Building Community


In “The Secrets of Long Life,” National Geographic author Dan Buettner looked at three groups of people on earth that are unusually long-lived. Among other shared traits, he found that all three groups often eat their meals together. Whether it is with family, friends, or groups of total strangers, it is healthier to eat together than it is to eat alone.

If you regularly share your meals with others, we suggest inviting friends who eat alone to come dine with you once a week. If you regularly eat alone, invite your friends to a weekly community potluck dinner. If you need to build new community, look for community meals in your area. Look up events at your local Grange, church, mosque, temple, or synagogue. And there are always Food For People groups serving free meals where you can volunteer to serve.


Oftentimes, chores and childcare tend to sap precious time that we could use for self-care. On top of that, many of us can’t afford to pay someone to mow the lawn and take care of the kids. We offer two simple solutions that help with chores and childcare while also building community in wonderful ways: work parties and childcare co-ops:


A work party is a simple idea that is free, fun, and practical. At a work party, 3-6 friends who each live in separate houses converge on one house for the day to do chores, eat, and enjoy each other’s company. Do it once a month, gathering at a different house each time. Here’s an article about How to Start a Work Party.

Humboldt Worker Bees is a very successful work-party collective started by Middleway Network and funded by the Grassroots Grant.


Childcare co-ops are a great way to save money and build community. Find 1-3 parents of small children to share childcare on a rotating basis. Choose families with similar lifestyles and parenting attitudes. One parent can easily care for about three children. If you have six kids to take care of, you’ll need two parents to hold down the fort while the others enjoy a few precious hours of freedom. With good scheduling and coordination, you can eliminate the need for day-care altogether. Click here for detailed instructions on starting your own easy childcare cooperative.

The Humboldt Parent Hive formed as a Middleway Network childcare co-op. They are a great example of what an inspired group of parents can do.

This is part of the Middleway Preliminary Practices free online wellness program. Learn more here.

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