|Subject: Common meals - mandatory participation?||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Susan Coberly (susandgeorgegmail.com)|
|Date: Fri, 1 Aug 2014 10:23:56 -0700 (PDT)|
In response to Wolf Creek's post on Coho listserve re their consternation on finding people don't want to participate in common meals, We here at La Querencia/ aka Fresno Cohousing [beginning move in Sept 2008] have had an increasingly rocky road with our common meals program. Sorry in advance for the opus... Our Participation Agreement requires each able bodied adult to cook once, clean twice month [currently]. [there is no definition of adult, and we have a few adult children living here with their parent(s) who do not participate] Cook teams are 2, can be 3 or more depending on the complexity of the menu/ size of the turnout. Clean teams are 4, sometimes we have to call for cleaners amongst the attendees. Eating common meals is voluntary. Choosing a date/ day of the week up to the cooks [we initially, and periodically, have considered specifying set days of the week, but each time have decided not to in order to give greater flexibility to cook teams.] We have changed our process several times. Originally the cook team also cleaned. After the first actual common meal, those cooks advocated to have a separate clean team (a cook can also clean if s/he wishes), and the policy was changed. Then, because we suddenly had some families move in, each with a lot of small children), we made the cost per resident child free including age 10, and made the meals 1/2 price for resident children 11 thru 12 [price different for non-residents/ guests]. The cost is the cooks' cost divided by attendees [with caveat that most are adults, some are 1/2 price]. The cost cannot exceed $5.50/ adult *unless* the cooks pre-announce when posting the menu sign up sheet [and hopefully by email] that it could be more; if not announced and the cost exceeds $5.50, the amount over the limit is the cooks' gift to the diners. Cooks get credit for their expenses against which they eat. After a long discussion session at our first annual retreat [very large but not 100% community participation], we changed the policy to provide the ability to call/organize a potluck as a "cook stint," and the ability to "pass" as a cook twice a year "during busy times." [the policy needs to be changed to add if ill or recovering from surgery, although such a person could ask to be taken off the list temporarily because not able bodied, people seem loathe to request this status, and I received a comment that to require people to ask for a change in status, or to respond to a personal confidential inquiry from the committee liaisons whether they wanted to be taken off the list temporarily was demeaning.....] After a hectic 2013 Cinco de Mayo common meal, the first cook stint to 2 new residents who allowed people to add on even an hour before the meal, we changed the policy to allow attendance to be limited in number - if specified on the sign up sheet [and reminded cooks that the policy said and continues to say that whether cooks add folks after the deadline is their "call"]. [Number suggested to be limited to 24 diners, posted on sign up sheet and ideally by email announcement]. The common meals committee decided in February 2014 to *not* send out the stats of cooks/cleans by email [the "atta boy" email thanking those who met the minimum requirement(s), sent to all residents] because we heard rumblings/rumors that it made non-participants feel guilty. We have sent out reminders that a common meal doesn't have to be fancy or complicated, could be a baked potato bar, ordered-in pizza and salad, dessert / ice cream social.... Participation has steadily decreased. People say they are busy. Some have suggested the community reduce committee / weekly chores participation requirements and then maybe they could cook/clean @ common meals. We have 28 homes. One can cook with a housemate/ spouse/ significant other, or find someone else to cook with; we have a few "singles." [I am single [and before my husband died he was not able-bodied] so I send out an email with a date and a tentative menu, asking for a sous chef, and have always been gratified by the quick response(s); sometimes the result is a completely different menu or date...]. The cooks select the date and the menu, post the meal and menu [sometimes menu is ToBeDetermined and later augmented with the actual menu] on the Google calendar, send out an email to all residents a week ahead of the date with the menu, and also a week before post the sign up sheet with the menu in the Common House, with the deadline for signup [24 hrs before the meal is a common deadline]. We allow people to sign up for a place setting [free] so that people who want to attend the common meal can do so with their own food, for dietary or other reasons. People get a pass on participation on everything [committees, chores, common meals] for the first month after moving in, to give them time to get organized and catch their breath. [I still have some unpacked boxes after almost 6 years of moving in, but that's just me.] In June 2014, the most recent month for which the committee has stats, we had 40 adults listed on the participation grid [one is a college age male; two adults really aren't able-bodied but refuse to have their name taken off the list; 1 couple recently had a baby and have a toddler who needs to be supervised while parents cook so frankly I don't count them, and 1 couple was in the throes of moving out so that a buyer could take possession at close of escrow]. Some roommates and college graduates/ working adult children are not on the list. So...in June 2014 we had 5 common meals, and one potluck [goodbye for the family moving out]; 2 adults ended up cooking twice in June. A neighbor and I are co-liaisons of the common meal committee. We and the committee as a whole are anguished. We love the common meals as an opportunity to get together [yes, as Katie M says, the heart of cohousing] and don't want to change the policy to make it even more lax! [suggestions have been made that we disband the program for a year, have quarterly potlucks, and and hold discussions of whether and how to continue.] We have high hopes of some of the new families with young children who have recently moved in and hope that their enthusiasm will pull the 35-45 year olds as well as some of the more senior of us back into the program. Susan Coberly La Querencia / Fresno Cohousing, Fresno California Also, the Program Committee for the 2015 Coho/US conference in Durham, N.C, May 29-31, 2015, is hoping for a workshop/ some discussion/ presentation regarding common meals, as well as other cohousing fundamentals. See below - I am not sure the links will work... If not, visit www.cohousing.org/ 2015conference - or you may email conference [at] cohousing.org . "Coho/US welcomes proposals to lead sessions at the national conference. As a community-design process and as a way of living, cohousing encourages the development of valuable skills that support community, foster sustainable approaches, enhance lifestyles, and encourage civic engagement. This conference will seek to advance those skills both within our communities and outside our cohousing circles to grow our movement. Cohousing residents, professionals, and others involved with cohousing and aligned movements are invited to present sessions. *Submit proposals to lead conference sessions here <http://www.cohousing.org/2015/submit>*. Deadline for submission is October 1, 2014. Conference sessions will be of three types: 1. *Pre-conference Intensives (1/2 day or full day).* Potential sessions might include project management training, building our research network, developing facilitation skills, urban cohousing case study, and creating senior cohousing. 2. *Core Curriculum (90 minute)* sessions will focus on creating and enhancing cohousing communities. The intent is to cover the essentials; we encourage new ideas and approaches. Sessions might include building and bolstering community; marketing & membership; conflict resolution; getting the work done within built communities; design process; green building; group process; meal systems; and more.>/li> 3. *The Next Generation (90 minute)* sessions will highlight our theme. Potential sessions might focus on evolving our definition of cohousing; learning from our children of cohousing, and what we can offer them; re-energizing existing communities; emerging trends in cohousing such as urban affordability, rural “agritopia,” community approaches to aging in place, retrofit and non-traditional approaches; and fostering cohousing-aligned alternative communities. Visit www.cohousing.org/2015conference for our theme outline. *Panel Sessions* – some sessions may lend well to a panel structure. If you are willing to participate as a panel presenter, rather than leading a session, please let us know by emailing conference [at] cohousing.org with your ideas. Special Gatherings In addition to conference sessions, there will be opportunities for special gatherings to network and share experiences. If you would like to host or help organize a special gathering, either one suggested below or a new group, email conference [at] cohousing.org with your ideas. We are currently considering gatherings for - Children of cohousing - Rural cohousing communities - Cohousing research network - Partnership for Affordable Cohousing - Communities celebrating 20+ years Questions? Ideas? Visit www.cohousing.org/2015conference or email conference [at] cohousing.org "
Subject: Common meals - mandatory participation? Susan Coberly, August 1 2014
Re: Subject: Common meals - mandatory participation? Sharon Villines, August 2 2014
- Re: Subject: Common meals - mandatory participation? Diana Carroll, August 2 2014
- Re: Subject: Common meals - mandatory participation? Sharon Villines, August 2 2014
- Re: Subject: Common meals - mandatory participation? Doug Huston, August 2 2014
- Re: Subject: Common meals - mandatory participation? Sharon Villines, August 2 2014
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