Re: What should I be worried about?
From: R.P. Aditya (
Date: Wed, 18 Jun 2014 13:46:02 -0700 (PDT)
What we did was make meals work part of our work program from the outset
(2004) and those who choose to cook and clean for meals do
proportionally less of other work and vice versa for those who want
mostly non-meals jobs. We have 4 meals a week, and meals work makes up
around 50% of our total work hours -- a total of 8 hours per month per
adult on average.

This has worked well because eating together is the essential glue for
the fabric of our community and having organized meals has been crucial
to reinforce that.

Since we started serving (and billing for) meals in our Common House in
2004, we've had to date:

  2350 meals averaging 27 adults and 10 kids

out of an average of 60 adults and 25 kids in the community over that
time. On average a bit less than half the households in the community
are represented at each meal, and almost every household has eaten at
least one meal in the past year.

So not everyone eats all the time, but many do and meals are seen to
have strong value. We're not immune from grumbling about hours and
cutting the number of meals (we used to have 5 per week), but in general
the meals are seen as essential to describing who we are as a community.

Great Oak Cohousing
Ann Arbor, MI, USA

On Wed, Jun 18, 2014 at 02:31:23PM -0400, R Philip Dowds wrote:
> Many or most cohos allow for occasional or variable participation in meals 
> programs — with the general understanding that the more often you eat, the 
> more often you cook.  Some individuals are quite active in community life, 
> but just don’t like the common meals.  Some cohos report drifting away from 
> the huge (noisy and chaotic?) 40-person dinners, to more intimate sub-group 
> meal events of around a dozen people.  I think I’d be slow to make communal 
> dining any more of a mandatory pre-requisite than communal bathing.
> On Jun 18, 2014, at 1:37 PM, fergyb2 via Cohousing-L <cohousing-l [at] 
>> wrote:
> >        I would add to that get agreement that all adults will participate 
> > in your meal program before you move in.  It's too hard to get a 
> > functioning meal program set up later ...
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