Sunday, October 21, 2012

Goodbyes and hellos

Wow! It's been many moons since we posted here, but we have had quite the change in residents.  While Bobette Bruce and Michele refused to move on (methinks we'll die here!), Maya - our bloganista extraordinaire - and her husband Dom left to pursue being Cycling Superheroes across Michigan in August; Emma took herself off to New Orleans to improve the coffee there; Erin left for a new experience in community living here in Austin and Shawn is about to depart for Idaho (he DOES love his spuds).  Our new members are fabulous - active in acro yoga here in Austin and eager, young folks to boot.  We are lucky to have Grant, Abby, Dwight, Ellar and Sarah in our community.

In the intervening months, the chickens finally started laying (the Rhode Island Reds came first and we are eagerly awaiting the other hens' eggs too), and Julio, the rooster, has developed a cranky streak in addition to crowing at all hours of the day and night!

Our winter garden is planted and we will soon harvest radishes.  We have been harvesting basil for about 5 months now with no end in sight, so if you are a fan of pesto come along to brunch some weekend and sample our delicious fare.

We had a Founders' meeting in September which was very successful, and we managed to align all members of the Founders' ilk and the board in deciding to change Sunflower over to being a non profit organisation!  The meeting was terrific, with lots of dynamic discussion and us (relative) newbies learned even more anecdotes and stories from the founders.  What a treat!

Our Annual General Meeting will be held on January 20th so put that on your calendar for now - more details will follow but I WILL tell you that we will be voting on the new by-laws, so every voice is important.  We would love to see you here and fill your belly for you before voting!

More to come soon....

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Spring Update

Oh my, I meant to update more often!

We've had quite a bit going on here at The Sunflower. We were all excited about the special meeting, and quite disappointing to have to set it back. The lawyer needed to make some last minute clarifications with our accountant, and apparently March and April are a bit busy for folks who file taxes. We should have the legal red-lines available very soon and the board is meeting tomorrow to regroup. We'll definitely publish a new time table as soon as one is available.

Chris left to travel, and in his stead is Jeff. We had a Goodbye/Welcoming party during the transition at The Gypsy Lounge and got to see the Underscore Orchestra, That Damned Band, and The Inheritance.

Every new Sunnie introduces change, and Jeff helped convince the house to invest in chickens! So far we have a Rhode Island Red, a Production Red, a Buff Orpington, and an Americana. And, like, 1/8th of a chicken coop, Heaven help me..Here are the older two girls, the reds:

In the meantime, our little home has loved this rainy spring. The garden is coming along beautifully - so much so that we couldn't wait another day for the tomatoes and enjoyed them fried and green thanks to Emma's culinary artistry...

The rain promises to keep falling, and the garden is more beautiful than ever. Stop on by and pick some basil some time, won't you?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Special Meeting Materials

As many Sunnies are aware, the cooperative has been in a transitional state since the final mortgage payment in 2005. Several hundred hours of work have been volunteered by current and previous residents in order to best meet the expectations set forth by early members while setting a groundwork for the future development and expansion of Sunflower Cooperative and its principles.

While it would be impossible to concisely summarize the countless lessons and intangible benefits we've gleaned from this endeavor, we are happily drawing this era to a conclusion with the presentation of a new set of bylaws to be voted on May 6th, 2012 by special meeting of all Sunflower cooperative members (every previous and current resident).

The bylaws are defined in a document that outlines and describes our responsibilities and obligations as a legal entity. It includes a glossary of terms, explanations of financial terms and commitments, and defines what it means to be a member in good standing.

The current draft of bylaws was created by a committee made up of current and previous members aided and directed in part by volunteer "working groups" of previous members. It was created under the guidance of our lawyer and within the parameters of the Texas Business Organization Code.

A primary goal in developing the new set of bylaws was to set a precedent for distributing membership dividends to members who resided in Sunflower Co-op preceding 2005. A dividends committee and working group were formed to define who qualified for such payments, what formula might be used to determine the amount, and how Sunflower can make these payments in a timely fashion without undermining its economic stability.

The Special Meeting will begin at 10:00 a.m. with a read through of the proposed bylaws as well as a review of the dividends proposal. At noon we will serve a light lunch and encourage discussion as well as further review of background materials if needed. From 1:00-2:00 p.m. we will be accepting ballots, which will be tallied at the end of the meeting. Thirty days before the meeting Sunflower will e-mail final drafts for review of the bylaws as well as copies of the ballot, and votes by mail will be accepted if received by May 5th.

In the meantime, our most recent drafts, as well as background information and contact information, will be posted on this blog as tabs. Any questions or comments regarding this progress or these documents is welcome and appreciated.

See you in May!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Save The Date Letter

Dear Sunflower Members,

We are at an important step in our growth and development for future generations of Sunflower Members. Our Annual General Meeting was well attended and laid the groundwork for the next evolution of the Cooperative. Your input is appreciated in the process as we update our bylaws and certificate of formation as well as begin the dividend dispersal process.

We are excited that our cooperation and persistence is paying off! We are bringing much light and clarity to the process and are very close to moving on to the next chapter in Sunflower Coop history. Our goal is to have an inclusive and transparent process that resolves outstanding financial and legal issues, creating a solid foundation for future Sunnies.

The Sunflower Board, Legal Working Group and the Dividends Working Group will host 2, two hour sessions to cover any questions that Sunflower Members may have about the upcoming changes. (Most of which are technical in nature and are based on Texas State Cooperative laws.) We have compiled a number of documents , including answers to all questions brought up over the past few years and at the Annual Meeting. We invite you to update your contact information so we may send you these documents in advance.

Here's how you can help!
Save the Dates for the Special Meeting and at least one Question and Answer Session.
Please contact us to update your information and your preferred method of receiving copies of background materials.
(We prefer to save paper and postage by sending info digitally, however we are happy to send physical copies if requested.)

Be prepared! The April 1st vote is the culmination of hundreds of hours of cooperation, preparation, and attention to detail. We ask that voters invest the time to understand the proposed changes by reviewing the following documents before attending the Q & A Session.
  • Drafts of Proposed Bylaws and Certificate of Formation
  • Compiled Questions and Answers from the working groups
  • Texas State Code (as background for technical changes in Bylaws)
  • Proposed Dividend Disbursement Plan
  • Form and Procedure for Voluntary Membership Termination
  • Form and Procedure for Donation of Dividends
  • Proposed Special Meeting Agenda

February 11th: Noon-2PM, Question and Answer Session #1

March 4th: Noon-2PM, Question and Answer Session #2

Attend the Special Meeting on April 1st, 2012

This year, marks an important transition in the Sunflower Coop moving forward, and we are excited for you to be a part of it! Thank you for taking the time to update your information and mark your calendar for the upcoming events. We look forward to hosting y'all again very soon for a celebration.
Happy Holidays from your friends at the Sunflower Cooperative!