Re: Common Meals payment/reservation options?
From: Richard L Kohlhaas (
Date: Mon, 27 Sep 2021 13:09:20 -0700 (PDT)
This is what we do at Casa Verde (until the pandemic):

          Community  Meals  at Casa Verde Commons
                 Colorado Springs, Colorado

Since we moved in (2003), we have had community meals twice a week (Sundays, 
and alternating Tues, Weds and Thurs
evenings).  The Sunday meals alternate between brunch and evening meal.  
Currently, only about one-half to two-thirds of
families participate; some sign up for only half the meals, and some may drop 
out for a cycle or two.  A three-person team does
the scheduling, coordination, and pantry stocking .

We have four-person crews: during one cycle (about 3.5 months), EACH (adult) 
participant MUST be head cook once, assistant
cook once, and on cleanup two times.  Sometimes two people will sign up for all 
four jobs (two times).  The head cook plans the
menu, shops, and PAYS FOR THE FOOD, AND THEN EATS FREE the rest of the cycle. 
The menu can be as elaborate as the
cook desires.  This minimizes cash handling and accounting.

Non-participating residents (strictly limited) and guests pay $5 per meal, with 
$3 going to the head cook and $2 to the pantry
fund.  (Guests of the head cook are not charged.)  The pantry is additionally 
financed with about one-fifth of our $8/adult/month
community dues, and is stocked with spices, rice, pasta, flours,  condiments, 
lentils, beans, butter, cooking oil, coffee, tea, etc.
The cook  can draw on this as needed.  Food is usually served cafeteria-style.  
If necessary, the cook will prepare a vegetarian
dish and offer gluten-free items.

The schedule for a new cycle (after the number of those participating is 
determined) is posted on line.  Participants mark the
schedule when they can  do a cooking or cleanup task; the meal coordinator then 
assigns the tasks.

The menu is usually published before the meal by the head cook.  There is a 
"permanent" meal sign-up list; persons who will not
be eating and any guests are urged to so-mark the list at least three days 
before the meal so the cook can plan quantities.

The head cook has first choice of any leftovers, and may offer them to the 
other diners.  Very little is wasted.  If a participant will
miss a mealtime, they can ask another participant to pick up a "late plate" for 

The system works well.  The food is usually very good to excellent. There is a 
variety of cuisines and very rarely has a meal been
more than 15 minutes late, and very few have been missed-usually due to illness.

In addition to the two common meals per week, we have potlucks (cookouts in 
warm weather) on major holidays.


From:                   Chris Hansen <itschrishansen [at]>
Date sent:              Mon, 27 Sep 2021 11:01:18 -0400
To:                     cohousing-l [at]
Subject:                Re: [C-L]_ Common Meals payment/reservation options?
Send reply to:          cohousing-l [at]

> Feel free to post on-list in this thread! I know it´s been discussed
> many times, and- it´s also a useful topic for ongoing consideration.
> Our community `sells´ theatre-roll paper tickets which get marked
> by unit and date and posted into a box before the meal. Price is $4.50
> per adult- half of that for a half-sized meal. It´s held in a
> `meals´ budget line. Cooks buy food and get reimbursed on
> production of receipt. As of this month, Head cook does not need to
> submit a meal ticket- they get to eat their own creative coordination
> effort for free... !
> On Mon, Sep 27, 2021 at 8:18 AM Valerie Paul <valerie.paul [at]>
> wrote:
> > Hi all,
> >
> > At Bay State Commons (move-in Q1 2022!!), we are working on our meal
> > planning and are interested in hearing about what other communities
> > are doing these days for meal accounting and pricing.
> >
> > I've reviewed past threads and have a good sense of the systems
> > various communities have used in the past but there's nothing very
> > recent and technology is changing so fast it seemed reasonable to
> > put the questions out there again.
> >
> > How do people sign up for meals?
> > How do you collect payment?
> > How much do you charge for meals (if you do)?
> > Does the meals team have a separate bank account?
> >
> >
> > --
> Chris Hansen
> 32 East Village Drive
> Burlington
> Vermont 05401
> Ph 603 3988730
> _________________________________________________________________
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