Food and Accommodations

Food and Accommodations

Food and meals

What we serve

Our IMS Kitchen has developed meal plans over the decades that support a meditation environment. We balance the need to provide nutritious food for all our retreatants with a level of renunciation that is beneficial to practice. To this end, food is available only at meal times.

We serve tasty, varied, nutritious vegetarian meals that often include dairy and eggs. The main meal of the day is served at lunchtime, with a lighter dinner offered in the late afternoon. At breakfast, we serve oatmeal, bagels, and an alternative cooked grain. A selection of caffeinated and herbal teas are freely available at all times, as well as milk, soy milk and sweeteners. Miso paste is also always on hand. Hard-boiled eggs are available all day.

All of our meals are served buffet-style, with ingredients listed next to each dish. For those with allergies to gluten and/or dairy, a simple, non-animal protein, a gluten-free grain and a plain vegetable are available at lunch.

Whenever possible, if the main dish contains gluten and/or dairy we prepare the same or a similar dish without gluten and dairy.

Read about the ethical consideration of our food service.

Food you can bring

Our Retreat Center and Forest Refuge kitchens are small and busy places that do not have the resources to respond to individual needs. Our cooks cannot provide specific snacks or cooking equipment.

If you need to eat between meals, you’re welcome to save part of a meal for later on. If you have special dietary requirements beyond what IMS meals can offer, please plan ahead and bring any necessary foods or supplements with you to the retreat. These can be stored at the back of the dining room, near the dishwashing area, either on shelves or in a refrigerator specifically for participants’ use. Space is limited, so we ask that you bring only those food items that are necessary. Please provide your own sealed plastic containers, and mark them with your name and the date.

Because of our limited storage space, the amount of time involved, and out of consideration for other retreatants, it is not possible to juice vegetables and fruit. Small blenders are allowed, if blended food is medically necessary.

Food you can purchase here

If you wish, you can purchase non-dairy rice milk, soy milk, almond milk and organic lemon juice from the Retreat Center office. We don’t provide hot chocolate, coffee or coffee filters – please bring your own.

Food sources

We try our best with our limited budget to purchase food that is environmentally sustainable, responsibly raised, healthy, and when possible, local. Our eggs are local, cage-free and organic. Our milk is local from pasture raised, hormone-free cows. We also use local honey, maple syrup, miso, tempeh, tofu, and when in season, fruits and vegetables.

All of our soy and corn products are organic and GMO-free and most of our beans, rice, grains and flours are organic. The canned tomato products we use are also organic. In the summer and fall, much of our produce comes from local organic farms. We also purchase certain organic fruits and vegetables year-round based on affordability and the rates of pesticide use on certain crops. These include all our lettuce, potatoes, carrots, beets, bananas and onions. Our cheese is animal rennet free.

Our intention is to continue to look for new ways to provide sustainable foods that support our health.

Food allergies and sensitivities

We are aware that some retreatants, teachers and staff are allergic to certain foods. We label ingredients carefully so that you can monitor what you eat. We also provide plain dairy and gluten-free options.

However, please be aware that our kitchens use ingredients that are allergens to some people – such as peanuts, tree nuts, dairy, gluten and soy – to provide sources of protein in a vegetarian diet. We cannot remove these allergens from our menu to accommodate individual retreatants. Our kitchen staff members are trained in safe food handling, including the prevention of cross contamination. But note that we do not have the facilities or resources to ensure that trace amounts of allergens are not present in our food.

If you have a serious food allergy, please keep this in mind as you decide whether an IMS retreat is suitable for you – you are welcome to contact our Kitchen Manager if you have specific questions. If you are confirmed into a course, remember that you can bring your own food.


At the Retreat Center

IMS’s Retreat Center facility includes three dormitories: Bodhi House (Bodhi in Sanskrit means “awakened”), Karuna House (Karuna in Pali and Sanskrit means “compassion”) and Shanti House (Shanti in Sanskrit means “peace”). All are connected to the main building, meditation hall and dining room via indoor walkways.

All buildings accommodate people with mobility disabilities. If you have disabilities, we encourage you to contact us before arrival to coordinate your retreat experience.

All bedrooms are single rooms, simply yet comfortably furnished for each retreatant with a twin bed, sink, closet and chair. A thermostat in each room allows you to adjust the heat. A pillow, two blankets, sheets and towels are provided. If travel arrangements permit, you are welcome to bring your own sheets, pillow case, towels, and additional blankets or sleeping bags.

All Retreat Center dormitory rooms have locks; you’ll receive a key on arrival.

Bathroom blocks, with toilet and shower facilities, are located on each floor.

Unless there are medical reasons (such as the need for wheelchair access), requests for particular rooms cannot be accommodated.

Camping is not available.

At the Forest Refuge

Accommodations at the Forest Refuge are all single rooms, each with a twin-size mattress on a low wooden bed frame, two pillows and two blankets. There is also an individual thermostat to adjust the heat, a sink, closet, desk and chair. Linens and towels are provided.

All Forest Refuge dormitory rooms have keyless locks. You’ll be given a code on arrival.

Bathroom blocks, with toilet and shower facilities, are located on each floor.

If you have a specific medical requirement, such as chemical sensitivity or needing wheelchair access, please contact us in advance regarding appropriate arrangements.

Local accommodations

Here is a list of local accommodations.