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Singing River Farm files as low-profit LLC

ROCKINGHAM >> Singing River Farm, located on the Brockways Mills Road in Rockingham, has recently taken the step of filing with the Vermont Secretary of State to become a low-profit limited liability company.

A low-profit limited liability company (or L3C as abbreviated by the Vermont Secretary of State's office) is a fairly new type of business entity that combines the financial goals of a for-profit business with the charitable goals of a non-profit organization. In 2008 Vermont was the first state to authorize this business classification, and since then it has become an option in ten other states, three Native American nations, and Puerto Rico.

According to the website of the Vermont Secretary of State, an L3C is "designed to provide a social benefit" and " has an explicit charitable intent as its primary mission." The financial goals of an L3C must be secondary to its charitable goals.

Farmers Laurel Green and Steve Crofter decided to make this change for several reasons. Their purpose, as presented to the state in their Articles of Organization, includes responsible stewardship of their farmland, promoting environmental awareness through their teaching and activism, and using Singing River Farm as a platform from which to increase social justice.

"When I think about the world's environmental crisis, I know that we all need to change our lifestyles to a low carbon future, that we need to keep the remaining fossil fuels in the ground, that we need to accelerate the transition to 100 percent renewable energy," said Green. "But my mind also comes back to what I can do here on this farm, in this watershed."

Crofter stated that the social justice goals are foremost in his mind. "A farm exists within a larger context, and if there are aspects of our community and our society that need healing, that work is part of creating a healthy farm. This means that fostering intercultural relationships and working to end racism and other oppressions are just as important as weeding the garden or collecting the eggs."

"We're breathing life back into an old farm and promoting healthy life in the soil," said Green. "Our focus is not on high production but on environmental restoration. And I love to share what I know through working side by side with volunteers on the farm and through teaching farm-based workshops for the community."

Crofter went on to explain that the L3C designation also is appropriate for Singing River Farm because they want to experiment with alternative economics. "We've tried setting up our farm stand by encouraging people to use a sliding fee scale or to 'pay it forward' but these attempts have mostly confused our customers. Nevertheless we're determined to find ways of sharing our farm's bounty equitably. We believe that capitalism has not done a very good job of looking out for our common interests. We're glad to say that Singing River Farm, L3C, will operate on the principle that people and the planet matter more than profits."

For more information, visit Singing River Farm in person or at www.SingingRiverFarm.net

Allbee elected chair of Union Institute & University Board

CINCINNATI, OHIO >> Roger Allbee of Townshend, Vermont was elected chair of the board of trustees of Union Institute & University at its quarterly meeting on January 28 in Cincinnati. Allbee served as vice chair from 2013 to 2015 and has been a member of the board since July 2011.

Union Institute & University President Roger H. Sublett said he is grateful to Allbee for his dedication and commitment to Union.

"We are indeed fortunate to be led by this visionary leader. Mr. Allbee is an outstanding advocate of Union's goal to transform lives and communities. His expertise and experience will assist Union in its mission to engage, enlighten, and empower adult learners to pursue a lifetime of learning, service, and social responsibility."

Allbee is CEO of Grace Cottage Hospital and Rural Health Clinic in Townshend. He said he looks forward to his new role with Union as chair of the board.

"Union Institute & University has been a leader in changing the face of higher education since its inception over 50 years ago. I am excited and honored to be joined by a great team of trustees, administrators, faculty, and staff as Union continues the founders' legacy of transforming lives and communities."

Union Institute & University, headquartered in Cincinnati with academic centers in Los Angeles, Sacramento, North Miami Beach, and Brattleboro, is in its 52nd year of educating highly motivated adults who seek academic programs to engage, enlighten, and empower them to pursue professional goals and a lifetime of learning, service, and social responsibility.


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