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Author Topic: One Year Milestone  (Read 2283 times)
Ingrid Naiman
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« on: June 25, 2009, 06:41:33 PM »

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.

Refocus

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.

Blessings,

Ingrid
« Last Edit: June 26, 2009, 12:56:43 AM by Ingrid Naiman » Logged
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