Re: Are meals an optional or required work expectation in your community?
From: Bonnie Fergusson (
Date: Fri, 3 Mar 2006 17:19:09 -0800 (PST)
     At Swans Market Cohousing every adult community
member is expected to cook once every cooking
"rotation" (about once every 5 weeks in our community
of 30 adults who cook in teams of two).  We have
common meals three nights a week.  You don't have to
eat at common dinner, we sign up for when we want to
eat, don't sign up when we will be out of town, have
other commitments, don't like what's on the menu that
night or whatever.  You DO have to take a turn cooking
however.  So eating is optional, cooking is not.
    The rationale for this is that common meals are
one of the most effective "community building" events
that we know of.  The opportunity to eat with, chat
with, and just generally enjoy the company of our
neighbors at frequent regular meals helps keep us
connected like no other activity we've tried.  Our
common meals work really well and are much
appreciated.  This is where the intention to "live in
community" really shows at Swans.  It helps that the
expectation that all would cook was established before
move in and no one has ever suggested changing that in
the years I've been here.  Other aspects of our Common
meals come up for discussion and revision
periodically, things like how many guests it's OK to
invite at any given meal, late plates, changing the
meal time in summer, etc. but never the basic concept
of universal cooking participation.  My sense is that
the issue of equal work often comes up in different
ways in Cohousing and the solutions are continual
works in progress.  Good luck in working it out.  I
really recommend universal cooking participation.
                Bonnie Fergusson
                Swans Market Cohousing
                Oakland, CA

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