Re: Food Values
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Fri, 10 Mar 2006 05:41:19 -0800 (PST)

On Mar 9, 2006, at 8:20 PM, Tree Bressen wrote:

My impression is that if a group wants to have that expectation they had better put it in place early in their development--by the time they have 3/4 of the future members coming to meetings it's too late to get everyone to agree to it.

Those early decisions also determine who is attracted to the group. If such expectations are not stated upfront, people will join who have NO interest in sharing meals. If shared meals 5 nights a week are a value from the beginning, you are more likely to attract people who are interested in shared meals 5 nights a week, and to begin working out your meal strategies early on.

"Meal strategies" include expectations for

Content -- meat, no meat, vegan, vegetarian

Children's behavior -- yelling, running, shouting, adult supervision.

Quality of food -- organic, natural, Standard American, whole, refined.

Meal times -- early, late, on time, late plates, two sittings.

Cost and payment -- group budget, individual meal budget, cooks pay and everyone cooks.

Service -- buffet or "family style" bowls on the tables with place settings.

Obviously these will be worked out over time and will change but the sooner you start thinking about them the more likely the group is to develop around a meal culture. While many people expressed a desire for frequent meals at Takoma Village, after six years we have yet to establish a meal program that fulfills those desires.

Even having delivered pizza on Friday nights has not worked for us unless the one person who organized this for two years continues to do it. Rotation failed. We have a soup and simple group on Mondays that has been going for 2-3 years but varies in size (approx 1/3 of the community) and often does not have cooks so they do pot luck.

For meals to work, the group has to be built around this expectation.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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