The Agreement

SEE IT HERE: Farmstead Cooperative LLC Agreement Template version 1.0 Build 150407

Linked above is a rendered version of the LLC Agreement that we will be using (minus our specific names, etc.) to organize our effort to create a Farmstead Cooperative. It is marked up with footnotes that I’ve added to help clarify some of the legalese, but also to emphasis some of the important concepts. Once downloaded you can “turn off” or remove these notes by manipulating the style sheet in the header. You can also work with the document in a word processor like Microsoft Word (see instructions below).

Yes it is LONG, and probably boring on a narrative level, but the idea behind it is that the language is based on legal precedent in an effort to create a structure that will perform exactly as we want it to perform in every possible challenging circumstance, especially if challenged in a court of Maine law.

In many ways, I’ve learned, that documents like this function within the legal system just like software functions when it is compiled and run by a digital processor. Software code is not easy for the lay reader to understand, but it is meant to perform a specific set of tasks for the user through the refractory of the digital processor. In that same way legal language is software programmed for the court system to perform a specific set of tasks. In that spirit, please enjoy.

[To simply save the document to your computer for off-line review click the link above and then use your browser’s “Save As” menu item to save the document as an .html file. Then you can open the off-line copy in a browser, or in a word processor (like Microsoft Word) — just make sure you set your word processor to open documents with a .html extension, usually called “Web Pages” naturally.]
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The Manifesto

Manifesto DeliveryTransferring access to farm land (partially or completely) using a Farmstead Cooperative is not easy. In fact when compared to a cash sale, mortgage sale, or lease agreement it’s probably the most difficult method for a seller to use. Significantly, while it allows for shared access to land, it also demands shared responsibility for that land as long as one remains an equity member of any fraction.

The Farmstead Cooperative idea became the only way I could achieve our goals of keeping our farm agriculturally viable into the future, and offering a new farmer fair equity when they worked to maintain and improve the land. As we began the formal process of creating an “entity” under which we could organize the idea of a working Farmstead Cooperative, I sent a letter to the lawyer that we had chosen to work with on the transfer paperwork. He immediately dubbed it “The Manifesto.”

The letter reworked the outline we had sent to a lawyer friend who helped us find a Maine lawyer who specialized in land use issues. I used the letter to organize and clarify the ideas I had been thinking about around this effort, and to help me communicate to the lawyer what we wanted to create.


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