Re: Common Meals and Food Allergies/Intolerances
From: Eva Passalacqua (
Date: Tue, 14 Jul 2009 07:14:12 -0700 (PDT)
At Rocky Hill, we have a number of community residents with special dietary needs, food allergies and intolerances -- I'm guessing that's pretty much the case everywhere. There are pages that list people's food issues in our common meals book, and folks who are cooking do their best to accommodate individual needs when they plan their meals -- although this can definitely be a challenge at times!

There's no one in our community who has a severe nut allergy or celiac that would restrict them from using the kitchen or eating food cooked in the kitchen. We do have a couple of community members whose dietary needs are such that it's difficult for them to eat many of the meals. They generally bring their own food to meals -- as they're not eating, they're not charged for the meal.

In terms of meals and work participation, I think the important thing to keep in mind is that common meals are an important aspect of living in community -- you do miss out on having someone else cook a meal for you, of course, but you can certainly share in meals and in community just by showing up!

If you choose to become part of a cohousing community, I think you'll be able to work out ways of making this work for you. Of necessity, you'll need to educate folks around you about celiac -- I'm sure you've experienced this already -- but I think you'll find that people will want to work with you so that you can participate in meals while maintaining your health.

In terms of work participation, you could do something like occasionally preparing a dish in your own kitchen to contribute to a meal. For me, work participation in common meals is not just an obligation -- it's a real joy for me to prepare food and share it with folks. I'm sure you can find ways to contribute to meals that are safe and rewarding for you. Or you can also do other kinds of work participation instead if that proves too difficult -- I'm sure that folks would always understand those choices.

Best of luck to you as you learn about living in cohousing! If you're in the Northeast, come visit us at Rocky Hill, where we're enjoying a beautiful, bountiful summer and have a couple of houses on the market!

Eva Passalacqua
Rocky Hill Cohousing
Northampton, MA

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