Re: [C-L] Food Values
From: Craig Ragland (
Date: Sun, 5 Mar 2006 14:43:51 -0800 (PST)

(1) Most Songaians really value the food program - they consider it a core
part of our community; both the common meals and the common pantry...
something which I understand is fairly rare across the cohousing world?
Note: Songaia's common pantry consists of ~100 items (alot more  if we count
spices & teas) which are  keep in stock -- all members can freely draw from
these stocks with no accountability
(2) Many Songaians are ready to increase our $$ cost - we currently charge
$85/mo for adults and $5 per year-of-age/mo for kids. Its been at this level
for a few years. We recently shifted all our garden expenses to the food
program (about $2/person/mo) and people are willing to pay more if it means
a higher percent organic (we don't really know how much is organic now).
(3) In our circle, most Songaians learned a lot about the values-oriented
decisions that our buyers make on a day-to-day basis, organic vs. "normal,"
local vs. distant, costs, etc. Many had no idea the attention that our
buyers give to this. Again, we have centralized buying from a small team of
dedicated buyers who keep our costs down.
(4) The family that has moved to pantry-only rather than common meals +
pantry on an interim basis REALLY wants to continue in that mode. They do
not see any way that they could come back to common meals, but would feel
really bad if the FFF (Fabulous Food Folk) do not evolve our program so that
they could continue using the pantry. What was frustrating for me was that
they seemed to jump to decision without sharing their process or being open
to possibilities of shifts that might enable them to decide to continue in
the full program.
(5) Some Songaians didn't remember what we had covered in earlier January
food circle. We reviewed that circle, but some were still stuck with the
idea that we were all avoiding dining experience issues that were addressed
in depth at that time.

The agenda was:
(a) Check-in - what can you release to be fully present
(b) Review last circle
(c) Reading from Reinventing Community
(d) FFF: Why do individuals in the FFF do this?
(e) Open conversation, using talking stick - back-and-forth was allowed
(f) I shared a food-related story from Alan Seid, a NVC trainer from
Bellingham. Alan lead a training at the Los Angeles Ecovillage meetings of
the Fellowship for Intentional Community board this fall and is speaking at
Songaia on Wednesday, Mar 8.

The reading I did from Dave Wann's book (Reinventing Community) was
appreciated and the levity it added was helpful - in retrospect I could have
moved it down the agenda.

The next step is for the FFF to meet tomorrow to debrief and propose next
steps - though some of us involved in the program ate together last night
(Songaia doesn't do common meals on Sat night) and the main topic was the

I was torn about whether to allow/encourage dialogs in the open
conversation. I provided very light facilitation during that part and am
sure I could have done better. The dialog did force some unknown issues to
surface, but there was also some defensiveness which escalated, though not
uncomfortably (for me or the others I shared dinner with).

On 3/5/06, cherWorks <cherworks [at]> wrote:
> Craig -- Anything you can share about the process/lessons/outcome of
> yesterday's food meeting at Songaia?
> Cher

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