Minimizing Waste at White Lotus


Laurel Peterson

Byron Johnson next to the White Lotus Farms stall at the Farmers Market.

White Lotus Farms is a small community of Buddhist practitioners that farm, harvest and bake food together. Any food they sell was made less than 24 hours before.

“Part of our spiritual practice is sharing the joy we feel by making really high quality products,” said Byron Johnson, a farmer who’s been with White Lotus for nine years.

Deciding how much to bring to the farmers’ market each week is complicated because there are many factors that play into how much will be bought, but even if too much is brought, it doesn’t go to waste: the leftover microgreens go to the salads of the people who live at White Lotus; the pastries go to local firehouses (after White Lotus vendors walk around and see if the other vendors want any); and ingredients such as the mozzarella get reused in ravioli.

Additionally, you may have noticed that they get a new seasonal croissant every month.

“We never know what [it’s] gonna be,” said Johnson. “The baker just does what he wants. Changes it up.”

They also keep adding more permanent new items to their menu.

“This year we started selling farming salads with botanical flowers, which are like little art compositions,” Johnson said. “And we’ve started making our own pasta.”