Saturday, May 3, 2014

Milkweed Mercantile Tent and Breakfast: Camping at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage


For reservations, please call 660-883-5522



The Milkweed Mercantile Tent and Breakfast Plan
  • Rental for 1 person - $50 PER NIGHT ($100/weekend, includes 4 meals)
  • Rental for 2 persons (in the same tent, on the same tent platform) - $75 PER NIGHT ($150/weekend, includes 4 meals each for 2 people)

The Milkweed Mercantile is offering an exciting new option: Camping at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage!

Until now, camping has not been available for folks interested in a short visit* to Dancing Rabbit (unless they are part of an educational group program). Our village simply does not yet have the infrastructure to enable you to cook, wash dishes, shower, and poop without heavily impacting the lives and resources of those who already live here.

However, we’re delighted to have found a compromise between traditional camping and a full bed & breakfast stay. By camping in our campground and using the Milkweed Mercantile for meals showers and toilets you will pay almost 50% less than a stay in a room will cost. We’ll even include an organic chocolate for you to put on your own pillow.


True, you will not be able to cook your own meals. But there are several upsides of dining at the Mercantile:
  • The Mercantile offers vegan, vegetarian and omnivore options.
  • With ample notice, the Mercantile will also work with other food requirements (celiacs, etc.)
  • You will eat great meals produced from locally sourced  produce (and meat, if you eat it)
  • You’ll be directly supporting members Dancing Rabbit – the staff at the inn, farmers and gardeners
  • You’ll get to join members of Dancing Rabbit and other guests for meals, and will have the opportunity to make great connections and ask lots of questions.


Availability
These camping packages are only available on weekend when Dancing Rabbit offers a free tour (2nd and 4th Saturdays at 1:00 p.m.). See below for dates.

The Milkweed Mercantile Tent and Breakfast Plan
  • Rental for 1 person - $50 PER NIGHT ($100/weekend, includes 4 meals)
  • Rental for 2 persons (in the same tent, on the same tent platform) - $75 PER NIGHT ($150/weekend, includes 4 meals each for 2 people)
  • Cost for children when sleeping in the same tent as adults: 
    • baby to age 2... free
    • age 3-12... $10 per night
    • age 13-15... $15 per night
    • age 16 and up counts as an adult

Included:
  • Rental of tent platform in campground
  • Dinner on the evening of your arrival - 3-course organic, local dinner, served in the climate-controlled, straw-bale Mercantile dining room. Dine with other guests and members of Dancing Rabbit.
  • Breakfast on Saturday morning- Organic, local, made-to-order breakfast
  • Use of Mercantile toilet
  • Use of Mercantile shower
  • Tour of Dancing Rabbit at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday
The Fine Print:
  • You supply your own tent, sleeping gear and towels
  • Please be prepared for rain and wind.
  • Tent must fit on a tent platform (approximately 8' x 10')
  • ABSOLUTELY no cooking allowed in campground
  • Coolers are OK, but ice is not available at DR. (Ice may be purchased at Zimmerman’s store in Rutledge).
  • Guests may not use the Mercantile kitchen (the fridge is also not available for guest use).
  • No laundry facilities available
  • Two night maximum, listed dates only
*If you are interested in a visit of 1-3 week visits, please read about Dancing Rabbit’s Visitor Program here.

Available Dates for Tent and Breakfast Accommodations
  • May 24, 2014
  • June 14 and 28, 2014
  • July 12 and 26, 2014
  • August 9 and 29, 2014
  • September 13 and 27, 2014
  • October 11 and 25, 2014

For reservations or questions, please call 660-883-5522 or email stay@milkweedmercantile.com

Cancellation: One half of total due at time of reservation; balance due upon check-in. Full refund (less $20 accounting fee) returned with a full 7 days notice. Less than 7 days notice for a cancellation will result in loss of deposit.

 Some of the tent platforms in the Campground at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage. Photos were taken May 1st - the leaves were just beginning to come out. Typically in the summer it is fairly shady in the campground.


 One of the tent platforms. Sizes are approximately 8' x 10'.


 Path from the campground to the Mercantile (past the Old Pond).

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Announcing Milkweed Mercantile Sustainability Seminars


We’ve received many requests from guests for opportunities to interact with and get to know members of Dancing Rabbit, and to learn more about what we’re doing here. Rabbits enjoy this too – the enthusiasm and energy that guests bring help us remember why we’re doing what we’re doing!

The challenging part is to find a way to do this without overwhelming Rabbits, who have very little spare time and often already feel that they live in a fish bowl.

Our solution? We’ve created a learning/social experience which brings together members of Dancing Rabbit, Milkweed Mercantile guests, a great meal, excellent conversation and some hands-on activity. The members who are participating have chosen a topic about which they are most passionate, and are excited to share it with you!

The Details:
Each Milkweed Seminar focuses on a different aspect of sustainability and/or life here at DR. All Milkweed Seminars begin with dinner at the Milkweed Mercantile on Friday evening with a member of Dancing Rabbit. You and your “instructor” will have the opportunity to talk and connect in a relaxed atmosphere over great (we hope) food. Most of the Eco-experiences also include a 1½ hour session on Saturday morning which provides additional information and/or hands-on opportunities.

Reserve your personal seminar when you make your room reservation at the Mercantile.Call (660)883-5522 for reservations. Click here for more information on the Milkweed Mercantile.

PLEASE NOTE: Milkweed Seminars are currently only available on Friday evenings/Saturday mornings. All Saturday sessions will end in time for the 1:00 tour of Dancing Rabbit. Availability is dependent upon (and limited to) the schedules of participating Rabbits. A minimum of two weeks notice is preferred.

So. What aspect of sustainability would you like to explore?


BASICS OF COMPASSIONATE COMMUNICATION (aka NONVIOLENT COMMUNICATION)
With Meadoe Carleton
Friday dinner, and Saturday 9:30 – 11: 00 a.m.

To live closely in community, as we do here at Dancing Rabbit, most of us have had to learn more effective ways to communicate. We have found that the dynamic communication techniques of Nonviolent Communication offer practical and powerful skills which emphasize personal responsibility for our actions and the choices we make when we respond to others. You'll learn simple tools to defuse arguments and create compassionate connections with your family, friends, and other acquaintances, as well as how to contribute to relationships based in cooperation and collaboration, and can transform potential conflicts into peaceful dialogues.

$68 includes Friday dinner for you and your instructor, plus 1 ½ hours of discussion and/or instruction on Saturday morning.



LIVING OFF GRID/RENEWABLE ENERGY 
With Ted Sterling
Friday dinner, and Saturday 9:30 – 11: 00 a.m.

Depending upon your interests, you may explore:
  • Conservation is step one; evaluating and minimizing consumption.
  • Meeting your energy needs by living in a way that is appropriate to place and using what is most abundant.
  • Low/no power options: Passive solar. Gravity-fed water. Solar ovens. Root cellars.
  • Power production: solar, wind, hydro, biomass, etc. Ecological costs of
    power production and consumption.
  • Battery/storage Systems. Distribution, off-grid tech. Portable power.
    Scale: Choosing system voltage and parameters to meet planned needs.
    Grid-tie vs. off-grid.
  • Off-grid water- collection, storage, management.
$68 includes Friday dinner for you and your instructor, plus 1 ½ hours of discussion and/or instruction on Saturday morning.


RAISING CHICKENS, DUCKS AND GOATS
With Mae Ferber
Friday dinner, and EARLY Saturday a.m.

Some of the most popular creatures at Dancing Rabbit aren’t people at all – they’re the chickens, ducks and goats being raised by the Critter Collective. Over dinner with Mae you can expect to learn about small scale layer flock management (think chickens and ducks) and/or small ruminant management (think goats and sheep). Depth and detail is up to you, depending upon your level of interest.

Then, Saturday morning, join Mae as she makes her morning rounds; milking, feeding everyone, gathering eggs and making sure all is right in the animal world.

Possible Poultry topics:
  • chickens in the city
  • starting off with day old chicks
  • predator proof housing
  • alternative feeding ideas
  • heritage breeds 
Possible Ruminant topics:
  • predator control
  • fencing
  • pasture and brush management
  • breeding/milking
  • seasonal differences in care 
$68 includes Friday dinner for you and your instructor, plus 1 ½ hours of discussion and/or instruction on Saturday morning


NATURAL BUILDING PRACTICUM
With Hassan Hall
Friday dinner, and Saturday 9:30 – 11: 00 a.m.

Natural buildings are both user-friendly and beautiful! Join one of our builders for some conversation and a little hands-on experience. Over dinner you'll discuss both theory and practice of different phases of construction. On Saturday morning, you’ll take a deeper look at some of the building techniques used here at Dancing Rabbit, and, weather permitting, you’ll get some time getting your hands dirty. We cannot guarantee that the technique you’re most interested in will be available (cob, strawbale, natural plaster, earth bags) but we can guarantee some good conversation, a chance to have questions answered and the opportunity to work up a good sweat!

$68 includes Friday dinner for you and your instructor, plus 1 ½ hours of discussion and/or instruction on Saturday morning


BRINGING "SUSTAINABILITY" HOME WITH YOU: LIFESTYLE CHOICES AND CHANGES 
With Sharon Bagatelle or Dennis Hoffarth
Friday dinner and Saturday 9:30 – 11: 00 a.m.

Transform your home and yard into a fun and practical part of a more ecological world!
This workshop focuses on how to meet your own food, water and energy needs at the very local level -- your own home and/or neighborhood. We’ll look at some of the “big ideas” in sustainable living -- what does “sustainable” mean, reducing resource consumption, reusing resources, using renewable and local resources – and apply them to real life changes in lifestyle. You can choose to explore one of the areas – food, water, or energy – and we’ll guide you through potential actions you can take at home, with lots of supportive resources. Depending on the chosen topic, the workshop may also include short hands-on demonstrations or projects.

$68 includes Friday dinner for you and your instructor, plus 1 ½ hours of discussion and/or instruction on Saturday morning,


INTRODUCTION TO PERMACULTURE WORKSHOP
With Sharon Bagatelle or Dennis Hoffarth
Friday dinner and Saturday 9:30 – 11: 00 a.m.
The workshop will cover:
1) What is Permaculture?
2) Some Permaculture design principles
3) Applying the principles: creating integrated home systems to meet shelter, energy, food, and water
needs as locally, sustainably, and economically as possible
4) A “wild design” – using an example from a participant’s home, we’ll do a quick visionary retrofit
design.
$68 includes Friday dinner for you and your instructor, plus 1 ½ hours of discussion and/or instruction on Saturday morning.


COOKING WITH RENEWABLE ENERGY
With Dan Durica
Friday dinner, and Saturday 9:30 – 11: 00 a.m.

Learn to reduce your dependence on fossil fuel by using alternative cooking methods used by many members of Dancing Rabbit. Included are solar ovens, pressure cookers, hotboxes, wood stoves and electric induction cooktops. Other topics covered are grilling with wood, eating raw and eating local. Surprisingly easy, and always delicious!

$68 includes Friday dinner for you and your instructor, plus 1 ½ hours of discussion and/or instruction on Saturday morning.




GREEN AND ALTERNATIVE CONSTRUCTION
With Tony “Bear” Barrett
Friday dinner, and Saturday 9:30 – 11: 00 a.m.

Dancing Rabbit is the home to many alternative buildings, and we’ve learned a lot over the years. Are you curious about what exactly is “green” construction? How about the difference between “alternative” and conventional construction? Join one of DR’s builders to discuss and examine these and other construction ideas. Depending on your interest, also covered will be:
  • How most conventional buildings are put together
  • Principles of quality design (passive solar, super-insulation, thermal mass, etc.)
  • Basics of building science (thermal bridging, movement of moisture, etc.)
  • The balance between air-tightness and ventilation
  • Considering the ecological footprint of materials
  • Overview of certification programs (passivehaus, LEED,Living Building Challange)
  • Tour of buildings (specific to how they relate to this discussion).
$68 includes Friday dinner for you and your instructor, plus 1 ½ hours of discussion and/or instruction on Saturday morning.

  
THE BEAUTY OF HERBAL REMEDIES
With Sara Peters
Friday dinner, and Saturday 9:30 – 11: 00 a.m.

 Explore the culture, harvesting, and manufacture of herbs and herbal products for home use. Contents of workshop will vary depending upon your interests, Sara’s skills and knowledge, and the availability of herbs and other materials.
Possible topics include:

  • Sara’s background in working with herbal medicines.
  • Introduction to wellness and healing through herbs, including cautions.
  • Culture of herbs - wild harvesting, growing and harvesting your own, essential oils, purchasing from reputable sources
  • Common herbal remedies and their uses
  • Processing herbs and making herbal preparations - including making teas, tinctures, healing oils and salves
  • An herbal preparation project to take home
  • Resource recommendations for further study 
$68 includes Friday dinner for you and your instructor, plus 1 ½ hours of discussion and/or instruction on Saturday morning


GREENING YOUR BUSINESS or STARTING A GREEN BUSINESS
With Alline Anderson
Friday dinner, and Saturday 9:30 – 11: 00 a.m.

Are you a business owner looking to make your business more sustainable, green and socially responsible? Perhaps you’re looking to start a business and would like to bounce your ideas off someone? Alline is the co-owner of and visionary behind the Milkweed Mercantile. Her 30 years of retail and customer service experience, ranging from department stores to Clif Bar to the Sierra Club, combined with her 15 years of exploring green living at Dancing Rabbit, gives her a unique perspective on earning a living in a way that supports rather than harms our planet.

$68 includes Friday dinner for you and your instructor, plus 1 ½ hours of discussion and/or instruction on Saturday morning


BAKE THE BEST BISCUITS AND COOKIES, EVER! 
(aka the secrets that make baking EASY!)
With Alline Anderson
Friday dinner, and Saturday 9:30 – 11: 00 a.m.

Are your biscuits flatter than the proverbial pancake? Are your cookies like rocks, your cakes like doorstops? Is your kitchen legacy "let's call for take-out, kids"? It may be time to join Alline, owner of the Mercantile and baking fanatic, for an hour and a half that will change your life. Learn the secrets that only come by years of trial and error (and lots of really bad baking!) in a friendly, hands-on, encouraging atmosphere. Best yet - you get to eat what you've learned, and you'll go home with some of Alline's best recipes.

$68 includes Friday dinner for you and your instructor, plus 1 ½ hours of discussion and/or instruction on Saturday morning



TO REGISTER FOR ANY SEMINAR: When you make your room reservation please let us know which seminar you would like to take part in. You can reach us at (660) 883-5522.


Friday, February 7, 2014

Milkweed Mercantile Eco Inn Seeks Work Exchangers for Construction, Canning & More!

Milkweed Mercantile GENERAL Work Exchange
April 8 – October 31,  2014
(3 month minimum commitment requested)
Here's your opportunity to spend the summer at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage while learning about sustainablility and honing your cooking/building/innkeeping/life skills at the same time!
In 2014 the Milkweed Mercantile is offering two types of work exchange. Click on this link for information on Culinary Assistant and Baker positions. Keep reading for more on our General Work Exchange position, the other work exchange positions which require just as much enthusiasm and professionalism but fewer hard skills, which we are happy to teach! 


Become an integral part of the Milkweed Mercantile, a strawbale, solar & wind-powered Eco Inn and Organic Café located at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage. You will have a huge impact upon the lives of our guests, plus have the opportunity to learn more about sustainable living and, of course, yourself. Guests often tell us that we have changed their lives.



THE POSITION
  • There is so much to be done! We need folks to be willing to help in two or more areas: 
    • the cafe/kitchen (including food preservation & canning)
    • the store
    • the bar
    • the inn
    • construction & maintenance
    • social media & communications 
    • DOGtoberfest, a fundraising event we are hosting on September 20, 2014 (the website is still being completed) 
  • Our goal is to match the tasks needing to be done with the passions and skills of the wexers. We want you to be happy, and we want to Mercantile to run smoothly. Sometimes, though, the work just has to be done. For example, we have yet to meet the person who would rather wash dishes than anything else on earth. As a result, we ALL take turns with the dishes. However, should you find that you abhor construction or despise pie making, we will do everything in our power to fill your time with more good stuff than "bad."
  • The job entails working 35 hours a week; your schedule will involve early mornings and/or late evenings. As our business opens early and doesn't close until late, weird hours are not optional. Additionally, we often get up early in the summer to do outdoor tasks (building, gardening) when it is cooler.
  • Your hours will primarily focus on the weekends, and may involve split shifts. Your days off will most likely be Tuesday and Wednesday.
  • We all wear a number of hats here at the Mercantile - you will most likely not work full-time in one area, but instead split your time between two or three (for example kitchen and construction, gardening and canning). We all work together and help each other; if a Mercantile staffer is in a jam, we all contribute to taking care of whatever needs to be done!
  • The ideal candidate will be responsible, flexible, hard-working, easy-going, open to communication, somewhat extroverted, friendly and a good listener. We encourage you to be open to new people and experiences. You will gain experience in interacting positively with people who might not have the same world view as you while at the same time be living among "kindred spirits.
  • While here you will have the opportunity to live as Rabbits do, and participate in (or observe, as appropriate) all aspects of our lives, including dance parties, pot lucks, music, conversations, seminars, yoga, nature walks, swimming in the pond, and much, much more.

Kurt working with reclaimed lumber during construction of the Mercantile.
A FEW DETAILS ABOUT WHAT THE JOB ENTAILS

  • Construction - This season we are building a small "honeymoon" cottage for guests. Kurt, a carpenter, cabinet maker and general contractor will be teaching the crew how to build from the foundation to the roof - this is a true apprenticeship. Plumbing for the hot tub and outdoor shower, and electrical are included in the building. Unlike the strawbale Mercantile, the cottage will be built of more conventional (but green) materials. The skills gleaned from this project will enable you to build just about anything. Work Exchangers who are interested in construction can expect to spend approximately 50% of their work hours doing/learning about construction and assisting Kurt with upkeep and maintenance of the strawbale Mercantile building.

A few of the goodies from the Mrs. Milkweed's Kitchen line, which you'll help create, package and sell (and eat)!

  • Cafe & Kitchen
    • Help with meals for guests (we will teach you what you need to know!), working with fresh local produce, sustainably produced meat, bakery & pastry items, etc.
    • Dish-washing
    • Assist as we try to keep up with demand of jams, pickles and chutneys in the Mrs. Milkweed's Kitchen line (above). You'll become an expert at canning techniques plus learn how to make jam, pickles and more.
    • Help maintain an accurate food inventory
    • Keep kitchen spotless and organized
    • Help organize and run canning workshops
    • Interact with guests to ensure their food needs are being met, and more!

 Kurt, Alline and some of 2012's interns and work exchangers.

  • Innkeeping - Work with Josi and Alline as we create an atmosphere that demonstrates the very best of Dancing Rabbit. Tasks may include:
    • dining with guests
    • cleaning
    • giving tours
    • answering lots of questions
    • sharing your story
    • helping guests check in and check out
    • helping guests with store purchases
Friends hanging out at the bar  (at last count - 32 kinds of beer)
  • Bar/Pub - You must be 21 or over to work in the bar. We need help with keeping our inventory, re-stocking the cooler and shelves, creating food/beer pairings, keeping the bar area spotless, interacting with guests, more!
  • Store - You will help keep the store clean and organized, help with inventory and ordering, work with display and merchandising, help folks find what they're looking for, and more.
 

  • DOGtoberfest at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage - think Oktoberfest (beer, brats, music and fun) all to benefit shelter, rescue and low-cost spay/neuter organizations in the area. We need help with social media, contacting sponsors, publicity, planning, and everything else to make this inaugural event a success.
One of the Mercantile's Canning Workshops

 
Every Thursday is Pizza Night! The crust on our pizzas is made from scratch and are topped with homemade mozzarella and fresh herbs. Yum!
EXPERIENCE & SKILLS NEEDED
  • Eagerness to assume responsibility
  • Interest in sustainability, local and organic dining, and what is happening here at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage
  • Self-starting initiative and exquisite attention to detail
  • Comfort interacting with the public, including children
  • Willingness to communicate and work through interpersonal conflict
  • Comfort with “specialty” diets – vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, etc. If you are a vegan or vegetarian, you must be willing to cook and serve meat.
  • You must be at least 21 (for serving alcohol)
  • Three month (minimum) availability
WHAT WE PAY FOR/COVER:
  • Food - All of your meals are covered. You will participate in the Mercantile staff food cooperative, which means you will be part of a rotating team of cooks. Food will be largely local and whole-foods based. Soda and alcohol are not included but may be purchased.
A typical tent platform
  • Accommodations - Tenting platform is provided, you provide the tent (and sleeping bag, sleeping pad, rain tarp, etc.).
  • Your fees for use of the Community Building (primarily for social space and library). Mercantile interns may use the Mercantile showers, wifi and composting toilets.
  • Transportation: If you come to Dancing Rabbit by train or bus, we’ll pick you up at the nearest station (Quincy, IL; La Plata, MO; Ottumwa, IA) at no cost to you. Other travel to Dancing Rabbit and travel during your stay is at your expense.
  • Gratuities – A share of pooled tips.
  • Stipend – After completion of the first month wexers will receive a stipend of $50 per month.

YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR:
  • Work – approximately 35 hours a week, plus cook shifts with our eating cooperative (usually one lunch and dinner each week)
  • Additional responsibilities – Community rotational duties which are shared by all members of the community. Included are Common House clean, humanure, Common House firewood.
  • Communication - if there is an issue, we all do our best to take ownership and communicate!
  • Gear - Tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, etc, appropriate clothing (details to be sent after you are accepted for the position).
  • Transportation: If you come to Dancing Rabbit by train or bus, we’ll pick you up at the nearest station (Quincy, IL; La Plata, MO; Ottumwa, IA) at no cost to you. Other travel to Dancing Rabbit and travel during your stay is at your expense.

The Milkweed Mercantile is a privately owned business created by Dancing Rabbit members Alline and Kurt. Designed as a bridge between the ecovillage and the wider community, the Mercantile provides delicious local and seasonal meals, comfortable rooms at reasonable rates, a family-friendly pub, and a variety of seminars. The Mercantile serves as a living demonstration of the comfort and beauty of sustainability, and is quickly becoming a social hub of the community.

To apply or to ask questions please email alline at milkweedmercantile dot com. PLEASE put "work exchange" in the subject line to keep your email from ending up in the spam file. 

About the Milkweed Mercantile staff:
Kurt Kessner and Alline Anderson arrived at Dancing Rabbit in June 1999. After building a house they launched the next part of their Dancing Rabbit Dream – the Milkweed Mercantile. Inspired to build the Mercantile as a way to support themselves and to help Dancing Rabbit grow, construction began in 2007. The Inn opened in April 2010.
  
Alline, with a background in customer service and retail (but whose all-time favorite job remains camp counselor) manages the day to day operations of the Mercantile. Inspired by fabulous ingredients, she takes great joy in feeding, hosting and nurturing others. She never met a baked good that she didn’t like, and is enjoying learning more about foraged foods. In her spare time she reads fanatically, hangs out with Kurt, and is thinking about entering a 12-step program for Dr. Pepper.

Kurt is the easy-going designer/carpenter/contractor responsible for the physical manifestation of the Milkweed Mercantile. Trained as a carpenter as well as a marriage and family counselor, he is happiest when he is building something or teaching someone else how to build something. He also enjoys a great beer, great food and great conversation. He is delighted to spend time at the Mercantile, where all three are in plentiful supply.



Nik Garvoille (left) arrived as a Work Exchanger in the summer of 2013. When we found out how talented he is, we offered him a ten-day Artist in Residence position. Nik also does all of our graphic design. In 2014 Nik will transition from being a wexer to actually getting paid. He is our main breakfast cook, co-creator of our Farm to Fork dinners and Pie Man extraordinaire.











 Mae Ferber, (right) one of the "Pizza Bellas," is a big part of what makes our pizza nights so great! When she's not playing with dough and cheese at the Mercantile, you can find her out at the Critter Collective with her partner Ben, daughter Althea, goats, two million ducks, several hundred chickens and a miniature donkey.


Katherine Hanson, the other half of the "Pizza Bellas," arrived to participate in one of Dancing Rabbit's visitor sessions and never left! After wexing for a year, she became the Mercantile's first paid staffer. She constructs a mean pizza, is part of the Critter Collective, and if you need a party thrown, Katherine is the co for the job!
 









 


 Josi Neilsen (right), our innkeeper, came to Dancing Rabbit last summer to attend the five-week EcovillageEducation course (she is shown here applying natural plaster to a wall). Fortunately for us, she fell in love with the place and accepted our invitation to join the staff. Her business acumen, superb organizational skills and love of Dancing Rabbit all make her a perfect fit as our innkeeper!
  




Please explore http://milkweedmercantile.com  before applying. Additional photos may be viewed here: Milkweed Mercantile Flickr.

TO APPLY or to ask questions please email alline at milkweedmercantile dot com. PLEASE put "work exchange" in the subject line to keep your email from ending up in the spam file.

Saturday Lunch service at the Mercantile


The Mercantile provides meals for seminars held at Dancing Rabbit. 
Above: buffet lunch awaits participants (open kitchen in background). 
Below: seminar participants relaxing after lunch.



A birthday party for folks from the wider community.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Milkweed Mercantile Eco Inn Seeks Culinary Assistant & Baker

Milkweed Mercantile Organic Cafe Internship
Culinary Assistant and Baker
April 8 – October 31,  2014
Become an integral part of the Milkweed Mercantile, a strawbale, solar & wind-powered Eco Inn and Organic Café located at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage. You will have a huge impact upon the lives of our guests, plus have the opportunity to learn more about sustainable living and, of course, yourself.

The Milkweed Mercantile is a privately owned business created by Dancing Rabbit members Alline and Kurt. Designed as a bridge between the ecovillage and the wider community, the Mercantile provides delicious local and seasonal meals, comfortable rooms at reasonable rates, and sustainability seminars. The Mercantile serves as a living demonstration of the comfort and beauty of sustainability, and is quickly becoming the social hub of the community.

To apply or to ask questions please email alline at milkweedmercantile.dot com. PLEASE put "internship" in the subject line to keep your email from ending up in the spam file.

Mini cupcakes decorated with wild violets.
BASIC INFO
  • The Milkweed Mercantile Eco Inn serves meals to seminar/workshop participants, pizza every Thursday, lunch on Saturday when Dancing Rabbit gives public tours, and brunch on Sunday. We also provide a steady stream of baked goods to keep everyone happy.
  • The design of our kitchen is open, which means that guests will engage you in conversation (see photos). If you are a confirmed introvert this position may not be for you.
  • The menu and recipes have been created by (Mercantile owner) Alline – your creativity is welcome but all changes must be pre-approved.
  • Successful applicants do not have to have specific cook experience already, as we will train you to prepare and serve meals in our style. HOWEVER you must be comfortable in a commercial kitchen and be ready to eventually take on full responsibility of breakfast service.
  • Our goal: the smooth running of the Mercantile while conveying the eco-ethic of Dancing Rabbit and its members AND making sure our guests are comfortable, well-fed, and treated respectfully.
  • No housing is provided – most work exchangers/interns camp. However, you will have access to all Mercantile amenities – wifi, showers, toilets, hang-out space. Your meals will be eaten with the Mercantile staff eating cooperative. You will have the opportunity to participate in all aspects of life at Dancing Rabbit, including social events, potlucks, swimming in the ponds, learning new communication skills, rotational chores, and much, much more. Plus, you’ll eat really, really well.
One of the Mercantile's Canning Workshops

JOB RESPONSIBILITIES
  • You will assist in planning and preparing delicious meals for guests – on time, with fresh local organic ingredients, in keeping with Mercantile standards and in accordance to dietary needs of guests.
  • Assist in preparing baked goods – biscuits, muffins, cinnamon rolls, cookies, cakes, pies – to be served at the Mercantile.
  • Assist in preparing and preserving jams, jellies and pickled vegetables that will be sold at the Mercantile.
  • Maintain a clean, neat, sanitary and orderly kitchen.
  • Keep an accurate kitchen inventory and ensure that all necessary ingredients are in stock.
  • The job entails working 35 hours a week; your schedule will involve early mornings and/or late evenings.
  • Your hours will primarily focus on the weekends, and may involve split shifts. Your days off will most likely be Tuesday and Wednesday.
 
Every Thursday is Pizza Night! The crust on our pizzas is made from scratch and are topped with homemade mozzarella and fresh herbs. Yum!
EXPERIENCE & SKILLS NEEDED
  • Some restaurant/café cooking or baking experience, and comfort in a commercial kitchen.
  • Comfort with “specialty” diets – vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, etc. If you are a vegan or vegetarian, you must be willing to cook and serve meat.
  • Professional kitchen skills, including knife skills and kitchen sanitation knowledge
  • Eagerness to assume responsibility
  • Interest in sustainability, local and organic dining, and what is happening here at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage
  • Self-starting initiative and exquisite attention to detail
  • Comfort interacting with the public, including children
  • Willingness to communicate and work through interpersonal conflict
  • You must be at least 21 (for serving alcohol)
  • Three month (minimum) availability

ADDITIONAL DUTIES/LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES WILL INCLUDE: 
  • Helping with ANY food-related project, including: seasonal (ingredient-driven) menu planning and food prep; menu planning and food prep for special diets (i.e. celiac/gluten free, lactose intolerant, etc.) and events; vegan cooking and baking techniques; preserving foods by canning and fermenting; working with yeast doughs and baked goods; making butter, sour cream, ice cream; meat grilling and barbeque; much more…
  • Washing dishes, pots and pans
  • Keeping the kitchen spotless
  • Working with local farmers, gardeners, beekeepers and other food producers
  • Foraging for wild seasonal ingredients
  • Waiting/busing tables
  • Menu planning
  
WHAT WE PAY FOR/COVER:
Food - All of your meals are covered. You will participate in the Mercantile staff food cooperative, which means you will be part of a rotating team of cooks. Food will be largely local and whole-foods based. Soda and alcohol are not included but may be purchased.

Accommodations - Tenting platform provided, you provide the tent (and sleeping bag, sleeping pad, etc.).
Your fees for use of the Community Building (primarily for social space and library). Mercantile interns may use the Mercantile showers, wifi and composting toilets.
Transportation: If you come to Dancing Rabbit by train or bus, we’ll pick you up at the nearest station (Quincy, IL; La Plata, MO; Ottumwa, IA) at no cost to you. Other travel to Dancing Rabbit and travel during your stay is at your expense.
Gratuities – A share of pooled tips.
Stipend – After completion of the first month interns will receive a stipend of $50 per month.


YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR:
Work – approximately 35 hours a week, plus cook shifts with our eating cooperative (usually one lunch and dinner each week)
Additional responsibilities – Community rotational duties which are shared by all members of the community. Included are Common House clean, humanure, Common House firewood.
Gear - Tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, etc, appropriate clothing (details to be sent after you are accepted for the position).
Transportation: If you come to Dancing Rabbit by train or bus, we’ll pick you up at the nearest station (Quincy, IL; La Plata, MO; Ottumwa, IA) at no cost to you. Other travel to Dancing Rabbit and travel during your stay is at your expense.
 Kurt, Alline and some of 2012's interns and work exchangers.


About the Milkweed Mercantile staff:
Kurt Kessner and Alline Anderson arrived at Dancing Rabbit in June 1999. After building a house they launched the next part of their Dancing Rabbit Dream – the Milkweed Mercantile. Inspired to build the Mercantile as a way to support themselves and to help Dancing Rabbit grow, construction began in 2007. The Inn opened in April 2010.

Alline, with a background in customer service and retail (but whose all-time favorite job remains camp counselor) manages the day to day operations of the Mercantile. Inspired by fabulous ingredients, she takes great joy in feeding, hosting and nurturing others. She never met a baked good that she didn’t like, and is enjoying learning more about foraged foods. In her spare time she reads fanatically, hangs out with Kurt, and is thinking about entering a 12-step program for Dr. Pepper.
Kurt is the easy-going designer/carpenter/contractor responsible for the physical manifestation of the Milkweed Mercantile. Trained, as a carpenter as well as a marriage and family counselor, he is happiest when he is building something or teaching someone else how to build something. He also enjoys a great beer, great food and great conversation. He is delighted to spend time at the Mercantile, where all three are in plentiful supply.

Please explore http://milkweedmercantile.com  before applying. Additional photos may be viewed here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/milkweed/sets/72157603900100835/

TO APPLY or to ask questions please email alline at milkweedmercantile.dot com. PLEASE put "internship" in the subject line to keep your email from ending up in the spam file.
Saturday Lunch service at the Mercantile

Friends hanging out at the bar  (at last count - 32 kinds of beer)

The Mercantile provides meals for seminars held at Dancing Rabbit. 
Above: buffet lunch awaits participants (open kitchen in background). 
Below: seminar participants relaxing after lunch.


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The Milkweed Mercantile and Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage receive a lot of media attention. 
Here, Mizzou journalism students documenting Alline cooking.
A birthday party for folks from the wider community.