Whenever I think of commoning, the memories of how the people from my Village in the Rural North Western Uganda used to share meals as a family and even as a community amidst scarcity flash my mind. During the festive seasons like Christmas and Easter, the people would pool resources like flour, goats, chicken, vegetables and money which would be used to prepare a big and delicious meal. Families would then gather and share the food and make merry.

Eating together even at a family level can be a powerful way of commoning. Busy schedules of both parents and children today has made it hard to have meals together. But there are benefits that come with regularly eating together at whatever level. Research suggests that having dinner together as a family at least four times a week has positive effects on child development. Family dinners have been linked to a lower risk of obesity, substance abuse, eating disorders, and an increased chance of graduating from high school.

It provides an opportunity for conversation. This lets parents teach healthy communication without distractions from smart phones, television, computers, and mobile devices. By engaging your children in conversation, you teach them how to listen and provide them with a chance to express their own opinions. This allows your children to have an active voice within the family and the community.

At a community level, there is a sense of security that comes with togetherness which can contributes to building values, motivation, personal identity and self esteem. Anti-social behaviors are minimized. Actually in my village there used to be no thieves until when people started individualizing their properties.

It is easier to share family meals today than the community meals but eating together is a very good way of commoning. It may require effort in planning, but the benefits in mental and physical health to you and your family are more than worth it.




  1. u0953238 Says:

    True. eating has a significant role in many global cultures. Even when dishing out the chicken there is a special part reserved for the head of the house. Even on marriage ceremonies, the son in law will only be totally accepted when he meets the lobola obligations intended for the mother in law.

    Its complicated to comprehend when you source your cooking chickens from a freezer in Tesco, or how nice it is to visit your grandmother in your rural home.

  2. maryyamghani Says:

    Good one …. I didn’t know that a research has been conducted on eating together and with such positive out comes

  3. u1059279 Says:

    Eating as a family is one important way of commoning together.It is an ideal time for everyone discuss and contribute on matters.

  4. sdiederichs Says:

    I believe that having meals together is an essential part of a healthy family life, it creates a bond. Yes, sometimes it takes a little bit of effort and patience from all the people who are in the house to all sit down around the table, but it is so worth it. I could not conceive not to have breakfast and dinner with my children when they are around (even if I only start cooking dinner at 10pm on Mondays and Tuesdays:-)) and they know that their friends are welcome. I love dressing the table nicely, the discussions at mealtime, the warmth, the laughter and the slight chaos when everybody gets up at the end of the meal and helps with the cleaning (including my dogs who would love to replace the dishwasher…). My dining table is probably the most convivial piece of furniture in my house.

  5. mundurugertrude Says:

    Yes, Sabine and U1059279.It creates opportunity for everyone to discuss and contribute to matters. I love Sabine’s example on that bit where everybody gets to cleaning including the dogs. That is very nice and I believe its a way of showing a sense of responsibility for the family. if every family could just build such attitude in its members, it would flow to the communities and we would maybe have fewer enclosures.

    To Maryyam: There is a lot of research on food as Commons if you follow: A lot of very interesting information available.

    Although different cultures across the globe have got their different norms and rituals about food.The practice of eating together can still apply every where thus the numerous benefits.

  6. izabelamichno Says:

    Hello everyone,

    I love this subject, that’s really what commoning is about, isn’t it!
    I feel that family meals are one the most important teaching you get (or not) from our home. It is, as you highlighted, a very important time in terms of bonding, sharing the food and it gives a sense of belonging to one family. However, as far as I remember when I was young, I couldn’t be bothered!

    I understood it later, but as a child and a teenager, it was boring and annoying to be obliged to sit with the adults and listen to their conversations, when all I wanted was to eat quickly and go out to play with other kids. The worse was to go a restaurant, where meals were even longer, and I couldn’t understand the point of spending a lot of money and time to only…eat.

    The family meals, that I saw as only the satisfaction of a natural need as child, has played a key role in structuring me as an adult: with certain values, traditions and mentality, which has been conveyed to me indirectly during those moments spent together.
    But sharing food has a very strong bonding power not only with your family, but also with your work colleagues or clients. If you look at the tradition of the Christmas party, it is very much a “team building” moment, which is possible through a shared dinner. Now there is a trend to push people to take time to share food and rediscover those moments together…Even Coca Cola is advertising through a website called:, and it has made 3 films, quite representative of our modern, Western society and moments in which we can share food together. Have a look at the films, I think they are quite funny… I think it is interesting to notice a brand like Coca Cola, a symbol of fast and junk food, orienting its marketing toward a way of sharing healthy and long-lasting meals.

    Bon appetit!

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