Re: Subject: Common meals - mandatory participation?
From: R.P. Aditya (
Date: Sun, 3 Aug 2014 20:00:47 -0700 (PDT)
At Great Oak the work system is mandatory for all residents, but meals
dining is entirely voluntary. 

This means that meals work (cooking and cleaning) is one of many
different types of community work folks can choose; if you don't like to
cook or do meal cleans, pick to do something instead, like weeding or
shovelling snow or committee work or one of the 60-80 odd different jobs
each season.

Interestingly, for many years, the two most popular jobs (GO has a
system to match workers with jobs they want using a quarterly survey)
have been assistant cooking and meal cleaning. Committee jobs are
amongst the least popular, though filling all weekday head cook slots
are a challenge some seasons.

Great Oak is 37 households, 4 meals a week.

I'd say that including meals work in our work system was possibly _the_
single most important thing GO has done to build community, and this
discussion on C-L certainly has reinforced that opinion for me!

Great Oak Cohousing
Ann Arbor, MI, USA

On Sun, Aug 03, 2014 at 11:51:11AM -0400, Diana Carroll wrote:
> On Saturday, August 2, 2014, Pat Elliott <pdelliott43 [at]> wrote:
> >  However, I feel our community would be much poorer and less connected if
> > we had fewer common meals and a larger portion of the community who didn't
> > participate at all. Which leads to my unhappiness about potentially going
> > to a completely voluntary system.
> You're assuming that participation will decrease if participation were
> voluntary. Not sure that's a valid assumption.
> Diana
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