Re: Community dinner economics
From: School of Mathematics, U of MN (
Date: Tue, 2 Aug 94 17:18 CDT
On Tue, 2 Aug 94 11:51 CDT, 
Rob Sandelin  <cohousing-l [at]> wrote:

>We (Sharingwood) is looking for information about how groups charge for 
>community dinner meals and do food purchasing?  Do you have a group 
>account, do cooks buy the food and get reimbursed?  Does every one who 
>eats pay each day, weekly or monthly and how much is charged?

Here is how we do it at Monterey CoHousing:

We charge $2.00 per dinner.  Food is purchased by me and the time I use for 
this is "chit-able", meaning I get work credit for it.  I buy at the local 
organic food wholesalers, the retail coop, a CSA organic farmer, 
or anywhere else it takes to get what the cooks need.  We buy rice by the 
25 lb. sack and cheese by the 6 lb. block.   I try to have fresh vegies in 
the kitchen in time for the Monday evening cooks, or if circumstances 
demand, I'll shop twice a week.   I don't go shopping everytime a cook 
needs something for next night's meal.  Such specialy items they buy 
themselves.  Now we are also harvesting from our small garden and swimming 
in zuccini and beans.  When an item runs out, or is in danger to run out, 
the cooks add it to a list of needed items posted on the bulletin board in 
the kitchen. 

We have a food account with its own checkbook and meals are tracked on a 
mealticket where each meal is crossed off with a date by the cooks after 
each meal.  When a cook needs something special for the meal and 
buys it him/herself, the cook can deduct the amount spent from the next 
meal ticket or ask to be reimbursed.   One of our people from the finance 
committee is tracking income from meal tickets and expenses logged in my 
checkbook or deducted from meal tickets.  Once or twice a year a big 
accounting is done to check whether the cost of the meal we are charging is 

We cook Monday through Friday and our meals are simple.  We try to 
accomodate the various allergies of our people and sometimes we are more 
successful than others.  We offer a variety of items, so people can 
accomodate their allergies by picking and choosing.  Also, people generally 
sign up for meals ahead of time, most often the whole week, so that the 
cook can check whether the one with the most difficult allergies is eating 
tonight.  This problem could be the topic of a whole write-up in itself.  
Generally we eat a diet with meat, but not much of it, and lots of grains 
and legumes.  A salad or steamed or sauteed vegetables almost daily.  

Enough said.  I'm getting hungry just writing about all this food.  It's 
getting close to dinner time.

Any other questions, let me know.
Monika Stumpf, Monterey-CoHousing, 
dept [at]

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