Re: Meal Participation Program
From: R.N. Johnson (
Date: Fri, 22 Jan 2010 17:08:42 -0800 (PST)

I realized I forgot to mention numbers of attendees and price.  We usually have 
13-15 people at Sunday meals, and 6-10 on weeknights, out of our current census 
of 14 adults and four kids. Often that number includes a guest or 3. We don't 
charge for meals.  People did not want to deal with perceived hassle of 
figuring out what to charge, getting reimbursed etc...  It is obviously a 
better deal if you attend most meals.  Our cook/clean teams are usually two 
people, with an occasional Herculean one person team who wants to get out of 
cooking for two months, and occasional 3 person teams for a large meal. 
     We eat a few very simple meals of soup salad and bread, or pasta and 
salad, but most nights we have an entree or two, vegetable and salad, bread, 
dessert, juice and wine. We all choose how much we can  afford to spend on 
common meals. Time is more often a limiting factor than money.  We started out 
with about 5 enthusiastic cooks, 3- oh my god
 don't make me cooks, and several more everyday cooks with varying degrees of 
apprehension about special diets.  We have been pleasantly surprised at the 
time and effort community members put in to making a nice meal for the group.  
If someone can't or doesn't plan to have dessert or wine with a meal, some one 
else often volunteers to make a cobbler, or bring a bottle of wine. 
I initially opposed the no fee approach for common dinners (having spent months 
researching complicated schemes) but have been very pleased with it. I don't 
know how well it would work for a larger group- we are pretty small in the 
cohousing scheme of things, and most of us go to most meals.   One thing I 
really like about it is that we eat much more elaborate and healthier meals 
than most of us would make at home, and those of us who are hurting money-wise 
can adapt without having to forgo meals because of cost.

Randa Johnson
New Brighton
Aptos, CA 

> --

Alison Etter 604-740-0321
Roberts Creek, British Columbia   Canada

If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.
Wayne Dyer


Message: 7
Date: Thu, 21 Jan 2010 14:10:38 -0500
From: Muriel Kranowski <murielk [at]>
Subject: Re: [C-L]_ Meal Participation Program
To: Cohousing-L <cohousing-l [at]>
Message-ID: < [at]>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"; format=flowed

It would be very helpful if those who respond would tell us how many adults 
and children usually come to dinner (20-29, 30-39,...), and how many people 
are on a standard-size cooking and/or cleaning team.
    Shadowlake Village Cohousing
    Blacksburg, VA

At 10:06 AM 1/21/2010, you wrote:

>We have a scheduler who assigns folks to cooking slots (of course, taking in
>account folks' preferences and restrictions).  It is not perfect but thanks
>to the scheduler, it works.
>However, if you have been assigned a cooking slot whose date no longer works
>for you, it is up to you to find a replacement.  Generally, one posts to
>listserv and someone is usually willing to work out an arrangement.
> >>> It would also be helpful to find out how much they charge for a meal per
>The cooks pay for the meal.  Also we do not RSVP.  The cooks take their best
>guess on how many will show up for dinner.  Any leftovers is divided by the
>cooks or shared with the community.  (For dinners when we expect a large
>attendance, we assign more cooks to share the expense.)
>So the cooking team plan the meal, prepare the meal, serve the meal and do
>cleanup.  Who does what is worked out by the team.  We have had this
>arrangement for over 10 years and it works for us.
>Do you know why your meal attendance has been dropping?
>-Robert Heinich
>  Eno Commons Cohousing
>  Durham, NC
>  where we have a house available for rent as the owners are in New Zealand
>for a year.
>On Wed, Jan 20, 2010 at 3:11 PM, Eta Braun <etabr [at]> wrote:
> >
> > I live at Oak Creek Commons in Paso Robles for about 5 years.  We still
> > struggle with scheduling two dinners per week (Thursdays and Sundays).
> > The number of cooks and cleaners has become smaller over time as well
> > as the number of people eating.
> >
> > We would like to hear from other communities how they handle their meal
> > participation program in general and specifically how they ensure
> > enough cooks and cleaners for each meal.  It would also be helpful to
> >
 find out how much they charge for a meal per person.
> >
> > Thank you in advance for giving us this information.
> >
> > Eta Braun
> > Oak Creel Commons
> > Paso Robles, CA
> >
> >
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End of Cohousing-L Digest, Vol 72, Issue 24

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