Re: Communal eating question from new UK group
From: S. Kashdan (
Date: Sat, 23 Nov 2002 00:06:01 -0700 (MST)
Hello Helen,

Here at Jackson Place Cohousing, in urban Seattle, we are 27 families. We
moved in over a few months between October and December of 2001. Many of our
members were very excited about getting started on common meals, but the
kitchen in the common house was not finished when we first moved in, because
we decided to hold off to make sure we could complete the project. We
completed our kitchen last April and began meals shortly afterwards. Our
meals process is not difficult for most members. We have a meals club. Each
adult pays $3 in advance and each child pays $1.50 for each meal. The money
goes into a common pool from which the funds for the meals and kitchen
supplies come. We sign up in advance for meals. The kitchen team schedules
and coordinates meals based on who signs up to cook, and what they choose to
cook.  After people sign up, the cooks tailor the meals based on who is
signed up for their meals (with what food preferences--vegetarian or meat
eater--and with what food sensativities or needs). We have two cooks and two
cleaners for each meal. We have five common meals, four on weekday evenings,
and one either in the morning or evening on alternate Saturdays and Sundays.
The kitchen team orders most food in advance based on cooks plans, and we
buy a lot of bulk things wholesale. We also buy from local farmers' markets,
and local farmers when we can. Our kitchen team lead uses a spreadsheet to
coordinate everything, because she is used to using such things. But I think
that there was a description on this list earlier this month or in October
that discussed how to do basically the same thing manually.

But, our common house dining room isn't very good acoustically. We didn't
have it soundproofed when it was built. So, we are finding that the poor
sound quality and the sound level make it unpleasant for many of us during
common meals. Some of us have hearing problems, and that makes it even more
difficult. And some have children, who are speaking at the top of their
voices just the way the adults are. So, many people are now choosing to take
their food home, rather than eat in the common house dining room after a
busy day's work. We are looking into possible soundproofing now and hope to
be able to afford it in a few months.

Based on our experience, I would strongly  recommend that you take care of
your dining room's soundproofing if you want your common meals to be an
enjoyable sharing experience.

Coheartedly yours,
Sylvie Kashdan
Jackson Place Cohousing
800 Hiawatha Place South
Seattle, WA 98144

----- Original Message -----
From: "Fred H Olson" <fholson [at]>
To: "-cohousing-L mailing list" <cohousing-l [at]>
Sent: Wednesday, November 20, 2002 12:51 PM
Subject: [C-L]_Communal eating question from new UK group

Helen Nightingale <helen.nightingale [at]>
is the author of the message below.
It was posted by Fred the Cohousing-L list manager <fholson [at]>
because the message included HTML ;      PLEASE do not post HTML, see
--------------------  FORWARDED MESSAGE FOLLOWS --------------------
Hello from Springhill, Stroud England

We are a group of 30 families currently building a co-housing project in
Stroud, Gloucestershire ( Now that building has started
we are concentrating on the common house and the way in which we see
ourselves living there. We are very exc ited at the prospect of eating
together but find the organisation of such a task a challenge to say the
least.  It would be very helpful to hear about other communities
experiences and how they have managed to accomplish this feat.  We are
particularly co ncerned about administration (meal planning, food
ordering, keeping accounts etc.) and the amount of time that will need to
be devoted to it.  It would seem to be practically a full time job, I
would love to hear of your experiences.

Looking forward to hearing from fellow co-housers
Best wishes

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