Re: Energy and Idealism
From: oz (
Date: Wed, 1 Aug 2012 13:32:19 -0700 (PDT)

On Wed, Aug 1, 2012 at 10:18 AM, Sharon Villines
<sharon [at]>wrote:

> On 31 Jul 2012, at 3:23 PM, oz wrote:
> > Here at Songaia, its often said that part of the glue which helps hold us
> > together is our active food program
> But wasn't Songaia formed around a community that was already eating meals
> together and purchasing food together for private use as well?
> Yes, our Cohousing community emerged from two cooperative households on
two adjoining "lots" (totally 10.6 acres). Our pre-Cohousing community did
share some meals and food buying, which was most helpful since we didn't
have private kitchens.

The fact that it had worked well for those of us living on the land helped
our cohousing community make the difficult decision to try out a similar
"program" for six months. It was controversial, but 100% of our members
participated in the trial and then continued in our program for the first
five years of our Cohousing existence. Over the next seven years, a few
families have opted out for different reasons. During that same seven
years, we've also added people who live on three adjoining properties.

Prior to construction, we identified as the Songaia Community, which then
became the Songaia Cohousing community.

Several Cohousing communities have had unrelated members who lived together
before moving into cohousing. Its a particularly helpful way to build
capital for some people.

> I think this makes a difference. People who are coming to cohousing now
> may include a wider population that is not so interested in meal sharing.

I agree it makes a difference. But to be clear, the wider population is not
so interested in many aspects of Cohousing. Dominant culture constantly
promotes the illusion of independence which makes Cohousing a hard sell to

> I would also  like to hear some generational and household types
> identified posts. I know the people here who are most interested in the
> meal program have children or are from households that cook. Having CH
> meals is a relief for them, not just a social pleasure.
> As a single person household I don't have demands to serve meals to other
> people and frankly, love it. I don't want to be on a rotation of having to
> cook for others at this point.

Hmm, all of our single residents currently participate in our food program,
but not all of our couples or families.

Maybe someday, but I doubt it. I have also become addicted to quiet, calm
> meals.

I love the options that shared meals offer... including having plates
prepared and saved for us - which my wife and I share as we have some
couple time at home.

> If I eat with others, I prefer to go out and be served and leave the
> dishes on the table for someone else to do.

I enjoy that as well, but it $ure cost$, especially for healthy food. The
two of us eat out as a special treat.

> I would much prefer some games of Trivial Pursuit by the fireplace.

I do wish we had a fireplace as nice as the one in the Takoma VIllage
common house - our common house is more basic and utilitarian - but it sure
gets used.

Is it helpful to new communities to hear this stuff or would you rather we
> just keep sending out the standard descriptions of cohousing?
Sure hope so given the energy that some of us, especially you, have put
into typing about this stuff for years.

>  Sharon
> ----
> Sharon Villines
> Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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