Re: Common meal costs
From: Bonnie Fergusson (
Date: Tue, 14 Jul 2009 12:00:10 -0700 (PDT)
   We also aim for $4 per person meal costs at Swan's Market Cohousing in 
Oakland and I believe the last time the Common House Committee averaged out our 
meal costs to see if we were hitting our target price the average meal actually 
cost $3.75 so clearly it's doable. That doesn't mean that every meal costs the 
same.  Some come out to more and some less but over a 6 month period that was 
the average cost. 

--- On Tue, 7/14/09, Lynn Nadeau <welcome [at]> wrote:

> From: Lynn Nadeau <welcome [at]>
> Subject: [C-L]_ Common meal costs
> To: cohousing-l [at]
> Date: Tuesday, July 14, 2009, 5:02 AM
> Port Townsend WA.
> Someone expressed amazement that RoseWind Cohousing meals
> go for $4.  
> Here's a more full picture.
> The supper cooks can use produce from the vegetable garden:
> the  
> community as a whole pays for a couple family-size shares
> in our  
> Garden Club (rather like a CSA). So in season, which in the
> Northwest  
> is quite a while, there are all sorts of greens, broccoli,
> cabbage,  
> beets, onions, carrots, potatoes, strawberries, rhubarb,
> etc. Not  
> every meal uses garden produce, but  it's an option
> for keeping costs  
> down, not to mention providing just-picked local organic
> produce. Last  
> winter, when the garden wasn't producing much, we added an
> extra fifty  
> cents to the price.
> We don't eat a lot of meat. There may often be a dish with
> chicken or  
> sausage in it. I've never seen a steak or chop or roast.
> Salmon is the  
> big treat, but is local, so not as expensive as elsewhere
> in the  
> country. If there is an expensive component to the meal,
> like salmon,  
> the cooks can either post a higher cost (an extra dollar,
> for example,  
> but it's happened rarely), or decide they want to donate
> the extra  
> cost (sometimes a birthday feast by a family who can afford
> to treat,  
> for example.)  Cooks don't get charged for that meal,
> so for a couple  
> the first $8 over would only amount to paying for their own
> meal, in  
> effect. If over budget, cooks can also announce that
> leftovers are for  
> sale (honor system, tell the bookkeeper "charge me $x for
> leftovers");  
> usually leftovers are free, with first dibs going to the
> cooks. We  
> have a drawer full of yogurt containers etc for people to
> take home  
> extras.
> The fifty cents a meal for the kitty provides flours,
> spices, oils,  
> butter, condiments, and such. So if I make homemade bread,
> for  
> example, it doesn't take anything from my shopping budget.
> Cookies,  
> ditto. If meals are under budget, they still cost the same,
> with the  
> extra going into the kitty for staples (like organic olive
> oil at $45  
> a can!).
> Many of our meals are fairly simple. The last one I cooked
> was a red  
> lentil blended soup (with tomato, onion, garlic, broth),
> green salad,  
> rye bread slices with cheddar cheese melted on them, garlic
> bread,  
> sour cream garnish for the soup, and a rhubarb crisp.
> (Plus  
> alternative non-wheat bread and non-cow cheese, and some
> fresh fruit  
> dessert, for a couple people with allergies.) I think it
> came to under  
> $3 each.
> And some are more elaborate.
> We often serve organic food (including the pantry staples)
> and strive  
> for as much local as possible. There's a good Food Co-op
> here, and a  
> seasonal Farmer's Market.
> Lynn Nadeau
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