Bread and Roses Collective

Syracuse, New York, United States

  • Last updated: January 15, 2018 (3 seconds ago)
  • Listing created on: July 7, 2007

Mission Statement

Activist sustainable housing

Community Description

The Bread and Roses Collective provides a model of cooperative living, ecological sustainability, and affordable housing in the heart of the city. We now have two houses linked by a half acre of land in the progressive Westcott neighborhood of Syracuse, NY, close to Syracuse University and the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry. One house is a beautiful 150 year-old historical house on a quiet residential street in Syracuse, NY. The other is over 120 years old, and newly renovated with a kitchen designed for a collective! We practice the idea of “Food, not Lawns” and have an intensive kitchen garden out front, a bathtub salad garden on our driveway, and backyard raised bed production over approximately 1,000 square feet and growing. It hosts several large raised beds, a six-bin compost system, a collection of baby fruit trees, berry bushes, a growing native plant population, and many storm water capture features. We also have two plots at at Morningside Community Garden which are used for growing more long season crops such as potatoes, cabbage, and garlic. We grow most of our own vegetables June-October, and preserve many types of foods for the winter such as jams, ketchup, salsas, pickles, and tomatoes.

We have a strong commitment to social justice and community participation, with a number of our members involved with local community benefit organizations and initiatives such as Food Not Bombs, The Syracuse Peace Council, The Alchemical Nursery, ArtRage Gallery, the Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation and more. We have organized and led workshops on consensus process and democratic decision making, food preservation, composting, bike fixing, making salves and lotion, natural dyes, and more; and we’ve hosted a number of traveling activists, musicians, and culturally creative persons passing through, or stopping at, Syracuse! With our second house’s location on a busy neighborhood street, we hope to increase our educational and community outreach programs.


  • Type(s): Shared Housing, Cohouseholding, or Coliving (multiple individuals sharing a dwelling)
  • Programs & Activities: Organization, Resource, or Network
  • Location: Urban


  • Status: We have land we have developed on
  • Area: 0.5 acres
  • Current Residence Types: Room(s) in a house or building
  • Current Number of Residences: 2
  • Housing Provided: Rental
  • Land owned by: 501c3 nonprofit
  • Additional Comments:

    We are currently exploring solar panels.


  • Adult Members: 14
  • Child Members: 1
  • Non-member Residents: 0
  • Percent Women: 50%
  • Percent Men: 50%
  • Visitors accepted: Yes
  • Visitor Process:

    Send us an email; we can schedule a time for you to visit and see the house. Sunday evenings for potluck are best, but we also welcome overnight guests and other arrangements. Occasionally there may be a bed available, but sleeping arrangements will usually involve a couch or sleeping bag.

  • Open to new Members: Yes
  • Membership Process:

    We have a 3 step process that involves a written application, an informal visit and tour, and a more formal meeting with all current members. We ask prospective members to begin with either the informal visit or by filling out our short written application describing their interests, experience and expectations. These steps help us to identify any potential issues and give prospectives a clearer sense of the commitments and expectations of living in our community. If our community seems like a good fit after the application and the first visit, we will set up a second visit (preferably in person, but possible to do via internet) with all current members to discuss our values, vision and day-to-day expectations and to learn more about the interested person. We generally do not schedule interviews unless we have a current or imminent vacancy. On average it can take 4-8 weeks from the time of your first visit until we are able to have a final decision.


  • Decision Making: Consensus (everyone agrees)
  • Identified Leader: No
  • Leadership Core Group: No
  • Additional Comments:

    All community members are part of our coordinating committee and participate fully in decision making about the community. We have committees that coordinate various aspects of the community (renovations, gardening, finances, etc.), and we ask that each member participate actively in at least one committee.


  • Dues, Fees, or Shared Expenses: Yes
  • Regular Fee per Month: $400
  • Shared Income: None
  • Required Labor Contribution per Week: 6
  • Open to members with existing debt: Yes
  • Additional Comments:

    We purchase all food and household items collectively and share all utilities.

    Expected labor contribution estimated to be 15-25 hours/month, including: a routine house chore, Sunday cooking rotation, shopping rotation, garden/compost project, maintenance projects, community workshops, and serving on at least one committee.

Sustainability Practices

  • Energy Infrastructure: We are connected to the grid.
  • Current renewable energy generation: Up to 25%
  • Energy sources: Clean Energy from the Grid
  • Planned renewable energy generation: 26-49%
  • Current food produced: Up to 25%
  • Planned food produced: Up to 25%
  • Food produced locally: Between 26-49%


  • Common Facilities: Common House, Garden(s), Workshop, Fire pit, Internet
  • Internet Available: Yes, community provides it
  • Internet Fast?: Yes, exceptionally.
  • Cell Phone Service: Good for most people.
  • Shared meals: About once a week
  • Dietary Practice: Organic (no pesticides or synthetic fertilizers), GMO Free (only non-genetically modified organisms), Vegetarian Only (no animal meat; dairy and eggs okay) – Please check this only if you are 100% Vegetarian, Mostly Vegan
  • Dietary Choice or Restrictions: Somewhat – there are some dietary restrictions or customs.
  • Special Diets OK: Yes
  • Alcohol Use: Yes, used occasionally.
  • Tobacco Use: Yes, used seldomly, or ceremoniously.
  • Additional Diet Comments:

    We all eat together for the potluck. Weekday meals tend to be with whoever happens to be around at the time.

    Vegetarian. No cooking of meat in the house.

    All common food is vegetarian, common meals are primarily vegan, but local eggs and dairy are purchased.

    No smoking in the house

  • Common Spiritual Practice(s): Not a particularly spiritual or religious community, Paganism or Earth Religions, Atheist, Agnostic
  • Spiritual Practice Expected?: No
  • Education Style(s): Up to each family or individual
  • Healthcare Options: Up to each family or individual

Photo Gallery

Community Network or Organization Affiliations

The Fellowship for Intentional Community (FIC)

Community Affiliations

Nickel City Housing Cooperative, Common Place Land Cooperative, Bitternut Collective


permaculture, inclusive, vegetarian