Re: Common meals - mandatory participation?
From: Jenny Guy (
Date: Tue, 19 Aug 2014 21:19:26 -0700 (PDT)
What an interesting thread, so many takes on meals programs!
Congratulations to Songaia for having such a robust meals program while
being totally voluntary. It looks like the other voluntary systems don't
have as many meals, but if the casual atmosphere is more important than
frequent meals, then that sounds like a great fit. I'm also impressed that
2 communities reported having people who just love cooking for everyone, so
everyone gets to eat, without having to cook.

WRT the original question, my thought would be not to throw out a mandatory
program that's working for most, but maybe negotiate with the folks who
don't like participating in meals, to see if there's alternative work they
can do. I would think it might work to try this out as a 'special
arrangement', rather than throwing it open to everyone. And, as a couple of
people have mentioned, it would really depend on why they don't like the
meals program. It's unusual to really dislike both cooking and cleaning up.

Sharon, I do agree that one good approach would be to have cooking just be
one of the jobs in the workshare program, as long as there ended up being
enough cooks. I think it might hinge on how many people wanted to cook;
you'd want to be careful not to end up with no meals.

And that gets into one of life's big issues, how much can you do the work
you love and are good at, and how much do you have to knuckle down and try
to focus on tasks you don't feel suited for. I guess that partly depends on
whether you're surrounded by complimentary types, and how much they're

Jenny Guy
Kingfisher Cohousing, Oakland Calif.

On Fri, Aug 15, 2014 at 5:43 AM, Sharon Villines <sharon [at]>

> On Jul 31, 2014, at 7:33 PM, Pat Elliott <pdelliott43 [at]> wrote:
> > we learned, to the surprise of most of us, that for members of two or
> three households participating in the program is painful, if not traumatic,
> whether as members of cook teams or eating at common meals.
> I can think of many reasons this might be true but I'm wondering
> specifically what their reasons were.
> (From reading these messages, I'm becoming more convinced that the work of
> meals should be considered part of workshare whether people eat or not.)

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