Author Topic: The future of SUN, an update.  (Read 5391 times)

Offline luciddreams

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The future of SUN, an update.
« on: January 26, 2016, 05:24:35 PM »
Although there has been nothing going on here on this forum for some time now, I'm hoping that will change soon. 

WHD and I spoke via phone last night for a little over an hour.  We concluded that we would begin attempting to breath new life into SUN via this forum. 

GM and I are going to be in a position in the near future to buy some land here in the Upstate of SC.  We are talking about donating it to the SUN to get something on the ground.  Currently the idea is to cultivate a bamboo and Permaculture plant specific nursery on the land.  There are a lot of inns and outs and what-have-yous that will be involved with such a thing.  It will benefit GM and I by giving us a tax break as well as being able to operate on the land without needing to pay property taxes on it. 

My current bamboo nursery, Kitsune Bamboo Nursery, has already made some bamboo sales this year.  Along with the site being a nursery we will also focus on spreading the culture of bamboo in America.  Not just growing bamboo but actually using it.  Currently I am interning with Keiji Oshima in Hendersonville NC at Haiku Bamboo Nursery.  Along with learning to cultivate bamboo groves for specific purposes (such as for shoots, weaving, and landscapes) I've also learned to split bamboo with a traditional Japanese bamboo knife.  Eventually I will learn to weave with the splits.  I'm also learning to make Shakuhachi flutes (as well as how to grow and harvest the bamboo for that specific purpose).   I'll be learning how to make charcoal with it soon as well as how to cure it via fire.  I have interest in learning to build with it, and I've been learning how to craft with it. 

Beyond focusing on bamboo we will also be raising permaculture shrubbery (nitrogen fixing plants such as goumi, seaberry, and veronia amongst others), nitrogen fixing trees, as well as dynamic nutrient accumulators and other rare and useful plants. 

What we need are people with knowledge specifically with using non-profits to benefit us the most.  We need a good grant writer.  We need to identify people in the Upstate of SC that will be interested in becoming involved with SUN.  We also need to begin revamping Sun4living to get it more up to date.  Currently there are many bones but not much meat on our website. 

Any ideas about how to proceed are welcomed here.  Please let's get this site moving so that we can gain interest and make SUN a reality on the ground.   

Offline RE

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Re: The future of SUN, an update.
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2016, 09:19:46 PM »
Nice 2 C SUN☼ getting active again.  :)

We will need to have a meeting to discuss how to proceed from here.

RE

Offline luciddreams

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Re: The future of SUN, an update.
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2016, 10:02:44 PM »
Nice 2 C SUN☼ getting active again.  :)

We will need to have a meeting to discuss how to proceed from here.

RE

a phone meeting?  Why not discuss it via forum?  We could always discuss in a non-public thread, but I think all agents involved should be privy to the information. 

Offline Surly1

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Re: The future of SUN, an update.
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2016, 03:22:21 AM »
It makes a great deal of sense to review the bidding, IMO. Much has changed since SUN was first a vision. Much. The advantages of a forum discussion include having a written record; those of a phone meeting are to get much more said and done in a brief period. Also for a phoner, people have to commit to be there.

Am glad and grateful to see some activity on SUN and want to do whatever I can to help.

Offline luciddreams

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Re: The future of SUN, an update.
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2016, 10:57:43 AM »
It makes a great deal of sense to review the bidding, IMO. Much has changed since SUN was first a vision. Much. The advantages of a forum discussion include having a written record; those of a phone meeting are to get much more said and done in a brief period. Also for a phoner, people have to commit to be there.

Am glad and grateful to see some activity on SUN and want to do whatever I can to help.

Well I'm glad to see someone finally respond here.  Thanks Surly!  GM and I have  been talking a lot about SUN lately.  Mostly we are realizing how much of a time requirement it is to run a non-profit correctly.  It's like running another business.  I am busy with my business ventures.  Ancient Earth Landscaping has been a good success so far, as has Kitsune Bamboo Nursery.  I really have three businesses.  AEL is conventional landscaping (due to necessity initially at least), permaculture design and implementation, and bamboo.  GM is busy with the chamber of commerce in her hometown, photography, and a new start up business called "Community Relations."  There is virtually no interest in SUN outside of right here right now. 

Which is a problem.

Also, it has to be local for it to make sense.  We need to use the SUN forum as a platform to discuss what SUN can be with people who are local to us.  I think that is the most important part of this.  If it's people spread out all over the place, that's awesome for interest, but unless those people are interested in starting a SUN site where they are it doesn't amount to much.  We are just about ready to let SUN go at this point.  We are talking about spending a large chunk of change (for us at least) on buying property to donate to SUN to get it going.  But if we can't get any interest going here than what's the point?  I don't want to make our lives more complicated.  We are not rich, we are just a husband and wife.  We can't be SUN in it's entirety.  It's looking like we can just get ourselves in trouble with this non-profit by donating land to an organization that we are the entirety of.  Just looks like we are trying to get out of paying property taxes and game the system. 

We are concerned that buying land and donating it to SUN, given what the organization is now, that we will just be ensuring the IRS puts their magnifying glass on us.  We are both self employed.  My business will be a year old this May.  We do NOT need the IRS paying more attention to our activity any more than they already do.  William is concerned that the IRS is going to start pursuing small businesses like they've done in England. 
« Last Edit: January 28, 2016, 10:59:35 AM by luciddreams »

Offline WHD

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Re: The future of SUN, an update.
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2016, 11:32:50 AM »
LD,

I don't think you have anything to fear from the IRS, as long as the majority of revenue stays with the Non-profit, and there is a clear dilineation between your money and the foundation money. But then the point of that money cannot be more land, for the benefit of your business alone. Maybe you buy the land, donate it to SUN, rent 1/4 of it, rent other 3/4 to similar entreprenuers?

WHD

Offline WHD

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Re: The future of SUN, an update.
« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2016, 11:40:13 AM »
As for the future of SUN, we might make the Forum more prominent on the front page. It takes like three links to get to the prospectus. There are a lot of bones on the front page, little meat. Perhaps Haniel will get involved again in the tech? LD, what about an article on your thinking about the land, what to do with it?

Offline WHD

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Re: The future of SUN, an update.
« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2016, 11:50:36 AM »
It also appears once i am in the forum, im locked in the forum and cannot get back to the main page.

Offline luciddreams

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Re: The future of SUN, an update.
« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2016, 05:45:11 PM »
As for the future of SUN, we might make the Forum more prominent on the front page. It takes like three links to get to the prospectus. There are a lot of bones on the front page, little meat. Perhaps Haniel will get involved again in the tech? LD, what about an article on your thinking about the land, what to do with it?

I spoke with Haniel on FB about it and he seemed interested.  He was about to attend a work meeting and we were supposed to catch back up but never did.  Making the forum more prominent is a very good idea, as is an article about my ideas for the land. 

As far as the money aspect goes...as always that is a tough one.  We are not in a position where getting less income is a possibility for us.  We need as much money as we can make with our business ventures.  We're also starting to loose confidence in the whole idea because it's just GM and I here.  We can't be the entire thing.  It seems we need to figure out how to get people locally involved in the efforts of SUN.  Let me put that into perspective.  I am the only "Permaculturist" in this county, that I'm aware of at least.  The next county, Greenville, is pretty progressive and there is a Permaculture scene there, but it's 30 minutes from us. 

Offline WHD

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Re: The future of SUN, an update.
« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2016, 11:58:55 AM »
It will be easier getting people involved, if you have something tangible to show of the SUN. Build it and they will come. It is also true however, you could own the land, build it out for your needs, build the economic foundations, then buy land to donate...

Offline jdwheeler42

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Re: The future of SUN, an update.
« Reply #10 on: March 15, 2016, 02:08:18 PM »
I don't think you have anything to fear from the IRS, as long as the majority of revenue stays with the Non-profit, and there is a clear dilineation between your money and the foundation money. But then the point of that money cannot be more land, for the benefit of your business alone. Maybe you buy the land, donate it to SUN, rent 1/4 of it, rent other 3/4 to similar entreprenuers?
The key here is that no more than 50% of the donations come from any one person/organization.  Hence the popularity of "matching donations" for pledge drives, they automatically guarantee that condition.  It's not that you can't have such a non-profit organization, but they are called private foundations, and they have a whole different set of rules to follow, and they have to be set up that way from the beginning.

The main question is not so much one of LD and GM's taxes as it is a matter of keeping SUN's 501c3 status.

Offline jdwheeler42

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Re: The future of SUN, an update.
« Reply #11 on: March 15, 2016, 02:27:21 PM »
One thing regarding the future of SUN: I think people should check out http://permaethos.com/ -- that pretty well fit my original ideas for SUN.  Doing that at this point would be a losing proposition, trying to do a "me too" project in a niche that is already getting crowded.

The mantra that runs in my head that I think could apply to SUN is "learn to live on land that no one wants with people no one wants using things no one wants."  Is it possible?  Maybe; probably not.  But if we could find a way to do that, we could be an unstoppable force.  Because we would grow in society's blind spot, where people choose not to look.