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Unicorn Cafe November 2017 Update

The drought lingers on and water restrictions in the Cape are getting tighter. This still does not mean you cannot grow your own food. Some of you may have harvested rainwater like us which is essential when you are making your own compost and feeding a worm farm as municipal water is not good for these tasks. You can also filter and use grey water for the garden. Adopting more plants into your diet and eating less meat is a huge save on water resources. As the plants in my garden give me so much joy, I skip a few showers in the week, wear clean clothes twice before washing and use an eco loo which does not flush but instead, is a beneficial ingredient to my own compost heap.

We have had our eco loo for a couple of months now and our first compost heap has been turned twice and by the looks of the dark brown colour coming through, it will be ready soon, to use. The second compost heap should be ready by the time we have used the first and we are already building a third. This is such a rewarding process as I may never have to buy compost again. In our garden with our terrible soil, I buy boot loads of it almost every season which can be an expensive restoration process.

We have been adding many more products onto our website. We have a full range of essential and carrier oils and are adding gardening supplies too including, straw bales, acid compost and the best seedling mix I have ever used recommended by the lovely ladies at Oude Molen. With all the new stock being added to our website, we may not have ordered it in yet. As holding vast quantities of various stock items is capital intensive, we order in when we get the first order for that product. Please note that your order may be the first order for new stock and we ask that you give us some time to source it and get it to you.

We are very excited about our growing range of products and from your continued support, we will provide you with a one stop shop for all your eco conscious needs.

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Unicorn Cafe October 2017 Update

 

I still can’t believe that it’s been a whole year since Unicorn Cafe was registered as a company. While we hoped to be able to set up shop in March 2017, the reality of growing a business brought us closer to earth. We still believe in the magic that this company will make and even though our dreams need more baking time, we are never letting them go.

We are still hunting for premises. Some say foot traffic is the most important point to consider when opening premises and while having a shop in a shiny mall seems absolutely fabulous, we are hesitant as malls have many rules and regulations. Some essential for health, safety and practicality but others are unnecessary and we don’t want to conform to quickly.

We know that those looking for real magic will know where we are and come to us. We are a creative and intellectual bunch and we want to fill our spaces with those that love to ask why? How? and Can we find a better way?

We could also raise some capital, let go of some shares to those with deep pockets (hoping for dividend payouts) but we would just be another company pleasing its shareholders while forgetting the ethics and principles of acquiring the things we need. Instead, we say profit is theft. While we want to grow and give you a magical community space, we don’t want to compromise our values. Therefore, we want to fund educational programs focusing on self sustainability and build our country from the bottom up and not from the top down.

In addition, it has been a year since I started planting seeds. I still feel like an amateur, however, when I look back and compare my success rates now to when I started, it is astounding how much I have learnt. My garden hasn’t replaced the grocery store’s fruit and vegetable section yet, but its been very giving despite my inexperience and terrible soil quality. Reading, persistence and optimism are rewarding still.

I recently attended a seed swapping event in Keurboom park and it dawned on me that this newsletter needs an events section. I realised that I learn valuable snippets of information when meeting like minded people and by sharing knowledge, we help each other grow so I will be sharing events that complement Unicorn Cafe values.

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Unicorn Cafe September 2017 Update

 

As I write this newsletter introduction in August, I notice that it is a beautiful spring day. I was able to drink my morning coffee whilst sitting in the garden and the pets enjoyed the break of dawn with me on the garden bench. It was a special moment to be in the now and enjoy the present.Technically we acknowledge the first day of spring on the 1st of September but by noticing the landscape and wildlife around us we can see spring is blooming and breeding is underway.

Your gardens, like ours, may be responding already by gifting brilliant bursts of colour in the form of flowers, new growth on hibernating trees and perhaps you have a few nests around with some flying lodgers.

I wonder if it’s just me or whether many other people think winter seemed to dash past without stopping for a deep conversation. I expected more rain and I fear the current drought may require even better water management skills to be implemented.

Our past newsletters have had a heavy focus on water management and will continue to do so during the ongoing drought however for this spring edition, we will focus mainly on the garden as this is a busy time for those that find food, sanctuary and healing therapy in plants. Our blog section on our website has all the old articles and you can find an article on recycling grey water,and collecting rainwater in the links provided.

We are adding more and more products to our online store. Since our last newsletter, we have added salt lamps, plant based meat alternatives like turkey rolls, bacon, pastrami, biltong, salami, pepperoni, spare ribs and steak. We also added a range of seitan products including herb roast rolls, garlic bites, and red pepper and black sesame seed rolls. We are also very excited to have added all the vegan options that Pesto Princess has to offer.

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Unicorn Cafe August 2017 Update

It’s August now and we have passed the imaginary halfway mark of Winter, to state the obvious. We got a taste of digital advertising and ran our first Google and Facebook adverts. While we hoped for more reaction,  it was still great to get our name out there.

For those of you who made enquiries about our shop: we almost secured a temporary space in Woodstock, but unfortunately we’re back to the drawing board. We were excited at the prospect of  a space in which you can browse through our products, eat our freshly made food and experience human contact, so naturally we are as disappointed as you are.  However, we are now more determined than ever to keep looking for a home. We acknowledge your wishes to visit our space and we’re determined to secure a venue, even if it is small, as soon as possible. Our vision is to be in a large, dynamic, multi-usable space, so hang on to that idea with us as we make the journey there.

We have been wanting to run an article called Understanding Climate Change for quite some time, and for a number of reasons. One would be that it can be a terribly confusing topic with many different aspects, and often climate denialists pay people to share stories that are misleading and contradictory. It is important for us to understand what is happening to our home planet without it being a daunting process. Scientific equations and terms can be off-putting for the layman, and we want to be able to explain what it is without losing your attention.

Our research process has turned out to be an enormous task and we have fallen into a number of rabbit holes trying to understand the science of planetary boundaries. We will continue our mission on this interesting and necessary topic, so keep a look-out for it in our future newsletters.

You can now buy moringa oil, pendant diffusers, room diffusers, biodegradable earbuds, Himalayan salt, epsom salts (magnesium sulphate), and frozen meals at our online store.

We are working on adding more items at a quicker pace in order to build our variety of eco-friendly products.

Thank you for your support. We are honoured to continue to provide you with our ethical services and products.

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Unicorn Cafe July 2017 Update

 

If you are reading this, you’ve survived the storm. Well done. For some of us, it was a bit windy. For others, it filled rain tanks and, for some South Africans, tragedy struck. A lot of us made jokes about the storm’s predicted severity, some thought others were over-reacting, and then there were Knysna residents walking on the beach with their pets and belongings, watching  entire neighbourhoods burn down.

You never really know what to expect, and although we have amazing meteorologists who give us great forecasts, you can’t really determine what exactly will happen, because storms can be erratic. One can prepare for the worst and hope for the best. One could go a step further and harvest the heavy rainfall that comes with such a storm. This really seems like the way to go, considering the drought in the Western Cape. Climate change is going to make dry areas drier, so being able to store a few thousand litres of water to grow your plants in summer is essential.

We managed to connect our rainwater tanks just before the big storm hit Cape Town and collected about 1000 litres of water overnight. We will share what we learnt about that further down below.

I enjoy cooking, but I seem to be more enthusiastic about making a warm meal when it is cold. Winter is definitely an appetiser all on its own. I thought I would share an old family recipe which is really basic and economical to make. It’s both comforting and filling and you don’t need many ingredients. If you have a fire lit to keep your warm, you could make this in a potjie pot and save electricity. The iron from the pot will be good too.

Our photographer is on leave, so photos for new products are taking longer than expected. We are finding a temporary solution and listing new products regardless. With every new product sourced, we evaluate the packaging the product comes in and ask the following questions: Is the packaging re-usable? Will it compost or end up in a landfill or, worse yet, as litter somewhere? Can we supply this product with zero waste? This involves research, negotiations and sometimes we have to meet our suppliers halfway. We have had a few requests about supplying tofu and we would really like to make some seitan products and vegan cheeses available. However, the only packaging that seems to work is plastic vacuum packaging. As we are still an online store and don’t have the benefit of supplying fresh produce in a store at the moment, this packaging seems like the only practical option we have. We are always keeping an ear close to the ground for new developments and availability of more sustainable options in Cape Town, and our hearts and minds are open to new ideas and options to make ethical food and products easily available to you. We want to meet the needs of you, our customer, and still maintain a deep respect for the environment. After all, the environment is not just the planet, but us and every living being in it.

So we are in a catch 22. We may have to supply some products in  their vacuum packaging, but we will ensure that all this packaging is at the very least recyclable. Recyclable products aren’t the most ideal solution as it still takes a lot of energy to convert the product into something else rather than sterilising it and reusing it. However, as soon as better options become available, we will embrace them.

You can now buy soy mince, vegan marshmallows, walnut oil, virgin olive oil, canola oil, coconut oil, and environmentally friendly biodegradable toothbrushes from our online store.

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Unicorn Cafe Update June 2017

We hope you enjoyed our first newsletter! It’s with great pleasure that we are delivering the second one. We believe in a greener planet, a more sustainable way of living, and a harmonious approach to business. Through these beliefs, we hope to make a green lifestyle more easily attainable for you.

We’ve received a few enquires on whether our cafe is open yet, and we are as eager to create the space as you are to visit it. We are, however, adopting a prudent approach: we will open up when we are able to handle commercial rental rates without strain, so that when we open, we stay open.

During May, we’ve made dark chocolate available on the website. We have ordered in vegan marshmallows and we have some poetry CDs available. Click here to view our new products.

Camping and hiking are wonderful ways to spend time and energy. It’s a reminder of how beautiful nature can be without our buildings, roads, cars and traffic. The air is cleaner and the sounds of the birds and other wildlife put one’s mind in a state of serenity. Taking even a brief trip through the wild can feel like a real holiday, and we tend to overindulge a little bit on these adventures. One of the easiest breakfasts to pack  (besides fruit or cereal) is rusks to dunk in your morning coffee or tea. Vegan rusks are hard to find, so we thought we would give you a rusk recipe. If you are looking for something healthier, you can find another recipe here

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Unicorn Cafe May 2017 Update

 

Finally! I’m writing the Unicorn Cafe’s first blog I think the best way to start, is by introducing ourselves. We are a company that values ethics over profits and, as far as possible,  endeavours to stock the goods you’re looking for.  Alternatively, we’ll strive to fulfil your special requests for those rare items that you can’t find on the shelves of other businesses.

In terms of business size and our future plans, we’re still a seedling. We have an online store where we sell things like smoked v-salmon pieces, vital wheat gluten flour, liquid smoke, portobello mushroom biltong, and T-Shirts promoting environmental well-being.

We have just unpacked olive, coconut, walnut and canola oil. Our biodegradable hard soap has finished curing and is ready for sale.

We’re also very pleased to announce that we’ve discovered a chocolate supplier who deals directly with cocoa farms and produces chocolate here in Cape Town.

We’ll keep you up to speed as our stock list grows!

We take our packaging pretty seriously. Whenever possible, we buy in bulk and custom-package our goods  according to weight in eco-friendly, compostable packaging. We think the plastic lying around the planet and in the seas is gross, and we really don’t want to be a part of that.

We also don’t want to be associated with companies where ethics are compromised. For instance, we want nothing to do with businesses where children are forced by companies or their own families to carry bags of cocoa beans and work long, strenuous hours. We also won’t supply products associated with virgin deforestation and the loss of habitat for forest animals. We ask ourselves if a product is harmful to the earth or whether any species will suffer as a result of its manufacture, production or distribution. We believe companies that effectively promote the destruction of the environment through their product sales shouldn’t be allowed to avail those items to consumers.

We feel that one of the best ways we can contribute to the earth’s well-being, is to make the right speciality products available at one location, and save you the trouble (and fuel!) that goes with travelling from shop to shop searching for scarce items.

Our plan is to grow so that we can plant ourselves, so to speak, in a nice big space and give you a proper Unicorn Cafe experience. This means you will be able to visit and shop in a creative cafe and enjoy an intellectual and educational environment that supports building knowledge, community and culture.

Unicorn Cafe is starting to hold spaces in temporary spots to host special activities. We have set a date for our first morning meditation on the 8th of May. You can check out our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/unicorncafe42/  for more upcoming events and specials.

We don’t want to blindly follow normal business practices; we are innovative and believe in empowering communities and making cultural animation fun and accessible. In short: we have some tricks up our sleeves for when we open up shop, so watch this space!

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