Thursday, January 26, 2017

Building Unity Farm Sanctuary - Fourth Week of January 2017

The Board of Directors of Unity Farm Sanctuary held its first meeting at the Unity Meeting House the 1830’s building on the sanctuary property.    The “board room” is the original dining room, made from American Chestnut, which no longer grows in New England due to the chestnut blight of the early 1900’s.   Since the floor is nearly 200 years old, not a single board is square and a marble rolls spontaneously across the floor.

The Board agenda including a walking tour of the entire sanctuary property and a review of all existing survey maps, such as the one below which identifies structures, wetlands, and  topography.

We reviewed several important documents
1.  the IRS Form 1023/supplement requesting charitable status for Unity Farm Sanctuary
2.  an omnibus insurance package including structures, umbrella liability, animal coverage, employee coverage, and even cyber-liability coverage (since we may keep donor data)
3.  a financial sustainability model
4.  a review of infrastructure improvements done to date
5.  a project plan for 2017

The board approved the IRS Form and insurance package.   Yesterday the IRS submission was completed and the journey to non-profit charity began.   The insurance becomes effective this week.

The board also heard about the pending sanctuary animal placement requests.   We explained that poultry, alpaca/llama, and goats are relatively scalable - we can take on additional animals without huge effort.

Horses and pigs are hard.   Horses require a significant degree of daily care and pigs need complex socialization to create a tight knit peaceful community.    We will be adding one additional Welsh pony and one additional pig in February.  Other horse/pig additions will await the construction of new animal care areas shown in the map above.   The existing creatures are happy and healthy.   Here's a few pictures from this week.

Furnishing the sanctuary buildings has been a labor of love.   Kathy has used Facebook and other social media resources to identify people in the community who are moving or downsizing.  We then visited them to explore their attics, basements, and garages.   We’ve purchased items from the 1800’s that could have been in the Unity Meeting House when it was first built.  We’ve kept costs low so that there is no fear of loss/destruction of these furnishings, since the building will be a public space.   The dining room picture above illustrates the kind of pieces the public will use when using the property for events, educational activities, and volunteer opportunities.   We’ve really worked hard to think about high traffic uses, children, and plenty of farm messiness.   The only objects we’re adding to the sanctuary operation are low maintenance, low risk, low worry.

We’re making rapid progress on infrastructure, operations, legal, financial, and governance matters.   Every week brings new possibilities, challenges, and adventure.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I absolutely LOVE what you and your wife are doing with Old Unity Hall! I grew up in this home and have so many wonderful memories. If I can help or contribute in any way, please let me know.

Susan (Brown) Celli