Payment systems for common meals
From: Joani Blank (
Date: Mon, 11 Oct 1999 02:08:48 -0600 (MDT)
>simplest possible way. We are divided into cook teams of approximately the
>same size, and on the day that my team cooks the members of my team divide
>the cost of producing that meal. Same with each of the other teams. No one
>pays to eat in the common house. The payment comes when cooking. We don't
>have to keep track of costs and do any complicated accounting or collecting
>as a whole community. It's as if we took turns eating in each other's homes
>as guests. The cook team members are the hosts for that meal. It's up to the
>hosts how fancy or expensive a meal they put on. We assume that over time
>the money comes out to roughly equal.

This is a very appealing system.  but  IMHO it only can work without
resentment --in this country anyway--in communities where most of the
people eat most meals. Where I live now some people who have many evening
commitments only eat a few meals every month, but they spend as much when
they cook as someone who almost always eats three times a week. Also, as an
adult living with no children, I think I'd resent paying for the meals for
lots of kids who, obviously do not buy food when their parent cooks.

We did a workshop at Amherst conference about common meals where 8-10
groups described their common meal preparation structures, payment plans,
etc. Perhaps notes taken at that session will be available here or on our
web site. Keep watching.

Joani Blank
Doyle St.  and Old Oakland  (new move-in projected date--it's a moving
target, have you noticed?--January 17)
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