Friday, January 23, 2015

Milkweed Mercantile at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage Seeks Kitchen Helper and Building Assistant

Milkweed Mercantile Internship
Kitchen Helper and Building Assistant
March 31 – October 31,  2015

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 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.
  • We need a minimum three-month commitment between April and October. 
  • 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.
  • Successful applicants do not have to have specific cook or construction experience already, as we will train you! However, a good attitude and openness to learning is a MUST.
  • 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

Your time will be divided between the construction site and the kitchen, depending upon where you are most needed.
  • You will assist 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.
  • Washing dishes, pots and pans.
  • Help Kurt with whatever task is next in the construction of the "Honeymoon Bungalow."
  • Be open to learning basic construction skills, with hand tools and power tools. Included may be insulating the walls and ceiling, sheet rock installation and mudding, painting, plumbing, electrical work, finish trim work, much, much more.

The Bungalow is located behind the Mercantile. It is a one-room cottage, with attached hot tub and outdoor shower on the left). The exterior is finished - this spring/summer we hope to finish the interior!

  • 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 AND/OR some construction experience.
  • If you are a vegan or vegetarian, you must be willing to cook and serve meat.
  • 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 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…
  • Working with local farmers, gardeners, beekeepers and other food producers
  • Foraging for wild seasonal ingredients
  • Helping in the garden
  • Waiting/busing tables
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. 

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 - 26 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.

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