RE: Food Values
From: Alexander Robin A (
Date: Fri, 10 Mar 2006 13:24:19 -0800 (PST)
If cooking and communal eating are to be a large part of the community, I would 
recommend two things very strongly: 1) make sure the communal dining room has 
excellent acoustics, and 2) make sure it is not so cramped that it makes it 
difficult for handicapped people to navigate. My wife and I lived in a 
cohousing that had communal meals 1 or 2 times a week. We could not 
participate, and even though I love cooking, I withdrew from the cooking 
rotation. I have a hearing loss that is mostly ok due to hearing aids, but they 
don't work well in a noisy environment and my wife used a walker and just 
couldn't get to the food or maneuver among the tables that were too close. The 
noise level made it impossible for me to hear conversations but even people 
with normal hearing found it annoying and stressful.
It helps a lot to build with acoustics in mind. Trying to solve the problem 
after the fact is either very expensive or only partially effective.
Robin Alexander


From: Tree Bressen [mailto:tree [at]]
Sent: Thu 3/9/2006 8:20 PM
To: Cohousing-L
Subject: RE: [C-L]_ Food Values


Rob S. wrote:
>It's a bit unusual to expect every person in a cohousing community to
>participate in a community meals system, in fact, as far as I know, its
>unheard of. Perhaps you should rethink the expectation.

Doesn't Doyle St. in Emeryville, CA (where Katie M. & Chuck D. used to
live) have a requirement that everyone cooks?  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.

In my (non-cohousing) community ( everyone is
required to cook and it's *wonderful!*  Our dinners, which happen 5 nights
a week M-F, are one of the best things about living here.  Because we cook
in teams, new members who sometimes believe they can't cook get plenty of
support.  Even after 5+ years it continues to amaze me that i only have to
cook once a week and then 4 nights a week i can show up at 6:15pm and there
is food on the table.

I also notice that when i have been feeling a bit frustrated toward one of
my housemates, i feel grateful toward them for providing dinner and that
feeling overflows into my general attitude toward the person, thus
smoothing community relations.




Tree Bressen
1680 Walnut St.
Eugene, OR 97403
(541) 484-1156
tree [at]

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