Thursday, December 27, 2012

Milkweed Mercantile Eco Inn Seeks Culinary Assistant & Baker

Milkweed Mercantile Organic Cafe Internship
Culinary Assistant and Baker
April 15 – October 31,  2013

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 seminars on all aspects of sustainability. 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 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.
  • The Milkweed Mercantile Eco Inn serves meals to seminar/workshop participants, pizza (all homemade) 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)
  • 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 breakfast cook experience already, as we will train you to prepare and serve breakfasts 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

  • You will assist Alline in planning and preparing delicious breakfasts for guests – on time, with fresh local organic ingredients, in keeping with Mercantile standards and in accordance to dietary needs of guests.
  • Assist Alline in preparing baked goods – biscuits, muffins, cinnamon rolls, cookies, cakes, pies – to be served 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!
  • 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

    • Helping Alline 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
    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.

    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  before applying. Additional photos may be viewed here:

    TO APPLY or to ask questions please email alline at 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.

    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.

    Sunday, December 2, 2012

    The Milkweed Mercantile Artist-In-Residence Program Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage, 2013

    The Artist-In-Residence Program at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage offers visual artists the opportunity to pursue their artistic discipline while being surrounded by the inspiring landscape, people and mission of Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage. Visual artists will create art, participate in the life of the village, and share his/her skills with members of the community. Selected artists stay in the Milkweed Mercantile Eco Inn for a ten-day period from May through October. No stipend is provided.
    The Residency is sponsored by the Milkweed Mercantile, a private business located at Dancing Rabbit (“DR”), which is owned and operated by long-time members of Dancing Rabbit.
    The Milkweed Mercantile at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage
    The Purpose of the Artist-In-Residence Program
    The Purpose of the Artist-In-Residence Program is to provide artistic opportunities to promote deeper understanding of and dialogue about Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage. The finished artwork will characterize Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage for present and future generations, and offer visitors and the general public an opportunity to see our village through the eyes of the contributing artists.

    Selection is based on:
    • artistic caliber
    • specific focus for the project
    • relevance to Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage’s mission of outreach and education
    • the artwork's ability to communicate the values and atmosphere of Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage
    • potential for (artist’s) personal growth

    Residencies are open to all visual artists. The Milkweed Mercantile at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage does not discriminate on the basis of sex, age, race, religion, or national origin, although preference will be given to artists who are from or have spent time in the Midwest. We are seeking applications from individual artists only; we are not yet able to accommodate collaborative teams.

    Accepted artists must be able to speak and understand English.

    Applicants will be notified of the jurors’ results March 15, 2013.

    Dates of the Residencies:

    May 5-15, 2013
    June 2-12, 2013
    August 5 -15, 2013
    September 16 – 26, 2013
    October 13 – 23, 2013

    La Casa de Cultura, where selected artists may give classes to members of Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage.
    Provided with the Residency:
    • Food – details below
    • Lodging – details below
    • Linens (towels & sheets).
    • A place to work
    • 280 acres on which to roam and be inspired
    • Quiet atmosphere, with star-filled nights and abundant wildlife.
    • A friendly, supportive, enthusiastic community in which to live and work.
    • Additionally, your art will be featured in the Milkweed Mercantile Eco Inn, which serves as a social center for Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage and hundreds of guests each year; and on the Milkweed Mercantile website.
    • We do not provide alcohol, sodas, or other snacks (such as chips). These are available for purchase.

    You provide
    • Artists must provide their own supplies. If they are too large or cumbersome to transport you may have them delivered via USPS, UPS, or FedEx.
    • You are responsible for your own transportation. We encourage you to use public transportation. There are train stations in LaPlata, MO; Quincy, IL; Ottumwa, IA. We will happily pick you up at any of these stations.

    The swimming pond, where many find respite on hot summer days.
    Artwork Donations
    Artists selected to participate in the Mercantile’s Artist-In- Residence Program are asked to donate an original piece of work from, and representative of, their residency at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage. The piece will become a component of the Milkweed Mercantile’s Inspired by Dancing Rabbit: The Artist in Residence Collection. The art will serve to promote and celebrate aspects of Dancing Rabbit and sustainable living. Donated artwork must be finished within the 10-day residency.

    Sharing Your Gift with the Dancing Rabbit Community
    Selected artists are asked to spend time with the Dancing Rabbit community by providing some sort of workshop/class/seminar for a minimum of 8 hours during your stay. This can be drawing or painting classes, participatory art projects for groups or individuals, or some other creative solution. We’re open to all kinds of ideas!

    Saturday lunch at the Mercantile
     Public Presentation
    Each selected artist will present one 45-minute public program during his/her residency. This interaction can be tailored to an individual’s medium, interest, and experience. Programs can be demonstrations, talks, exploratory walks, or performances. Artists must provide their own supplies and equipment for these presentations. In addition, artists are requested to give public presentations in their communities about their residency experiences.

    About Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage
    Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage, begun in 1997, is a community demonstrating ecological sustainability. It is located on 280 acres in the rolling hills of Northeastern Missouri.

    One of the world's foremost experiments in real-world ecological living, Dancing Rabbit’s 70+ residents have reduced their ecological impact by over 90% in areas such as transportation, energy and water use. Creative, cooperative economic models and an entrepreneurial base support the economic sustainability of the village. Education and research are integral to Dancing Rabbit’s goals. It actively shares its ideas and discoveries through visitor programs, publications and other media and has a mission of outreach and education. More info is available at

    About The Milkweed Mercantile
    The Milkweed Mercantile is quite possibly the only strawbale solar & wind-powered B&B in the United States. In addition to the three B&B rooms, the Mercantile features an organic cafe, a Healing Center (for massage, chiropractic and energy work), a store, and a seminar program. Since opening its doors in 2010, the Mercantile has hosted hundreds of guests, many of whom say that a visit with us has changed their lives. While this all sounds very serious, we also have a lot of fun!

    The mission of the Mercantile is to provide meaningful work and the demonstration of a life that is sustainable in all ways.

    Our goals are to:
    • Create right livelihood for ourselves and income opportunities for others at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage
    • Provide a comfortable place for visitors and potential new members to stay
    • Demonstrate the viability and aesthetic beauty of natural and alternative building
    • Share what we’ve learned about real solutions for a sustainable life
    • Develop and articulate a business model that prioritizes planet and people over profit, and learn the value of ‘enough.’
    • Educate and train the next generation

     About Alline and Kurt, Owners of the Milkweed Mercantile
    Alline Anderson and Kurt Kessner met in 1993 on a Sierra Club backpacking trip, and were married in 1997. They moved from Berkeley to Missouri in 1999 and became members of Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage. In 2007 they began construction of the strawbale, solar and wind-powered Milkweed Mercantile Eco Inn. The Mercantile was designed to serve as a bridge between Dancing Rabbit and the wider community, and to assist in Dancing Rabbit’s outreach and education efforts. In that same year Alline was awarded an Eileen Fisher Business Grant for Woman Entrepreneurs.
    A team in all aspects of their lives, Alline and Kurt collaborated on the design and building of their strawbale home and the Mercantile. They continue to work together and dream up new ways to support the growth of Dancing Rabbit while enjoying life in the growing, thriving village. Kurt enjoys building, bartending and hanging out with friends; Alline is passionate about books, quilting, baking and dogs. And while they both love to travel, what they delight in most is welcoming guests to the Milkweed Mercantile.

    The David Brower Hellraiser Room
     Your accommodations at the Milkweed Mercantile
    • Artists stay in the David Brower Hellraiser Room.  The room is downstairs with easy access to a (shared) shower and toilet. It has a separate entrance onto the screened-porch and is furnished with a queen bed, desk, lamps, and small closet. Linens (bedding and towels) are included. Accommodations are provided only within the dates of the awarded residency.
    • The room is for one person only.
    • Visiting artists eat in the Milkweed Mercantile café with the Milkweed Mercantile food cooperative and occasionally with Mercantile guests. Food is as local and organic as possible. We happily accommodate vegans, vegetarians and/or omnivores. We are also able to handle some food allergies – please inquire if you have what could be perceived as an unusual request.
    • Pets are not allowed.
    • The Mercantile is fully accessible; there is a ramp, an accessible shower and toilet. However, Dancing Rabbit is still in its pioneering stages; the roads are gravel. Additionally the many pathways are muddy when wet, and are rutted and uneven.

    How to Apply
    Please submit all components electronically. Do not send paper copies of anything.

    Please submit to with ARTIST IN RESIDENCE in the subject line. Not using this subject may result in your application being deleted as spam.
    Entries are accepted for the 2013 Program until midnight on February 15, 2013. Applications received after the deadline will not be considered. Notifications will be made to finalists by March15, 2013.

    Applicant Checklist
    1.  APPLICATION  Email Alline at to request an application.
    Please include detailed information on your previous experience with the media you wish to use at Dancing Rabbit. Include information on time spent in the Midwest, if any. Keep formatting simple. Email your resume/cv to: with ARTIST IN RESIDENCE in the subject line.

    • Upload 10 images of your work created in the last two years.
    • Plus a corresponding image list to explain work samples,
    • Plus image details for each image file (title of work, date executed, media and dimensions).
    • Add any brief narrative necessary to inform the jury about each individual work.

    Email your work samples to: with ARTIST IN RESIDENCE  in the subject line. Be sure to include your name!

    NOTE: Artists must submit application materials and art samples exactly as indicated. Insufficient, or excess materials (i.e.: please submit 10, and only 10), are causes for application rejection, as is an artist's proposed use of a work already in progress as a residency project.

    • Pay the $35.00 (US Dollars) application fee via PayPal to
    • Please insert “ARTIST IN RESIDENCE in the Paypal subject line.
    • No applications will be processed until the application fee has been received.

    Entries are accepted for the 2013 Program with through midnight, February 15, 2013.

    Applications received after the deadline will not be considered.

    Notifications will be made to finalists by March15, 2013.

    Photos of life at the Milkweed Mercantile.

    Photos of the David Brower Hell Raiser Room, the shower, toilet and guest lounge.

    NOTE: In order to reach new audiences, the Artist in Residence Program is intended for artists who have not yet spent a significant amount of time at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage. Former Work Exchangers, Interns, Residents and Members are not eligible.

    Monday, March 5, 2012

    St. Patrick's Day - Your Dinner is Waiting!

    St. Patrick's Day
    Saturday, March 17th, 2012

    On the menu at the Milkweed Mercantile
    • Corned beef
    • Cabbage
    • Red potatoes
    • Carrots
    and for dessert: 
    • Baileys Marbled Cheesecake.
    $14 per person (does not include alcohol, tax or gratuity)

    Available at the bar:

    • Murphy's Irish Red 
    • Jameson Irish Whiskey
    Seating is limited - reservations highly recommended. Call 660-883-5522 to let us know you're coming. We look forward to seeing you. Erin go bragh!

    "Sometimes when I reflect on all the beer I drink, I feel ashamed.  Then I look into the glass and think about the workers in the brewery and all of their hopes and dreams.  If I didn't drink this beer, they might be out of work and their dreams would be shattered.  I think, "It is better to drink this beer and let their dreams come true than be selfish and worry about my liver."  ~ Babe Ruth

    Sunday, March 4, 2012

    Celebrating the The Day of the Dude

    This Tuesday, March 6th, 2012 the Milkweed Mercantile is Celebrating the Day of the Dude.

    We'll be showing The Big Lebowski and serving White Russians. Maybe hamburgers. No bowling though.

    And nihilists pay double.

    The Dude abides.

    Wednesday, February 15, 2012

    A Day of Shamanic Breathwork - coming in April

    Hi everyone. A good friend is hosting an event here at Dancing Rabbit in the beautiful new Casa de Cultura. Lunch is available at the Milkweed Mercantile, as is lodging. Come spend the weekend, relax, and maybe even change your life!

    QUANTUM LEAP: Transforming Ourselves in 2012
    A day of Shamanic Breathwork™ Journeying  
    with Laura Wolf
    Co-Founder of Shaman’s Heart Sanctuary

    April 21, 2012 in at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage in Northeast Missouri
    Register by April 1st for Early Bird Discount

    The Shamanic Breathwork™ Process uses the healing power of the breath, music, energetic bodywork, art, ritual and group sharing to help you:
    • Release stress, stuck energy, old patterns and limiting thoughts
    • Activate your creativity and access your deep inner wisdom
    • Step more fully into your PASSION, POWER and PURPOSE
    If you are ready for a QUANTUM LEAP in 2012 join us for this life-changing process.

    Laura Wolf, Shakti Priestess and Master Facilitator of the Shamanic Breathwork™ Process, trained and taught with Linda Star Wolf, founder of Shamanic Breathwork™, at Venus Rising Association for Transformation in North Carolina. Co-Founder of Shaman’s Heart Sanctuary in Kansas City, Laura Wolf teaches personal transformation and empowerment at her workshops around the country.  

    Location: La Casa de Cultura at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage, Rutledge, MO 63563
    Hours: 8:45 am – 6 pm – arrive early to fill out forms.
    Donation: $100. Pre-Registration Required!
    Early Bird discount: $75 if you register by April 1st.
    Lunch : Lunch is available for $10 at Milkweed Mercantile. Vegans, vegetarians and omnivores are happily accommodated.
    Lodging: Lodging (including handicap accessible) is also available at Milkweed Mercantile. Contact Alline Anderson to reserve lunch or lodging at 660-883-5522 

    Payment: Make check payable to Shaman’s Heart Sanctuary. Mail to Judy Sharp, 251 E. McClintic Pl., Memphis, MO 63555 to reserve your spot. Phone: 660-342-1454.

    Bring: Your open heart & mind, sleeping bag or comforter, additional blanket to cover up with, pillow, water bottle, journal and sacred objects for the community altar.

    Nearby Cities: Quincy, IL – 1.25 hours / Columbia, MO – 2.5 hours / St. Louis, MO – 3.5 hours Fairfield, IA – 1.5 hours / Des Moines, IA – 3 hours

    Shaman’s Heart Sanctuary is a non-profit spiritual community of Venus Rising Association for Transformation

    NOTE: This event is a private event and is not sponsored by the Milkweed Mercantile or Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage but is being held here. We hope you'll join us!

    Wednesday, February 8, 2012

    Some Enchanted Evening - Valentine's Dinner at the Milkweed Mercantile


    Come spend a romantic Valentine's evening with dinner at the Milkweed Mercantile.

     On the menu:
    • Locally-sourced appetizer (most likely this will involve some of Dan's homemade cheese)
    • Boeuf Bourguignon or Tofu Bourguignon (a rich red-wine-based French beef or tofu stew with mushrooms, carrots, tiny onions...)
    • Garlic Mashed Potatoes
    • Vegetable (whatever looks fresh and delicious!)
    • Sprouted-grain rolls
    • Choice of dessert
    A variety of wines from local and/or socially responsible wineries will be available.

    Dessert (included with dinner or available separately)
    • Trio of homemade chocolate truffles
    • Trio of homemade raw/vegan truffles
    • Double Chocolate Cheesecake with nut crust
    • Coeur a la Creme with Blueberry Sauce
     Served with champagne and/or coffee and tea. Note: all desserts are wheat/gluten free.

    Coeur a la Creme

    Valentine's Day Inn Special - Spend Valentine's Night at the Milkweed Mercantile
    We still have two rooms available. Tuesday night only we're offering the Lover's Special: $50 per couple (regularly priced $85-$115)

    Choose from the Rachel Carson (queen size bed) or Wallace Stegner (queen size bed) room.

    Please make your reservations for dinner and/or a room by Sunday, February 12th. If you have any questions, please email or call 660-883-5522.

    Love, Alline, Kurt, Mandy & Jordan