community food store/commissary
From: Stuart Staniford-Chen (
Date: Wed, 7 Dec 94 15:57 CST
Judy Baxter writes:

> Monterey Cohousing is currently working on kitchen and related plans.  We 
> have 
> a strong interest from some folks in having a commissary/food store where we
> can buy stuff in bulk and use it for common meals and also have individuals 
> buy
> for individual use.  We are wondering:

> 1-which existing communities have something like that, or which ones have
> planned one

We have a system very like that described. 

> 2-if you have one, what kinds of stuff do you buy?  any perishables? how is
> that handled?

 We only do it for a handful of major staples (black beans, brown and white 
 rice, vegetable oil, a few others I forget).  No perishables.

> 3-roughly how much space (shelf space, etc) do you use for how many 
> households

We have two 18"x36" shelves in a cupboard devoted to this for our 12 houses.

> 4-how is it working?  any suggestions?

It works fairly well.  It's quite convenient to be able to run over there 
when we run out of rice.  It gets used more for community meal than for 
individual use - but it sees a fair amount of both.  

What I'd say is that it's a trade-off between the convenience of the 
individuals who use it, and the amount of work required of whoever is going 
to organize it.  I'd love it if we carried everything under the sun - I'd 
never have to go to the Food Coop.  But it would be a pain for the person who 
actually does the work.  Obviously the success of such a scheme is entirely 
dependent on the energy of the person(s) who actually orders the stuff, does 
the accounting for it etc.  The more energetic folks you have to run it, the 
more extensive it can be, and the nicer it will be for everyone else.


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