Are common meals really so important?
From: Joani Blank (
Date: Fri, 16 Oct 1998 03:24:05 -0500
Are common meals really so important? You bet! I've visited 15 cohousing
communities (and four groups in formation) in the last 3 years, and I would
say unequivocally, that most people living in cohousing feel that common
meals are, in fact, the "glue" that holds the community together. To be
sure, there are some people who attend common meals rarely for all kinds of
reasons, but usually, those are the same people who don't use the common
house for much of anything else either. There may be exceptions, but my
guess is that over time most people who rarely or never eat common meals,
and who aren't involved in some aspect of the common meal preparation, will
eventually become those who feel least connected to the community.

The only common house library I have visited that has any hope of being
used, other than as a place for people to dump books they don't want any
more in their houses, may be happening at Pioneer Valley (Amherst, MA)  If
that library (which is really large) gets used to any large degree, it will
because two of the residents are librarians who have agreed to systematize
the shelving of books there, and set up a system for their use. Even then,
my guess is that mostly people will borrow books from their and take them
to their private residences. 

Joani Blank
Doyle Street CoHousing resident for 6+ years, and future resident of Swan's
Market CoHousing, aka Old Oakland Cohousing, both across the Bay Bridge
from San Francisco
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