Tips, Videos, Handouts

How to build community – Food!

If your meeting is important, share food.

Of course you don’t have to organize a pot luck lunch or even put on a meal, but just having some healthy snacks on hand helps in three important ways. First, it serves as a show of respect for the participants; a way for the host to say “welcome.” Second, maybe one or more of the participants shows up really hungry and simply having a few bites of fruit, grains, or protein can put that person at ease and help them be a much better contributor. Third, having food on the table reminds that we are all human, that we all have basic needs in common, that we are a community.

The word “community” comes from an Old French origin meaning “commonness, everybody” and from Latin meaning “society, shared by all or many.” A religious “communion” spiritually connects people through food and wine.

There are many ways to build relationships and a sense of community but none more time honored than sharing food. Indeed, sharing food might have been the very first reason that ancient people got together, and it continues to help any gathering of people who want to make good group decisions.

See also these related Good Group Tips: Recreation, Take a break, Carrots are better than sticks.

3 thoughts on “How to build community – Food!

  1. Your explanation of the history and tradition of food leading to gatherings is especially enlightening. My VERY small community almost requires food before participation. Your concept has changed my attitude from thinking folks come ONLY for the food. Now you have made me think that the camaraderie is the important draw to the meetings. With my attitude changed, maybe the meetings can be more productive. Thank you!

  2. Thanks for your comment Larry. Good points. Yes, it’s especially good to tell people in advance what’s planned in terms of food and/or ask in advance about concerns.

  3. I really enjoy and appreciate the good group tips you send periodically.

    While having food can bring people together, it can also challenge and cause problems for people with food addictions or who can overeat when too much food is available. I hope you can also acknowledge that that can be a problem and that groups, at the very least, should find out whether anyone has a problem with having food included as part of the meeting. (And, even then, there may be people who have a problem with food but don’t want to acknowledge it.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *