Re: Meal Participation Program
From: Richard L. Kohlhaas (
Date: Thu, 21 Jan 2010 14:13:19 -0800 (PST)
Community Meals at Casa Verde Commons , Colorado Springs, CO
          (34 units)

Since we moved in (7 years ago), we have had community meals
twice a week (Sundays, and alternating Tues, Weds and Thurs
evenings).  The Sunday meals alternate between brunch and dinner.
About two-thirds of families participate; some sign up for only half
the meals, and some may drop out for a cycle or two.  .

We have five-person crews: during one cycle (about 3.5 months),
(adult) participants must be head cook once, assistant cook once,
and on cleanup three times.  Sometimes two people will sign up for
all five jobs (two times) to get it over with.  The head cook plans the
menu, shops and pays for the food, and then eats free the rest of the
cycle. This minimizes cash handling and accounting.

Non-participating residents (strictly limited) and guests pay $5 per
meal, with $3 going to the head cook and $2 to the pantry fund.
(Guests of the cook are not charged.)  The pantry is additionally
financed with about one-third of our $5/adult/month community
dues, and is stocked with spices, rice, pasta, lentils, beans, butter,
cooking oil, etc. The cook can draw on this as needed.  Food is
usually served cafeteria-style.  If necessary, the cook will prepare a
vegetarian dish and offer gluten-free items.

The schedule for a new cycle is posted about a week ahead of time
and participants select the days they will work.  Participants are
asked to reserve the Sunday slots for those who have jobs on
weekdays  There is a "permanent" meal sign-up list; persons who
will not be eating and any guests are urged to so-mark the list at
least three days before the meal so the cook can plan quantities.

The cook has first choice of any leftovers, and may offer them to the
other diners.  Very little is wasted.  If a participant will miss a
mealtime, they can ask another participant to pick up a "late plate"
for them.

The system works well.  The food is usually very good to excellent.
There is a variety of cuisines and very rarely has a meal been more
than 15 minutes late.
Dick Kohlhaas <rlkohl [at]>
Colorado Springs (Colorado) Cohousing Community (Casa Verde Commons)
Completed March 2003. 34 units on 4 acres 1.5 mi from downtown. We have a
few resales available.   Visit us at

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