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).