Re: RE: Are meals an optional or required work expectation inyour community?
From: John Beutler (
Date: Sat, 4 Mar 2006 18:23:26 -0800 (PST)
Eno Common's system is a good deal like Liberty Village's. We have cook teams of usually 4 people. Some folks don't get scheduled as cooks if their schedules are problematic- we have a number of night shift nurses who aren't all able to participate every 4 month planning cycle. We usually have veggie options

Of course, not yet having a common house is a big missing piece for us, but we'll get there eventually. We have 6 community meals a month. In addition, we have developed a system of "pods" which are smaller groups which eat together on an irregular basis. Mine, the famed Bean Pod, does a dinner about once a week to every 10 days. There are 3 families in it who rotate cooking.

We've tinkered with our format here and there. In summer, we'll do BYOM (bring your own meat) dinners where everything else is provided. These are usually at our picnic tables if the weather cooperates. Recently we tried a BYOF (bring your own food) to accommodate a member with serious food allergies and no one showed, but usually we have 25-30 folks at meals, which is about half of the population. No sign ups or charges, but it usually works out pretty well. On weekdays we often have KISS dinners (keep it simple sweetie, or whatever) which tend to be less fancy - sometimes soup and salads.

None of this is linked to community work, which is also not accounted for strictly, but seems to get done.



At 05:49 PM 3/4/2006 -0500, Robert wrote:
At Eno Commons we have a different cooking arrangement which works for us.

On our system the cooking team does everything. They plan the meal, they purchase the ingredients, they prepare the meal, they serve the meal and they clean up. Granted it is a lot of work but one only needs to serve about once a month. This system is completely separately from the expectation of labor for community tasks. Generally, those who eat are placed on the cooking schedule. (Now if life events prevent you from cooking for awhile, just the master scheduler and you are not scheduled. No one monitors.)

Outside of a ban on peanuts in community meals (one of the kids is deadly allergic to them) and providing a vegetarian option, the cooks decide to create any meal. Some of the meals may be more meat-centric than the vegetarians/vegans may prefer and when the vegetarians/vegans cook there may not be an entry with meat.

Oh, another item ... no sign-up sheet. If you want to come to meal, you come. The cooks will make a guessestimate and prepare for that many people. Sometimes there are leftovers and sometimes those who arrive late may have slim pickings. Our planning is good enough for us not to want to deal with a reservation system.

We also use the 'trust your neighbor' approach to our expectation of labor. If you can contribute on a work day, known to us as Community Dayz and always a meal is included, or a task, great. If your time is a bit crunched and you can not contribute during a particular Community Dayz, contribute on the next Community Dayz when life is not throwing so many curve balls at you.

Does everyone contribute equally? No, but we do not expect equality but trust our neighbors to make a good faith effort. Some will always contribute more and that is their gift.

We operate more on fewer rules and higher trust.

-Robert Heinich

 Eno Commons

 Durham, NC

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Liberty Village, MD
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