Miriam at the NE Cohousing Summit

What follows are some of the notes that Miriam took on the workshop she attended at the Northeast Cohousing Summit in Amherst, Mass. on the weekend of September 21-21, 2018

Food and cohousing…
“It has been my experience through 40+ years of community living, that the act of caring for each other through food is what bonds / keeps us together in community.”
— Lindsay McLaughlin, long time cohousing resident

At Pioneer Valley Cohousing, community meals are on offer twice a week, with additional meals (a monthly community birthday meal, and other gatherings on occasion). Meals generally include a meat option and a vegetarian option, with other needs (vegan, gluten free, etc.) met as needed. On average, 35 to 50 people attend meals (from the total community of 32 households). The cost is $4 per adult, and $2 per child. Other communities’ prices are in this range, some a bit higher, with some charging extra for meals with meat. Cooks post the meal they plan to make, and the week/few days prior to the meal, people sign up to indicate if they will attend. Other communities operate on an ‘opt-out’ model, where people are expected to attend, and pay for, meals – unless they indicate otherwise in advance of the meals.

Meals are made by one head cook and 2 helpers. Meals are also supported by a team of 2-3 clean up people. All community members are expected to contribute 6.5 hours of work to the community per month. 4 hours per month for Associate members (people who rent, or who take part in the community, but don’t currently live on site).