FOCUS. As national Policy Program Manager, she works with large school districts and their local partners to develop policy initiatives that will help them meet their mutual goal of bringing more healthful, regionally and sustainably produced meals to students. For example, recent passage of The Healthy Hunger-Free Schools Act has created an opportunity to greatly improve the standards and thus the quality of school food. The US Dept of Agriculture has put forward model standards for comment, which include increased portions of fruit and vegetables, more whole grain products as well as elimination of trans-fats. Sheilah is convening conversations with participants in School Food FOCUS to support these positive changes and making sure that these changes will be properly supported so that they can be implemented by school districts.

Sheilah also serves as Stakeholder Liaison for School Food FOCUS. In this role, she is privileged to hear about and share the innovative solutions being developed by leaders in school food change, and connecting them with one another so that they can share strategies and learn from one another.
She is also in charge of reaching out to new partners to involve them in this work.

In addition to her paid work, Sheilah is active in Legacy Farm Cohousing. She, along with her husband Sean and daughter Jenny, who was seven at the time, joined LFC in 2005. Since then, she has taken her turn at facilitating meetings, teaching Sociocracy, serving as chair of the LFC membership committee, and is currently (naturally!) active on the farming committee.

What do her life choices have to do with community? Sustainability is a natural fit with community – sharing resources (physical but also social and emotional) leads to more sustainability, living lightly, simply, harmoniously.

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Making Chili Bowls at Women's Studio Workshop

A Community Life Event

A few of us were able to descend into the clay studio at WSW on February 5th and 6th to build or throw pots (with lots of assistance) which were glazed and sold at the 14th Annual WSW Chili Bowl Fiesta fundraiser at Rosendale Rec Center Click here for more information about Women's Studio Workshop




MOHONK CONSULTATIONS FORUM: SUN, APR 10, 3-6, Mohonk Mountain House
A public forum exploring the issues of peak oil, climate change, and how together we can create a locally-based, sustainable and resilient future. Reservations required. Call 845/256-2726. Suggested donation: $10, Seniors & Students $5.

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Farming fields, well house and chicken coop.


The core group of local volunteers and Legacy Farm Cohousing’s Farm Committee have been hard at work over the past two months. Guided by their mentor, Dan Guenther, they have formed Binnewater Farm Project LLC and set up a website. They are finalizing a Business Plan, developing financing resources and are working on a list of infrastructure projects to be achieved this season. Despite the late start, they had hoped to plant this season, but unfortunately they could not find a Grower in time to start work in March, though they are still looking. But having this season to prepare the ground, build a fence, plant a cover crop and maybe make some running repairs to the barns and chicken coop, puts the farm at a great advantage next season. They may even get to plant some fruit and nut trees and berry bushes before the end of the year.

The response from the local Rosendale residents has been heartwarming. The core group has already found itself supported by people willing to help in the field, including some students at SUNY New Paltz. Others have offered to help with marketing shares, developing publicity and general office administration. There is great enthusiasm for a CSA and the expanding group anticipates having some good times working on the land during the months to come. Click here to sign up if you are interested in joining us.

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Tina Clarke.


by Dan Guenther

The stone-age didn’t end because people ran out of stones. Instead, our early ancestors believed that life would be better if they moved on to bronze – and it seems to have worked out, for the most part.

Now, several millennia later, a permaculture teacher in the UK believes that a lifestyle less consuming of resources and energy might just be better. A quiet, worldwide, grassroots movement has emerged around his thoughts and teachings. The movement is called TRANSITION or RELOCALIZATION and the UK teacher is Rob Hopkins.

In this country, scores of communities as disparate as Denver, Colorado; Sarasota, Florida; and Bedford, New York have begun Transition initiatives. Haven’t the Legacy Farm Cohousing folks already been using the Transition principles and their own collective wisdom for years to create a more vibrant and sustainable community?

Take a look at the website to learn more and to meet Rob Hopkins

In addition you will have the opportunity to meet Tina Clarke, a dynamic speaker and trainer for the movement, at SUNY New Paltz on Thursday, April 28th. SAVE THE DATE!


Membership Information

Equity members are those households who have already made an Equity-level contribution to the project and participate fully in community decisions and planning. Prospective Residents (PRs) are those households who have an interest in becoming Equity members, and who are proceeding through the Orientation Process. See the Orientation Process section of our website for further details.

If you are interested in contributing to this monthly newsletter or have any comments or questions, please contact Linda Gluck
Editor: Linda Gluck