Guest architect Bryan Bowen from Caddis Collaborative in Boulder, CO led us through a two-day workshop to design the shared amenities we would like in our community building. One of the most important activities in a community building is regular shared meals. Typically, how this works is that each adult in the neighborhood cooks a community meal with the help of two co-chefs once a month. This provides meals about 5 days a week, but not every family attends every meal. When it’s your turn to cook on the chef team, you choose what you’re cooking and put it on the calendar. Each family signs up for whichever meals they would like to attend; this allows them to skip meals that don’t meet their dietary requirements or those when they have other plans or just want to eat in their private home. The chefs purchase enough ingredients for the number of people that signed up and the cost of the ingredients is divided by the number of people signed up. This service can be an invaluable help to families with young children, single parents, single adults, seniors, or anyone who doesn’t want to cook their own meal every single night. Since you’re only paying for the ingredients and only paying for meals you sign up for, the cost is equivalent or even cheaper than what you would cook as ingredients can often be purchased in bulk. If a community only holds a shared meal a couple of times a year, everyone shows up, but when community meals are held frequently, there are fewer and different people attending each meal, this means the chefs are only cooking for around 20 people and the community meals are smaller more intimate affairs. When you only have to cook a big meal once a month, you can put a little extra effort in or try something special which makes for higher quality than the standard weeknight dinner. This weekend members had the pleasure of sharing multiple meals throughout the workshop.