Re: Meals
From: Elizabeth Magill (
Date: Wed, 16 Sep 2015 13:17:11 -0700 (PDT)
Yes. At Mosaic Commons, in rural-ish Berlin, MA we have a system where, so far, 
you can do what you want to do. 
We have 34 households, oodles of renters, and I think that 3 households do no 
meals work (not counting the renter who just moved in nor the family with a 
member in hospice). There are several individuals who do no meals work.

I personally have not done any meals work since I gave up the scheduling job 3 
years ago. 

We have 3 meals a week (I think about once a month dropping one due to lack of 
workers). I can't think of anyone outside a small percentage of our renters who 
don't come to SOME meals and a large majority of the community comes OFTEN to 
meals. No one comes to them all. Meals run from 12 to 50 people, but tend to be 
about 30.

People tell the scheduler what they want to do for the next two months (cook, 
asst cook, clean-up) and what are their restrictions (not this date, only 
Tuesdays, only dinners, no mornings, etc.), and how often they want to be 
engaged: clean runs generally 2-5 times in two months, cooks 1-2 times per 

Our scheduler creates a big outline of the meals, and stickies with the 
volunteers, and people who want join him in making the next schedule by moving 
around the sticky squares. (when I did it this took 2-3 hours every 2 months 
but I didn't do the cool come help method.) (ALSO every two months one of the 
geeks said "there should be a way for a program to do that for you. I finally 
just learned to say "ok" and ignore them.) 

Cooks plan, shop, and budget (delegating whatever they choose to the asst 
cook), keeping their meal cost around $1 per person less but no more than $1.00 
per person more than the amount we charge for the meal. 

Eaters read the email which gives the food, the adaptations available for food 
allergies and preferences, and a deadline to sign up. They sign up (generally 
by google form, sometimes by email) and then show up and eat. As part of the 
sign-up they identify if they should be billed half or full, and some cooks ask 
which items the eater plans to eat. Dinner is $4 and other meals are $3.50 (i 

(Most of the time our meals have vegetarian, meat, nut-free, and gluten free 
options, many also have vegan and meat without dairy options.)

Cooks turn in a sheet with who ate and how much they should be charged (that 
is, full or half) and how much they need to be "reimbursed". No receipts are 
required, and usually the household doesn't get any money back, it is just 
credited to their account. THose of us who never cook must put money into our 

The meals account is kept separately from the HOA and cohousing funds and 
handled by a volunteer. 

We also pay about $1 per serving for leftovers. This keeps our system "flush" 
for when someone falls behind in their account, and we sometimes use that extra 
money for food for parties.

We are a new community (just 6 years from move-in) and our newly started 
"getting the work done" ad hoc team is discussing the challenges new 
communities face. I believe they are discussing now whether we will have "work" 
and "meals work" as one item or two.

(The Rev.) Elizabeth M. Magill

On Sep 14, 2015, at 6:52 PM, Ann Zabaldo <zabaldo [at]> wrote:

> Are there any cohousing communities out there that allow members to pay only? 
> And not cook or clean?
> Under what circumstances do you allow this? For instance if a person has a 
> new baby, is elderly, has a serious conflict etc.
> Do any of you have a system in which only some people cook and clean and 
> other people only pay?
> Thanks!
> Ann Zabaldo
> Takoma Village Cohousing
> Washington DC
> Sent from my iPhone
> _________________________________________________________________
> Cohousing-L mailing list -- Unsubscribe, archives and other info at:

  • Re: Meals, (continued)
      • Re: Meals Kathy Tymoczko, September 15 2015
      • Re: Meals Elizabeth Magill, September 16 2015
    • Re: Meals Sean Davey, September 15 2015
    • Meals Rod Lambert, September 15 2015
      • Re: Meals Sharon Villines, September 15 2015

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