Fall work party and shared meal at Monterey Cohousing Community

Front of Monterey Cohousing Community building during fall with colorful leaves and grasses in the yard.
Monterey Cohousing
St. Louis Park, MN.
Photo by Rick Gravrok.

More than 20 volunteers completed a wide variety of repairs and other fall projects at Monterey Cohousing Community (MoCoCo) in St. Louis Park on Saturday, October 22. Volunteers included residents of MoCoCo, supporters of Twin Cities Cohousing Network (TCCN), and members of Cedar Cohousing, a group working to create a new cohousing community in the Twin Cities area.

After a deep clean of the kitchen, which was one of the work tasks to be completed, a shared vegetarian meal was organized by Becca Brackett (Cedar Cohousing, TCCN secretary) and cooked with the help of volunteers from MoCoCo and TCCN as other volunteers completed work tasks outdoors.

Two men kneeling on a sidewalk with tools on the ground around them adjusting a latch on a fence post.
Paul Wehrwein (TCCN volunteer) and Fred Olson repairing a gate latch and post. Photo by Rick Gravrok.
A group of four adults and one child sitting at a round table enjoying a shared meal cooked by volunteers after outdoor work tasks were completed.
Enjoying a shared meal in Monterey Cohousing Community’s dining room. On the left are Jon Haftek, his partner and child, MoCoCo resident Ellen Thomas in back, and Becca Brackett of Cedar Cohousing group on the right. Photo by Rick Gravrok.

TCCN picnic report in the news

TCCN’s July 20th summer picnic was attended by local writer John Horchner who wrote about his experience talking with attendees about their interest in creating and living in cohousing communities. His commentary, “Can cohousing solve Twin Cities’ economic inequality,” was published in the September 2020 issue of the Park Bugle, a local newspaper serving a number of St. Paul’s neighborhoods near the University of Minnesota’s St. Paul campus.

The picnic was attended by about forty people who included representatives of newly forming groups, groups that have been meeting for a while, and people who were interested in learning more about cohousing.

For more information about cohousing groups forming in Minnesota, subscribe to TCCN News, an almost-monthly electronic newsletter.

Author John Horchner with TCCN volunteer Paul Wehrwein at TCCN’s summer picnic.

Getting It Built workshop offered by Chuck Durrett, et. al.

When and how does a core group start figuring out the location of their future community?

A fast-track local group is forming to bring experienced cohousing architect Chuck Durrett and his associates to the Twin Cities for an intensive weekend-long “Getting It Built” workshop.

Anyone who is interested in being involved in creating a cohousing community sooner rather than later is encouraged to express interest by emailing the address below. Details will be provided to you. The goal of the workshop: to vet and explore the possibilities of a particular site for a cohousing community. Tentative dates for the workshop are Mar. 4-5, 2017.

If you are interested, you MUST email John Kalmon john@jpkalmon.com to get all the details and receive updates. Include your name, phone number and comments/questions.

The information you provide to John will only be shared with Durrett, The Cohousing Company associates, and the other individuals who sign up.

Please share this information with others who might be interested in the workshop.

Potluck next step after the Durrett talk

by John Kalmon

We had a great turnout for the presentation on cohousing by Charles Durrett, who took us through a verbal tour of many cohousing communities, accompanied by great photos and punctuated with stories that were engaging and enlightening. He described how cohousing improves peoples’ lives by bringing a new level of social connection into their day-to-day activities.

As an example, Durrett recalled an elderly woman who moved from the home closest to the parking area to the furthest away because it improved her relationship with her neighbors, which she described as more important than her relationship with her car.

The idea of resource sharing was explained—not only lawn mowers and common-house amenities, but more importantly the opportunity to share one’s time, knowledge or emotional support. All this can and does happen easily because of the arrangement and design of the structures, and because the people who have chosen to live in cohousing recognize that their social well-being and connections are among their highest priorities.

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Durrett spoke of “social tax” as well, the work a community needs to put in to assure long-term success. This needs to be addressed early in the formation of a core group by establishing their goals and values, and learning how to make decisions as a group, often by some form of consensus. Stories of specific challenges faced by groups and how they overcame them were very informative.

The audience asked good questions. Stimulating conversation continued among attendees long after the presentation, and many pitched in without hesitation to stack the chairs!

To learn more about what is happening locally in cohousing, please continue to check our website and sign up to receive TCCN News, our e-newsletter, which will bring you all the latest news and events. We hope to see you at our next event on October 20th.

Cohousing community potluck dinner: the next steps

Join us!

Individuals, couples and families interested in further exploring cohousing in the greater Twin Cities (MN) area are invited to a potluck dinner and program designed to get to know one another, and to deepen the conversation about community and how we might envision the cohousing place where we’d each feel comfortable and happy. Register here.

Core Groups

At least one person from each of the core groups will be there so that you will have an opportunity to talk with them.

TCCN has rented the fellowship hall at St Frances Cabrini Church in the Southeast neighborhood of Minneapolis. Please bring an item for the potluck, along with an ingredient list. Admission to this followup event will be by donation at the door to cover hall rental, photocopying, and other expenses. Suggested: $5 TCCN members; $10 non-members.

RSVP

If you know you plan to attend, please RSVP so we can have some idea of how many to expect, but don’t let that stop you if you decide at the last minute to show up. See you there!

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St Frances Cabrini Church, 1500 Franklin Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414