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 on: July 07, 2009, 09:09:47 PM 
Started by Ingrid Naiman - Last post by Ingrid Naiman
Approximately 300 people have signed up for updates on the Ahimsa Cooperative project but here is the synopsis of the efforts over the last year.

A core group of people generated a simply amazing number of hugely diverse and distracting ideas, all of which are superb. The proposals address the many concerns and issues people are facing.

As we are seeing, the public is losing faith in the financial systems that are in place, in the quality of our food and medicine, and in our management of resources. To shift the course of our beloved Planet onto a viable trajectory, absolute integrity is the first prerequisite. The second has to be that sustainable practices replace predatory ones.

Anticipating this, I started and as movements in which, among other things, cooperation replaces competition. For many this is an entirely new concept but the final stage of competition is inevitably self-destructing because the fact is we are not just interdependent but one.

Granted, this fact is yet to be realized but the movement towards community is a step in this direction and there are countless more steps necessary in order to reorganize productively and sustainably.

Among the many suggestions put forth during this year of brain storming and planning is the need to have a strong cooperatively owned and managed financial vehicle for (1) purchasing farms and perhaps even factories that are in distress and (2) applying new management to operate these properties, many of which would otherwise wind up in foreclosure and on the auction block.

To achieve this, we have knocked around a concept of an alternative investment in which people could take funds, even retirement funds, out of conventional investment vehicles and redirect them to constructive endeavors such as sustainable food production and alternative energy, construction, and generally green initiatives. The primary investors would have the equivalent of what we might consider as preferred stock, secured against the real property. Members would be able to participate as consumers and there would be ample training programs and opportunities for long-term work/trade situations so that more and more people acquire the experience necessary to apply their skills wherever those skills are needed.

There is no theoretical or hypothetical limit to how this would grow. For instance, people could stay at the main farm/headquarters for a few weeks, months, or years and then start something similar in another part of the country or in another part of the world. The difference between this concept and the variations of it you find elsewhere is that there would be actual owners and investors and members, not just students or seminar participants and gurus.

We have been discussing this for months and could probably have continued knocking around ideas for several more months but there is a property that requires immediate attention so we decided to ask now who is interested in this and we want to see if there is any way we can raise about half a million within 2-3 weeks to rescue this particular property from the fate that looms over it.

This is a straw poll and our lawyer is drafting the documents that any sensible person would demand to see before forking over funds. This much I will say, the farm is near Portland, Oregon, and could conceivably service residents of Portland as well, of course, as Vancouver, Washington, and other more densely populated urban areas in the vicinity.

Please respond to me personally if this particular project interests you.

 on: June 25, 2009, 06:41:33 PM 
Started by Ingrid Naiman - Last post by Ingrid Naiman
When I first visualized the Ahimsa Cooperative coming into being, I saw that the time had arrived in my life to make sure there is a smooth transfer of my life's efforts to the next generations.  I was willing to function in an advisory role for an indefinite period of time, but I expected that after an initial output of energy that my involvement would diminish and the remaining sand in my hourglass could be used to complete other projects.  Of the 300+ people who expressed an interest in the co-op, I tried to focus my attention on those who seemed prepared to take on administrative and leadership roles.  

Over the last eleven and a half months, there have been countless emails, posts to the forum, phone calls, and Skype chats, some of which were exciting because ideas came forward that were well worth developing.  However, the bottom line is that we still lack a formal legal status and the attempt to separate part of my legacy from my present tasks and involvements has not resulted in a meaningful shift.

This is not a lament, just a report -- so even if it sounds like a lament, it is not.  This might be called a wreckage evaluation and salvage attempt or perhaps it should be read as an attempt to refocus, learn from experience, and share the harvestable fruit of the journey thus far.


It is clear to me that my original intent was to transfer one part of my life's work, the least complex part, to a responsible team that would develop and expand the potential but with the same selflessness that I try to express in my daily life.  The one thing that I absolutely cannot do is process paperwork and this is where the hang up occurred.  You might say "obviously" because the Achilles heel is always the target when there is unfinished "stuff".

This said, I have less than zero interest in the myriad of details that are involved in the legal creation of the co-op and I also have no interest in operational details.  I am only concerned that the integrity and humanitarian basis are maintained.  Beyond this, my psyche won't travel so it's time to acknowledge this and try to proceed in a manner that avoids this black hole in my psychological baggage.

The project should move forward, but the bottom line is actually that if it does not do so now, the same issue will one day have to addressed from the other side of the veil where no will be in a position to demand review of documents or a signature!

Learn from Experience

Oh, this is a tough one for all of us and the problem is that as the distance gets greater, our hindsight improves!  In the meantime, I suppose I need to be open to feedback from those who can see the forest since I am still looking at trees.

Harvestable Fruit

This is the interesting part and since there is a risk that it too would fall into the black hole, I would like to share the highlights of the discussions that have transpired privately.

  • A situation arose in which precious property landed in foreclosure.  Ideally, a strong and viable cooperative would be in a position to buy up this and similar properties and put them under proper management.  This would include properties in desperate need of rehabilitation because of toxic agricultural practices.
  • A concept was discussed involving investment in agricultural productivity as opposed to Wall Street paper, the idea being that as trees mature, their yields do increase and there is rarely a need to wait until age 65 in order to benefit from the investment.  Taking agricultural business seriously as an alternative to IRAs and other retirement assets is not just interesting, it is dynamite.
  • Developing alternative financial systems was discussed with many possibilities that could be developed, including microfinancing of landscaping conversions and sponsorship of sustainably operated farms that supply food for animals and humans or even nursery plants.
  • Exploring ways to support mom-pop enterprises in areas suffering from economic dislocation and crisis that would further transformation of our life styles towards what is necessary in the future was also bandied about in a variety of contexts.

In short, a lot of ideas were presented, eggs laid, and a few are still in the incubation status, no chirping yet! The problem is that no matter how interesting and salient the alternative proposals are, none actually addressed my original intent, which, to reiterate, was to transfer ownership and management of one of my projects to a group where the by-laws and guiding principles protected the ethics of the endeavor.  Moreover, none of my time was liberated and I am presently woefully behind on other projects.

Paralleling the co-op preparations, there were further attempts to create an irrevocable trust to fund projects such as assistance to the biodiversity gardens in Baja or the sustainable village project in the Congo.  This, however, is an aside but it seems to have hit the same reef . . . so go back over the lessons and, unfortunately, there is some pain involved here.

This said, I am not giving up but rather seeing this as a mirror of other failed projects and realizing that this particular crisis is not without a solution.  Moreover, no bailout is required, just a viable plan and a committed team.  This, I realize has to be the next step.



 on: December 11, 2008, 02:18:42 AM 
Started by Ingrid Naiman - Last post by Ingrid Naiman
Dear Interested Persons,

Though this meeting is primarily for the purpose of creating the legal documents required for incorporation, these must somehow express the intent of the Ahimsa Cooperative.  Therefore, a listing of the needs to be met by the Co-op, the scope of the mission, and the objectives for the first phases of implementation are also appropriate topics to put on the table.

It is not expected that this meeting will be formal, rather a knocking around of ideas, particularly those in most urgent need of correction.  Speaking simply for myself and not for the group, I believe that the folly of concentrating immense power, including, of course, financial power, in the hands of the few has resulted in an ecological disaster with ramifications for the future of all species.  As if this were not already a big enough worry, the misuse of power on a massive scale has not resulted in more job security, more financial security, or better health.  It is therefore my belief that the time has come to ground the idea of customer owned and operated businesses in which all important decisions are group decisions and no one voice is more important than any other voice.

Though there is nothing absolutely new about these ideas, they are somewhat new in that Ahimsa Cooperative is potentially a global force for environmental and financial ethics that is spearheaded not by some back to nature or tribal inspiration but rather the ultra modern sense of how technology must be harmonized with Nature and money must be used to create harmony and security, not to exploit.

Our imaginations set the limit of what we might achieve and thus I invite those who might be interested in participating in the founding meeting to contact me or Nate for the time and place of our first in person gathering.

 on: November 28, 2008, 01:00:00 PM 
Started by nate - Last post by cj9
Ilsa, I thought I was the only one over here. Now there are at least two, but it seems all the good stuff comes from Wa. and  Or. area. It is the shipping that gets me every time. Sometimes it costs more than what I purchased!

 on: November 28, 2008, 12:52:30 PM 
Started by cj9 - Last post by cj9
I'll have my internet access by end of dec. Unsure of what I can do for this coop yet, but as it falls into place and we know where it will be, etc. It will become more clear. Thank you, Nate and Ingrid.

 on: August 21, 2008, 12:00:28 AM 
Started by nate - Last post by CorporealOne

Your conscientiousness in anticipating our needs and providing
preemptive solutions is invaluable. We appreciate your efforts.

Hope something here is useful. - Thanks

Planetary Consciousness
Planetary Health
Earth Friendly
Global Impact
Mutual Respect
Natural Balance
Alliance with Nature
Equilibrium With Nature
Animal Free Testing
Neutral Impact
Zero Impact
Zero Footprint
Carbon Footprint
Natural Resources
Limited Resources
Minimal Waste
Closed Systems
Reclamation Systems
Soil Erosion Control
Soil Remediation
Bio-Control of Weeds & Pests
Self Sustained Manufacturing
Chemical Free Processing
Environmental Packaging
Emerging Industries
Evolving Technologies

"By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail."
-- Benjamin Franklin

 on: August 20, 2008, 12:22:12 PM 
Started by nate - Last post by AnnetteMc
How about:

children's children
gifts (from the Earth) (to our grandchildren)
good will


 on: August 19, 2008, 10:16:35 AM 
Started by nate - Last post by Barbara
Here's my three cents:
green issues
green thinking
green friendly
green commited
group commitment

 on: August 18, 2008, 09:32:35 PM 
Started by nate - Last post by Pennie
Nate~ Here's my one cent's worth... Wink  ~Pennie

quality of life
freedom to pursue health
in cooperation with all nations (human, animal, insect, plant, mineral, etc.)
aligned in right mind & heart
do no harm
walk gently, listen
celebrate/revel in the differences/uniqueness (anti anything is antithetical to what we're trying to accomplish)
forward thinking - action only when future consequences considered

 on: August 18, 2008, 05:36:51 PM 
Started by cj9 - Last post by nate
CJ, having managed a health food store is great experience and my hunch is that this entire community believes in holistic healing and has concerns about the quality and sustainability of our products.  I think you have the genesis of a great candidate statement right there and the whole community will benefit from your experience and efforts.

I'm sorry about your family troubles and hope you can resolve them shortly.  Please let us know when you are available for discussion and board candidacy by posting to the forum.  Thanks!

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