Old Seeds but Good Seeds

Old Seeds but Good SeedsOld Seeds but Good Seeds

By Sambam

As winter started to loosen its firm grip on Toronto, green things began sprouting out of my mind. I wanted to plant some seeds! It was still too cold to plant anything outside but my green thumb was itchy. I decided to get some seeds sprouting in the warmth and the indirect light on the 3rd floor so that they’d be ready for a transplant to the garden by the time spring officially decided to move in.

Old Seeds but Good SeedsOld Seeds but Good Seeds

First step, seeds! We looked through our gardening inventory and found several packets of seeds. The problem was, they were all a year or more past their expiration date. I’m not a big believer in expiration dates. I developed a keen awareness of their arbitrariness while dumpster diving as my main source of food. However, the efficacy of seeds could be more complex than using my nose to tell if a container full of yogurt was spoiled or not. I began searching online for how to test if old seeds were still good or not.

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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.

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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 2017: This is still a work in progress. Renovations to create large open spaces in the house are not yet finished. For a while we tried a higher house fund amount of $230 per month for food and payments to those helping out the most, but abandoned that due to too much accounting required and the fact that people living here preferred to be on a more even level with a set expectation of involvement. So now the house fund is just for basic foods and supplies and is $120 per month (included in monthly amount). And there is a 7 hour per week request to contribute toward cooking, cleaning, etc. Lately we have increased the number of work-exchangers that stay here and work about 20 hours per week and we have a backyard cabin for Airbnb that brings in extra income.

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!

Almost every day there is a large lunch and/or dinner (feast). Even at times when there is no meal, there are often leftovers or it can be a chance to cook something simple. We have a house fund that will pay for purchases from farmers’ markets, Karma Food coop, an organic delivery service, small local stores, 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 incense, perfumes, cologne, soap/shampoo, etc unless very natural.

5. Simple all-inclusive price. 

Depending on size and room features, monthly amounts range from around $500 to $600 and include basic food ingredients, toilet paper, cleaning supplies, all utilities, high speed fiber internet and a house phone for outgoing calls.

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