Re: Re: sliding scale - sharing meals
From: Cathy Angell (
Date: Wed, 16 Jan 2002 17:23:01 -0700 (MST)
>One of the concerns that has
>been raised is how we would handle someone who consistently "abuses" the

>You have to really let go of this.

This is a first  - for me to contribute to the List.   I have been an avid
reader for quite some time - thank you to all!

For many years now , we at Earthsong (West Auckland, New Zealand)  have
recognised the wisdom of building community before we have the bricks and
mortar to support it.

One of the really important ways we have done this is to share a simple meal
before or after our full group meetings, currently held usually every two
weeks.   Our total membership is approximately 30 people, plus their
children of course. (We also provide from group funds for someone to care
for the children - enabling parents to more easily participate.)   Our
meetings have been held in a number of places - supportive tertiary
institutes, church halls, the existing garages on our property,  under the
grapefruit trees at Earthsong  .......

Initially we relied on 2-3 volunteer cooks for each meal, with a donation
plate for people to contribute $NZ 1-2 to cover costs.     This sort of
worked, but often the same people would be cooking time and time again, and
sometimes the donations would not cover costs, so the cooks were out of

More recently we have grouped into 4 cook teams, of 6-8 people per team,
with each team taking responsibility for a meal in turn.

It is acknowledged that within the whole group there are those who are
already giving heaps of time and effort for the project, and those who have
more time available to contribute to our shared meal.  There are also, of
course, different levels of income.  These things  are recognised within
each cooking team.

I, for example, am the Legal Co-Ordinator for the project, and also am
trying to keep my own  business ticking over.  So I have very little time or
energy to cook for a meal, but more than happy to contribute either
ingredients, or cash to the team to buy them, and I usually help with
serving and cleaning up afterwards

No money now changes hands, as it evens itself out over time.    From my
perspective it seems to be working pretty well.   Even though we have had
the usual difficulties during the pre-development phase, we have always
considered the benefits of sharing a meal together to be so important we
have persisted, even when it has been challenging.

It has also been a great way for us to introduce the project to interested
possible new members - invite them to come as observers to our working
meeting, and share a meal with us.

The result is that we are now approaching the end of the construction phase
of stage one (17 of 32 homes, 1-4 bedrooms).   The first five households
finally moved in during this last month!  The remaining 12 units in this our
first stage, should be occupied by the end of April.   What a celebration
that will be!  after nearly 7 years in the making!  And the homes are
absolutely beauuuuuutiful - passive solar designed, rammed earth walls
downstairs, with untreated board and batten upstairs.

If you would like to know more about us, our website has recently been
updated. There is a wonderful collection of photographs.   Have a look at

With warmest good wishes

Cathy Angell

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