Over the past eight years, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness has established fourteen successful farming communities in various parts of the world. As national economies flounder and cities go bankrupt, ISKCON’s farms flourish and grow, proving that the Krishna consciousness movement is providing not only potent spiritual knowledge, but a viable alternative lifestyle as well. There’s full employment for everyone and natural prosperity when everything’s done for Lord Krishna. For more information please write ISKCON’s Secretary at 3764 Watseka Ave., Los Angeles, Ca. 90034.
Fraction of Yield Supplies N.Y. Temple
NEW VARSANA (Port Royal, Pa.) From our experience over the past year, we’re clearly seeing that Krishna’s arrangement for “simple living and high thinking” is easily available for anyone who wants it. By Krishna’s grace we were able to feed the entire New York temple of over one hundred devotees throughout the summer with only a fraction of the yield from our garden (two acres of assorted vegetables), one acre of potatoes, and our small herd of cows. And there’s plenty left to last the rest of the year, too. In fact, the potatoes we harvested from that one acre could supply the New York devotees for five years! It took six devotees only two days to cut and hand-plant one ton of seed potatoes, and when the potatoes were ready, we dug them up with a simple horse-drawn potato digger that worked very well.
Krishna’s six hives of honeybees are still busily gathering what will be our third crop of honey. The honey collected so far has been offered to Their Lordships Sri Sri Radha-Govinda at the New York temple, sold at the temple store, and given as gifts to the Deities of other temples. The careful management of Adipati has strengthened the hives, and they should produce twice as much honey next year.
Under the management of Devakinandana dasa, our milking operation is also flourishing. Nineteen Brown Swiss cows give about eight hundred fifty gallons of milk weekly, of which two hundred goes to the New York temple. The rest is sold to a nearby dairy, and the income from these sales helps to cover our farm expenses. Our oxen-training program is also off to a good start. One bull has reached training age and will soon be hauling firewood to heat the new building.
Over five hundred neighbors from around the county came to an open house we recently held. Our guests dined on a vegetarian feast offered to Lord Krishna, saw the Hare Krishna movie, talked with the devotees, and appreciated our cows. Generally they seemed quite pleased with their new neighbors. We’ve also started a program at nearby Penn State University. It seems that Krishna is providing everything we could ask for to advance in His service.
British Columbia Farm Flourishing
Baby bulls train as oxen at New Gokula.
NEW GOKULA (Bridesville, British Columbia) In the crisp Canadian morning air, the sound of a drum echoes off the surrounding hills, hand cymbals ring, and voices rise in song as the devotees of Krishna begin another day of devotional service. This is New Gokula, the 320-acre ISKCON farm-asrama in the interior of Canada’s westernmost province, British Columbia. Just five miles from Bridesville in the district of Rock Creek, it lies on the rolling land that ends at the United States border.
One of our main projects this summer was transforming the seventy-year-old farmhouse originally on the property into a shining new temple for Their Lordships Sri Sri Radha Madana-mohana (the presiding Deities of the community). We doubled the area of the old house by adding a kitchen, a serving room, a guest area, workrooms, and offices. Since Canadian winters are long and snowy, we insulated the entire house and built a special sun-room with double insulating glass for Srimati Tulasidevi (a sacred plant dear to Krishna). The neighbors are amazed at the transformation of the house and farm. All of them are helpful and encouraging: they teach us things like how to get a tractor out of the mud, and we teach them about Krishna.
Rabbits, deer, and squirrels are a few of the many kinds of creatures who share the land with us, but the main animals are the cows. We have nineteen of them (eight of which are milk cows), six calves, a collection of heifers, and four oxen. During the day, they can all be seen grazing on the hills. For several weeks this summer we fenced off one rather wild pasture area, only to find that the cows were too spoiled to eat such rough grasses. They are accustomed to highly cultivated fields. In the spring they loved to get into the budding crop of winter wheat and nibble on the tasty grains. Now, however, they are settling down in a rich pasture of oats.
The cows are giving over three hundred pounds of milk a day, keeping the devotees well nourished. We especially delight in offering Lord Krishna fancy preparations made with yogurt, ghee (clarified butter), cream and curd. All the devotees here at New Gokula are realizing the vital importance of the cow to human life.
New Gokula is especially suited for growing alfalfa. This crop is quite wonderful: not only is it very high protein and the best of all feeds (the cows love it), but it also enriches the soil with nitrogen. It has long roots that absorb minerals and water, and after it’s planted, it grows for more than ten years without reseeding.
Weatherwise, it’s been a strange year: very cool and dry in the spring, and then cool and wet in summer. Because of this the vegetables did poorly this year, but the grains are doing great. We expect to harvest them soon and fill our granaries to the brim with almost 150 tons of Krishna’s mercy.
All in all, though we’ve had some difficulties, we here in New Gokula are very happy and content. We’re confident that if we just follow Srila Prabhupada’s instructions and worship Krishna wholeheartedly, He will provide us with everything we need—both materially and spiritually.