After five years, thousands of shovels full of soil, 50,000 tons of produce, 100 pages of documentation, countless hours of reading legal documents and answering too many questions about noodles growing on trees, Seed to Table officially became a federally tax-exempt nonprofit attaining IRS 501(c)(3) status as of July 28, 2018. We are officially known as Seed to Table Oregon!

The small envelope announcing Seed to Table Oregon's acceptance as a 501(c)(3) organization contained just two pieces of paper. What a small reward for all the work and headaches; but those two sheets of paper represent a wonderful demonstration of the power of our community.

Nonprofits are not born from one person's idea, but from the desire and willingness for a community to support the idea that we can live better lives. The idea for Seed to Table (S2T) sprouted at the Sisters Science Club under the fiscal sponsorship of the Sisters Schools Foundation five years ago. Since then S2T has grown every year until we were at a point where everyone involved knew it was time for the organization to fledge from its comfortable Science Club nest to fly on its own. Unfortunately for me, by the time we initiated the filing process, we had outgrown the IRS "EZ" process for small groups applying for nonprofit status. I had to do the HARD process.

One of the most critical steps for S2T to increase its ability to serve the community was recruiting a talented and dedicated volunteer board of directors. The board members include Jeff Tryens as chair, Barbara Schulz as vice chair, Ted Johnson as treasurer, Meiko Lunetta as secretary and Kendra Littrell as outreach coordinator. Because this will be the only time that I, as the founder, will be able to choose the board I needed to get it. I am pleased to report that this diverse group and running.

When I first looked into how an organization like S2T becomes a nonprofit in Oregon, "The Oregon Nonprofit Corporation Handbook" rose to the top of my list. I was able to make lots of headway just referencing the different sections of the Handbook but after a month of trying to fill out the HARD form myself, I knew we needed professional assistance. Our organization proved to be a little more complex that the average applicant due to our fiscal sponsorship, size and previous donations.

So, with the board's support, we bit the bullet and hired an attorney specializing in nonprofits. With her help we were able to complete the application within the allotted six-month window and avoid the inevitable rejections that can occur when amateurs, like me, fill out what is basically a legal document. A special thanks to our major sponsors these past few years: Sisters Science Club, Sisters Schools Foundation, Sisters School District, The Roundhouse Foundation, Oregon Community Foundation, Metabolic Maintenance, Richard Clise, Sisters Rotary Club, Meyer Memorial Trust, Collins Foundation, Sisters Garden Club, the Willitts family and so many more for believing in us from the beginning!

July 28, 2018 marks the end of the beginning and I am excited to move forward, officially as a 501(c)(3).

Audrey Tehan is the Executive Director of Seed to Table Oregon.