New Moon Ceremony 2015

What is community? For us it’s hard to hit the nail on the head. In summer, it is easy to feel and see, it is cooking amazing food we’ve grown, sharing it together on the front porch, people busy cooking, working on building projects and sharing the abundance of the warmer months.

With the right people, community just flows. However in winter, that same buzz isn’t so much alive, it quietens down. But it’s occasions when we come together such as the New Moon Ceremony we held last night that ground that sense of community again. A space we created to share music, writing and meditation to set our intentions for 2015.

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Coming together to set intentions for 2015.

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A chance to come together and be creative.

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Airbnb – A reflection on our experience

By Bridie

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Our listed private cabin on Airbnb

Airbnb is a global phenomenon exemplifying the power of technology and online branded platforms that allow everyday people to get a ‘slice of the pie’ that once was reserved for business owners or the very brave. Our digital age has seemingly made it possible for anyone to be a taxi driver albeit Uber or bed and breakfast owner – thanks to Airbnb!

Our detached cabin is the perfect nook for paying guests to step in and out of our community life as they please. For Lotus Feast we’ve found the benefits of Airbnb to be wide ranging, including:

Social good

  1. It is a way to share what we are doing with interested visitors.
  2. Enables the cabin to be available for house members for special needs. i.e: a guest or romantic partner, or just a personal retreat. Either between bookings or with advance notice.
  3. We can have the option of offering our cabin to nearby neighbours in need of space for visiting guests.
  4. It is also interesting to participate in the new sharing economy trend.

Our Lotus Feast home

  1. Brings in a fair bit of extra revenue so there is less need to raise rents, less need to seek full revenue from all rooms allowing for either less people or more work-exchangers. And more space created for shared community use. And we can put some of the revenue towards increasing the food budget.
  2. Great incentive to keep the house clean and organized.
  3. Nice to learn about and experience living with a diversity of people from various cultures and backgrounds. We can feel connected to the world. Instead of going travelling the travelers come to us.

Click ‘continue reading’ and scroll down to also see more images.

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Work exchange at Lotus Feast – Why you’ll love it!

By Bridie

Building the Rooftop Deck

In the midst of building our rooftop deck P.S. that’s our edible rooftop garden in the background!

Work exchange is like a holiday with a purpose. If you’re looking to learn how to live a ‘greener’ lifestyle, this is the work exchange house for you. It gives people the chance to work in exchange for food and board and experience what it means to live in a ‘sustainable focused community house’.

So what are the kinds of jobs you would be doing? Without a word of a lie, these are some of the things I have worked on, which have been more like heavenly learning experiences than ‘work’ (see photos at the bottom of this post):

  • Brewing kamboocha
  • Picking cherries & apples from neighborhood trees to make jam
  • Making chemical-free paint and painting walls
  • Making kale chips in the dehydrator
  • Building a roof-top deck
  • Making sauerkraut
  • Growing food for our kitchen – tomatoes, herbs & edible flowers
  • Shopping at local farmers markets
  • Helping out with tidying around the house

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My Favourite Summer Project: chemical-free clay plaster paint

By Bridie

Our latest project at Lotus Feast has been clay plaster painting our new yoga room walls, it’s 100% free of chemicals and uses natural mineral dies. This isn’t the first time we’ve used plaster paint as an alternative to traditional paint, but this time we went a little further – we’ve added flower petals from our garden to the wall!

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A shot of the process: the natural sandy colour captures natural light while still creating a sense of warmth and depth to the room.

A beautiful textured and natural finish,  the sandy colour gives our yoga room an earthy warm feeling and the petals make it our little piece of lasting summer no matter how long the Toronto winter lasts. Into the wet paint we blew, threw and pressed hand-cut nasturtium, lavender and yellow daisy petals from our garden.

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IMG_1754Why you should give it a go…

  • It is a beautiful all natural alternative
  • The textured sand finish adds an earthy feel to your home
  • It does not require extra plastering to get a perfectly smooth wall, because the of the thickness and texture of clay paint covers it up, meaning less time spent sanding and plastering the walls 
  • No need to prime the entire wall, you just need to prime any dusty areas (e.g. plastered seams and plastered screws) 

Colour Sampling

Colour sampling

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Petal cutting

Petals that look like goldfish chatting

A few tips and tricks we’ve learnt on the way… Continue reading

Our meal sharing systems

MoJo, Matt, Steve, Kat, Lee and Maria at one of our shared meals on the front porch.

Over the years we have had varying degrees of success with sharing food. We have tried out a number of approaches from everyone buying their own food supplies to sharing most ingredients. We have tried both an incentive system and one based on taking turns cooking.

Nov 2012 Update: Our latest attempt at an organized shared meal system started in May 2012 and so far so good, We typically have three or four delicious community dinners per week, plus the sharing of smaller meals, snacks and treats. Usually there are leftovers. We have made some significant changes to the how we share. We now buy all our food ingredients out of a shared housefund of $230 per person per month. This fund also has been paying $35 per dinner to any of us willing to cook.

Starting this month, we are trying a slightly different way of rewarding people. Whatever is left in the house fund at the end of a month after paying for food and cleaning supplies will be distributed evenly as an hourly rate among those who recorded time spent cooking and cleaning.

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New vision: simple vegetarian living • spiritual practice

Introducing a new type of shared living that started  here May 1, 2012.  Update Jan 31, 2013: Third floor west-facing room available Feb 1st ($450 + $230 housefund). Or $190 per week. A housemate of ours took a last minute trip to South America. Another housemate is going on vacation. Her room is available until March 26 or so.

There are five aspects to the new vision:

1. Learn and experience a healthy vegetarian lifestyle. 

We want to support those who want to try a vegetarian/vegan diet and can benefit from living with other new and seasoned veggies. Up to three bedrooms will be for shorter term (up to one year) new vegetarians, and the rest will be for experienced vegetarians who are open to helping the new people. There will be documentary nights and shared cooking of dinners where you are encouraged to help out and learn. There may be cooking classes or just learning through osmosis.

2. Inviting spiritual practice. 

This will be up to everyone living here to co-create: but we are aiming to have a weekly sharing event that includes meditation, devotional chanting, movement, etc. There will also be time to resolve any interpersonal tensions that come up. We also anticipate having some yoga, dance, and music jams happening in the house – both spontaneous and planned.

3. Home cooked meals will be included!

Every week there are 2 or 3 dinners (feasts) and several smaller meal preparations. Those who cook receive some money back from the house fund. Even at times when there is no meal, there are often leftovers or it can be a chance to cook on your own or go out for dinner. We have a house fund that will pay for purchases from farmers’ markets, Karma Food coop, an organic delivery service, ONFC buying club for bulk grains, etc.

4. Environmental focus. 

We are looking for people who care about the environment and are willing to avoid plastic packaging and products, open to fixing things instead of buying new, and not wearing/using chemically scented perfumes, cologne, soap/shampoo, etc unless very natural.

5. Simple all-inclusive price. 

Depending on size and room features, rents will range from $355 to $470 and will include all utilities, high speed cable internet and house phone for outgoing calls. In addition there will be a monthly house fund fee of $230 that will cover groceries, house purchases (kitchen equipment, garden plants, etc) and will pay residents who want to cook and clean. The total cost will be around $650 but less for those who actively participate.

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