Re: Meal Cleaners—any good solutions for getting 'em?
From: Elizabeth Magill (
Date: Sun, 24 Jun 2012 19:08:05 -0700 (PDT)
Our system is similar.

We have a scheduler (me). I take what people want to do, and how often and when 
they want to do it. I make a two month schedule with cooks, assistants and 

We have a vision of four meals a week, but I simply remove from the schedule 
meals the ones that don't have enough staffing.

So my example list looks like this:

Joe (twice a month, Not thursdays, not brunch, not July 4-16)
Sue (once a month, not weekends)
Juan-Luis (once in two months, not august 12-22)

Clarine (once in two months, dinners only)
Duane (once a month, brunch only, two assistants)
Sun-Oak (once in two months, extra clean-up staff helpful)

I have the cooks fill out a doodle poll of dates they are available, about half 
of them actually fill it out.

The result is that we generally have three meals a week (Thursday dinner, 
Sunday dinner and either tuesday dinner or a weekend brunch).
This summer scheduling round (July August) we likely will have only an average 
of 2.5 meals per week, because of not enough sign-ups. (IF i ever finish the 
schedule. YEESH.)

Cooks mostly really commit to the their dates, clean-up folk do not seem to 
treat it as a commitment. There is a lot of trading and sometime a meal that is 
short a full staff. Then people pitch in, and then complain later to me. 
Haven't a clue what I can do about it, but I'm good at listening!

We have no rule about working meals: you pay to eat and are reimbursed for 
cooking expenses (up to a $5 per person cap). 

At the start (three years ago) we had at least one person from every household 
involved in making the meals work, we are now at 87% of households doing the 

I totally would love if people would say "I'll always do first tuesdays" but we 
have a community where almost everyone says they can't plan ahead that way.

Elizabeth Magill

On Jun 24, 2012, at 12:05 PM, Laura Fitch wrote:

> I suggest a formal two month rotating schedule organized by one person.  In
> other words, by affinity,you sign up for a dish washing slot on the first
> monday of everymonth, or the second wednesday of everyother month.
> Whatever works for your time commitment and plesure - but then you stick
> with that year after year unless you request a change.  Same with set up
> and cooking.  If you can't be there, you personally arrnage substitute.  It
> has worked for us fo r oer ten years hassle free!
> Laura Fitch
> pioneer. Valley coho
> On Sunday, June 24, 2012, Martha Wagner wrote:
>> Our food team would like to know how other communities have successfully
>> dealt with a scarcity of after-dinner cleaners. Our kitchen does get
>> cleaned, but often it's the same people who step up to clean when others
>> don't sign up or cancel after signing up. Our community does not use
>> established cooking or cleaning teams, and anyone can sign up for meals
>> whether or not they cook or clean though we request that everyone put in
>> one meal-related hour per month. Both cooks and cleaners do get
>> participation hours and all adults pay for the meals they eat. We have two
>> regular dinners most weeks. Suggestions anyone?
>> Martha Wagner
>> Columbia Ecovillage
>> Portland, OR
>> _________________________________________________________________
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> -- 
> Laura Fitch, AIA, LEED-BD+C
> Kraus-Fitch Architects
> 110 Pulpit Hill Rd.
> Amherst, MA  01002
> lfitch [at]
> Board Member, Cohousing Association of US
> _________________________________________________________________
> Cohousing-L mailing list -- Unsubscribe, archives and other info at: 

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