Report: ISKCON Europe Farm Conference 27th and 28th of April 2010 Prabhupadadesh

The conference was attended by about thirty persons with participation from twelve different farming projects. Some of those present represented ISKCON projects and others were representing their own farm initiatives.

Day One.

The conference was attended by about thirty persons with participation from twelve different farming projects. Some of those present represented ISKCON projects and others were representing their own farm initiatives.

Day One.

There was a report by Syamasundara dasa from a farm survey for the year of
2009 and this was followed by a presentation of the strategies being
developed over Europe. This survey (see attached file) outlined the
quantities of produce in different categories and will serve as a
measurement for the coming years. A number of farms did not submit their
results and consequently the survey is not fully complete. One of the
significant elements measured is the number of ox working hours done by each
project. For the whole of Europe it was reported that over 7,200 ox hours
have been done. This will increase each year as more farms take to counting
and reporting their ox hours. Hungary reported 3,900 ox hours, Bhaktivedanta
Manor reported 3,000, Czech farm 250, Slovakia farm 100, polish farm 15.
Most farms reported they were struggling or maintaining. One farm reported
that it was in decline. From the reports received we can inform you that the
Hungarian Farm New Vrajadhama was the most product over all categories,
Bhaktivedanta Manor (UK) was second, New Santipur (Poland) was third. In
fourth was New Vrajamandala (Spain), fifth was VillaVrinavana (Italy), sixth
was Almviksgaard (Sweden), Simhacalam (Germany) was seventh, eigth Radhadesh
(Belgium) and ninth was Inisrath (Northern Ireland). We did not receive
reports from New Mayapura (France), Prabhupadesh (Italy), New Ekacakra-apart
from ox hours(Slovakia), Krishnadvur – Czech, KarunaBhavana (Scotland) or
some of the affiliated farm projects
The strategies outlined included the requirement to work with leaders in the
promotion and support of the farm projects, to develop monthly cow
donor-ship schemes that included the protection of the cow protectors, to
support growers by utilisation of products by the temples, projects and
congregation, Establishment of three regional representatives of the
Ministry who would assist with monitoring and reporting.
Next to make a presentation was the family team of Gunagrahi dasa and his
wife Rukmini devidasi. They made a very interesting report on the products
they make and how they market them at specialised markets around their area
of Italy. They have been maintaining their family for the past 11 years on
their own products. The products they have been making include, soaps, bread
and cakes, honey and honey products, flours, soaps, cosmetics, Whole grains,
Pasta and jams. They are assisted by their children. Rukmini gave the
consideration that there could be about 7 such projects being served by the
markets they produce for around Italy.
Using the herbs around you was then presented by KrishnaBhakti Devi dasi.
She explained how she was growing certain herbs and how she was preparing
them for teas, medications and food. As part of the information she shared
some of the problems with modern chemical based drugs. To balance this she
explained about some of the natural remedies you can get around you.
Krishnabhakti informed the audience how to make certain natural cosmetics
using natural oils and local herbs. Krystyna.henrikson@tele2.se
Turning excess vegetables in health juices formed the part of the next
presentation. The speaker was Partha Prabhu from New Vrajadhama who
explained that in 2009 they had quite a surplus of Pumpkins and carrots. In
true New Vrajadhama entrepreneurial style the community sourced a company
that turned such things into marketable juices. Their pumpkins and carrots
was juiced and bottled to start a new product range they called Govindas.
Gaura Sakhti Prabhu suggested the formation of a europewide database of
devotee made products that could be used by the various ISKCON and other
projects around Europe. The Thought was that in particular temple based
shops and restaurants can support the farm producers by taking from their
product ranges. For further information please see the ppt of this
presentation.
Happy Kuh, a project established in 2009 by Syamabihari Prabhu and his wife
Sitarani Prabhu near Munich. Syamabihari took us through some slides of
their cows and their project, letting us know of its history and some the
hurdles. He showed visiting families and children appreciating the cows.
They are building barns for their small herd of cows and oxen. Some families
are helping maintain the cows but more are needed. This farm is focusing on
saving cows from slaughter and as yet are not milking cows or working oxen.
He maintains the project by taking two part time jobs and spends the
remaining time on the farm. Sitarani is doing a doctorate in farming without
slaughter
In the afternoon the group was escorted by Gurucarana Prabhu (Temple
President) and Madhumangala and wife Govindanandinai prabhus (horticulture)
around the farm project and introduced to many aspects of rural development
being developed at the farm. First thing we were shown the wood chip heating
system used at Prabhupadesh. They are using about 300m3 if wood a year for
this heating system and they calculated that they were saving 75% from their
heating bills over the previous fossil fuel based system. The boiler is fed
by a corkscrew that brings in wood chips from a holding room. Regularly a
truck load of chips is poured in the woodchip store and then it is
automatically fed into the boilers.
During the tour of the productive areas the group where shown the extensive
esplanade fruit growing areas and its irrigation system. Apples, cherries,
peaches and grapes where growing nicely. While we were present at the farm
we were eating the cauliflowers and spinaches grown from the land and
offered to their Lordships Sri Sri Gaura-nitai. The farm grows some wheat
which they intend to use themselves. They also rent out part of their land
to a local farmer. There is a two hectare (5 acre) plot of land growing
short rotation biomass in the form of Hazel (I think it was hazel). This
will partly fuel the temple boiler once they are fully established and in
regular rotational harvesting.
As well as vegetables we were shown some flower production and the herb
gardens. For a short period we went underground to see the old wine cellar
of the estate and which also accommodates a sunken well providing the
irrigation water for the crops. As well as being dark, it was also
incredibly cold and was a natural food store.
Concluding our tour we saw the building ready to house any future Goshalla.
This comprised a three storey building built into the hillside that was
previously used for cows but now stands idle in anticipation for a new
resurge in cow protection. This had about 2 acres surrounding it with a high
stock fence to keep the eager cows out the vegetable patches.
Day one ended with a discussion by SmitaKrishna Maharaja on the connection
between the cows and mother earth. The audience were all drawn on into the
natural progression of understanding the close connection between the cow
and mother earth. The hearers could feel conviction growing on the
rightfulness of working with nature and the cows. There was an interesting
discussion on the position of drinking or using milk from cows that were
being slaughtered. Different views were expressed from both sides.  We were
reminded about Srila Prabhupadas position on drinking milk, of benefitting
the cows by offering the milk, that Srila Prabhupada did not say not to
drink milk despite the arrangements how it is obtained presently, It was
mentioned that Srial Prabhpada wanted us to establish cow protection
projects where milk is obtained in the right way, was it right to be
arrogant by those who drink milk and do not see concerned for the cows who
have suffered in its collection, Should those who drink milk be doing more,
perhaps maintaining at least one cow, perhaps supporting cow protection or
establishing their own cow protection.

Day Two

Syamasundara used two verses from the Srimad Bhagavatam to highlight the
challenges of establishing Cow Protection. One verse pointed out the need
for a cow, calf, bucket and a milk person. The second verse talked on the
needs of a family man to include a home, work, children, money and social
interaction. The emphasis of the discussion was stressing that cow
protection projects should be based on householder economics and  that most
of the income required to maintain cow protection is needed to protect the
cow protector. Various farms indicated that their costs per cow were between
500 and 700 euro per year per cow/ox. The audience were then taken through
the costs for a cow protector. Near Prabhupadadesh housing cost about
150,000 euro or rent cost about 500 euro per month. It was mentioned that a
family around prabhupadadesh would require about 20,000 euro per year. The
production of protected milk was not about saving money but was about
producing the right type of milk.
    The discussion went on to talk about the need for congregational
support to underpin cow protection at the present time due to the inability
or unwillingness of temples/projects to pay the actual production costs
(including cow protectors). There was a rough analysis that milk at
Prabhupadesh would cost about 2.70 euro per litre to produce. Milk is bought
locally at 50cents per litre currently. A number of farms already have a
number of monthly donors and this was indicated as one of the core
strategies for developing cow protection in Europe.
    As well as having a donor base the cow protection projects cannot be
done by one person but three person are needed in full time, part time or
occasional cover to ensure seven days a week protection and to have a person
during sicknesses or breaks. It was proposed that the goshalla should have a
team comprising a temple council representative so that the goshalla and
temple are in synchronisation with each other, there should be a donor
representative to ensure cow protection money is used for cow protection
related activities.
    Palliative cow care is a very important aspect of cow protection and
will probably be required for most of the ageing members of our herds. Wenda
Shehata who has a farm she runs with her Husband Mathew in the south of
England made a comprehensive presentation on all the considerations that
need to implemented to have a successful care system for our most vunerable
cows. She pointed out the challenges of dealing with animal health issues
and the law. Depending on the reason for a cow to need special attention
Wenda gave the things that should be put in place to ensure the cows are
made as comfortable as possible and that all required medical and other
attention is fully implanted. She explained about her own herd of cows and
her experiences with homeopathy and also with working with the local
veterinarians.
    There was a need for training for cow protection projects in
palliative care and it was mentioned that there may be a course established
to train cow protectors in this area. Please see the power point for a the
detailed presentation
    Dhoop Making. Wenda and her husband are not supported by temples or
a congregation but have to find means to make financial support by turning
the products from the land and the cows into revenue to maintain the herd.
During this session the conference members where shown how to make cow dung
incense. She mixed various dry powders (by inclusion with essential oils one
could have great aromatic incense) with fresh dung (brought from her farm –
to the probable dismay of the customs people who had riffled through her
hold luggage) and then showed how to squeeze the mix into a 30cm piece of
water pipe. Once the pipe was full a rod (just thick enogh to get into the
pipe) was pushed through and thus expelling the thick line of cowdung. This
was cut into 5 cm lengths and we were advised to let it dry fully over a
number of days. The mix we were exposed to was for mosquito repellent and so
may not be something for your front room or altar, but it was earthy and
natural and you could guess would work keeping the mosees out. For more
details please contact wenda on wendashehata@yahoo.com
    His Grace Balabhadra Prabhua – The ISKCON Global Minister for Cow
Protection and Agriculture was not able to attend the conference due to
health and travel limitations, however by the strength of modern technology
the conference members were able to see and discuss things with him over the
internet. Balabhadra Prabhu described some of the things that were going on
in other parts of the world, in particular he mentioned about the
establishment of a farm representative for India and with regional
representatives in each part. He informed us about the successful restaurant
projects in Australia and how the profit was being used to develop the farms
there. They also have a devotee who can oversee their farm projects.
    Belarus and Ukraine have eager and enthusiastic devotees there on
the farms and Balabhadra explained about how many cows they have. He intends
to visit Europe in the Autumn and spend some weeks in Belarus/Ukraine and
then some weeks in Sweden training their young oxen.
New Vrajadhama Ox leader Govindanandana next gave a presentation on the use
of the oxen and community in making and gathering hay, collecting a wide
variety of grains, threshing and packaging. They had brought a selection of
the crops they were growing including grains, seeds and some specialist
crops. They are researching the nutritional benefits of different foods and
are growing with that in mind. Most of the farm work is done using oxen and
it was reported that they farm about 100 acres using oxen.  Some of the cows
are traditional Hungarian greys, some are European Simmental type and some
are true Indian zebu. They have a full fledged Indian bull who they are
hoping will give them good heat tolerant bulls for work during the
unforgiving intense Hungarian summer. There are many important and leading
projects being developed at New Vrajadhama but during the conference we only
allocated time for a couple.
    It was impressive seeing the whole community coming out to help with
the harvesting and to see the whole process being overseen by Sri Govardhana
Lala the temple govardhana sila. Some crops were harvested using ox cutters
and some, due to the fragility on the stem where carefully hand cut and
gently stacked on the waiting ox carts. From there the crops were laid out
in a marquee for drying and then eventual threshing in the goshalla ox
powered threshing drum. gnanda@freemail.hu
    Biscuit Business near Prabhupadadesh. There is a devotee who has a
factory making biscuits under the Govindas label. This business started at
Prabhupadadesh but quickly expanded beyond the facilities available. Now
there is an impressive small business making batch biscuits using a lot of
modern automated machinery. The company employs about four devotees who help
with the different aspects of the manufacture. The members of the conference
took the brisk 20 minute walk to the factory, met with the devotee heading
up the business, asked various questions about the process, tasted some
samples, bought some products for themselves or family and then took the
return not quite so brisk walk back to Prabhupadadesh. This business shows
that there are viable outlets for grains produced from Krishna farms. The
presentation had the conference members buzzing with possibilities for their
own farms and projects. biogovinda@lbero.it
New Vrajamandala – Spain. Bhakta Alberto who is self-confessed cow herd boy
for the last eleven years at the farm showed a short video showing the
wonderful benefit of having children and cows together. The viewers were
heart warmed at seeing the children milking cows and being happy in their
company.    Albertovaquero108@hotmail.com
Earth and the cows part two. Smita Krishna maharaja continued taking the
farming devotees on an insight into nature and the cows and mother earth. At
a certain point he led the devotees to a 400 year tree and used that as a
focus point to discuss nature and Krishna and mother earth. When he had
concluded the tree was not seen in the same way as it was before. The group
were then taken to the garden and asked to find a place they felt
comfortable with. One devotee was asked to represent the earth and the
groups placed themselves around her where they felt right. During the
questioning of the onlookers to mother earth there were tears shed and
choked voices as the audience entered a natural space where they felt in the
presence of mother earth and appreciated her kindness and bountifulness.
Mother earth is giving everything so why do we worry and look elsewhere to
the artificial things in life. The participants finished this seminar by the
maharaja appreciating nature and of being in harmony with her and being
happy for being devotees. Smita.Krsna.Swami@pamho.net
    The final part of the event was the customary thank you’s and
appreciations followed by the practical details of what next and where do we
go in 2011. The feedback liked the content of the conference, wanted more
practical hands on workshops and wanted a longer conference. The group
agreed to have a three day conference in the second week of may in 2011 and
requested Bhaktivedanta Manor to host it.

ISKCON Europe Farm Conference 27th and 28th of April 2010
Prabhupadadesh – Near Venice
Syamasundara dasa
(ISKCON European Minister for Cow Protection and Agriculture)

The conference was attended by about thirty persons with participation from
twelve different farming projects. Some of those present represented ISKCON
projects and others were representing their own farm initiatives.

Day One.
There was a report by Syamasundara dasa from a farm survey for the year of
2009 and this was followed by a presentation of the strategies being
developed over Europe. This survey (see attached file) outlined the
quantities of produce in different categories and will serve as a
measurement for the coming years. A number of farms did not submit their
results and consequently the survey is not fully complete. One of the
significant elements measured is the number of ox working hours done by each
project. For the whole of Europe it was reported that over 7,200 ox hours
have been done. This will increase each year as more farms take to counting
and reporting their ox hours. Hungary reported 3,900 ox hours, Bhaktivedanta
Manor reported 3,000, Czech farm 250, Slovakia farm 100, polish farm 15.
Most farms reported they were struggling or maintaining. One farm reported
that it was in decline. From the reports received we can inform you that the
Hungarian Farm New Vrajadhama was the most product over all categories,
Bhaktivedanta Manor (UK) was second, New Santipur (Poland) was third. In
fourth was New Vrajamandala (Spain), fifth was VillaVrinavana (Italy), sixth
was Almviksgaard (Sweden), Simhacalam (Germany) was seventh, eigth Radhadesh
(Belgium) and ninth was Inisrath (Northern Ireland). We did not receive
reports from New Mayapura (France), Prabhupadesh (Italy), New Ekacakra-apart
from ox hours(Slovakia), Krishnadvur – Czech, KarunaBhavana (Scotland) or
some of the affiliated farm projects
The strategies outlined included the requirement to work with leaders in the
promotion and support of the farm projects, to develop monthly cow
donor-ship schemes that included the protection of the cow protectors, to
support growers by utilisation of products by the temples, projects and
congregation, Establishment of three regional representatives of the
Ministry who would assist with monitoring and reporting.
Next to make a presentation was the family team of Gunagrahi dasa and his
wife Rukmini devidasi. They made a very interesting report on the products
they make and how they market them at specialised markets around their area
of Italy. They have been maintaining their family for the past 11 years on
their own products. The products they have been making include, soaps, bread
and cakes, honey and honey products, flours, soaps, cosmetics, Whole grains,
Pasta and jams. They are assisted by their children. Rukmini gave the
consideration that there could be about 7 such projects being served by the
markets they produce for around Italy.
Using the herbs around you was then presented by KrishnaBhakti Devi dasi.
She explained how she was growing certain herbs and how she was preparing
them for teas, medications and food. As part of the information she shared
some of the problems with modern chemical based drugs. To balance this she
explained about some of the natural remedies you can get around you.
Krishnabhakti informed the audience how to make certain natural cosmetics
using natural oils and local herbs. Krystyna.henrikson@tele2.se
Turning excess vegetables in health juices formed the part of the next
presentation. The speaker was Partha Prabhu from New Vrajadhama who
explained that in 2009 they had quite a surplus of Pumpkins and carrots. In
true New Vrajadhama entrepreneurial style the community sourced a company
that turned such things into marketable juices. Their pumpkins and carrots
was juiced and bottled to start a new product range they called Govindas.
Gaura Sakhti Prabhu suggested the formation of a europewide database of
devotee made products that could be used by the various ISKCON and other
projects around Europe. The Thought was that in particular temple based
shops and restaurants can support the farm producers by taking from their
product ranges. For further information please see the ppt of this
presentation.
Happy Kuh, a project established in 2009 by Syamabihari Prabhu and his wife
Sitarani Prabhu near Munich. Syamabihari took us through some slides of
their cows and their project, letting us know of its history and some the
hurdles. He showed visiting families and children appreciating the cows.
They are building barns for their small herd of cows and oxen. Some families
are helping maintain the cows but more are needed. This farm is focusing on
saving cows from slaughter and as yet are not milking cows or working oxen.
He maintains the project by taking two part time jobs and spends the
remaining time on the farm. Sitarani is doing a doctorate in farming without
slaughter
In the afternoon the group was escorted by Gurucarana Prabhu (Temple
President) and Madhumangala and wife Govindanandinai prabhus (horticulture)
around the farm project and introduced to many aspects of rural development
being developed at the farm. First thing we were shown the wood chip heating
system used at Prabhupadesh. They are using about 300m3 if wood a year for
this heating system and they calculated that they were saving 75% from their
heating bills over the previous fossil fuel based system. The boiler is fed
by a corkscrew that brings in wood chips from a holding room. Regularly a
truck load of chips is poured in the woodchip store and then it is
automatically fed into the boilers.
During the tour of the productive areas the group where shown the extensive
esplanade fruit growing areas and its irrigation system. Apples, cherries,
peaches and grapes where growing nicely. While we were present at the farm
we were eating the cauliflowers and spinaches grown from the land and
offered to their Lordships Sri Sri Gaura-nitai. The farm grows some wheat
which they intend to use themselves. They also rent out part of their land
to a local farmer. There is a two hectare (5 acre) plot of land growing
short rotation biomass in the form of Hazel (I think it was hazel). This
will partly fuel the temple boiler once they are fully established and in
regular rotational harvesting.
As well as vegetables we were shown some flower production and the herb
gardens. For a short period we went underground to see the old wine cellar
of the estate and which also accommodates a sunken well providing the
irrigation water for the crops. As well as being dark, it was also
incredibly cold and was a natural food store.
Concluding our tour we saw the building ready to house any future Goshalla.
This comprised a three storey building built into the hillside that was
previously used for cows but now stands idle in anticipation for a new
resurge in cow protection. This had about 2 acres surrounding it with a high
stock fence to keep the eager cows out the vegetable patches.
Day one ended with a discussion by SmitaKrishna Maharaja on the connection
between the cows and mother earth. The audience were all drawn on into the
natural progression of understanding the close connection between the cow
and mother earth. The hearers could feel conviction growing on the
rightfulness of working with nature and the cows. There was an interesting
discussion on the position of drinking or using milk from cows that were
being slaughtered. Different views were expressed from both sides.  We were
reminded about Srila Prabhupadas position on drinking milk, of benefitting
the cows by offering the milk, that Srila Prabhupada did not say not to
drink milk despite the arrangements how it is obtained presently, It was
mentioned that Srial Prabhpada wanted us to establish cow protection
projects where milk is obtained in the right way, was it right to be
arrogant by those who drink milk and do not see concerned for the cows who
have suffered in its collection, Should those who drink milk be doing more,
perhaps maintaining at least one cow, perhaps supporting cow protection or
establishing their own cow protection.

Day Two.
Syamasundara used two verses from the Srimad Bhagavatam to highlight the
challenges of establishing Cow Protection. One verse pointed out the need
for a cow, calf, bucket and a milk person. The second verse talked on the
needs of a family man to include a home, work, children, money and social
interaction. The emphasis of the discussion was stressing that cow
protection projects should be based on householder economics and  that most
of the income required to maintain cow protection is needed to protect the
cow protector. Various farms indicated that their costs per cow were between
500 and 700 euro per year per cow/ox. The audience were then taken through
the costs for a cow protector. Near Prabhupadadesh housing cost about
150,000 euro or rent cost about 500 euro per month. It was mentioned that a
family around prabhupadadesh would require about 20,000 euro per year. The
production of protected milk was not about saving money but was about
producing the right type of milk.
    The discussion went on to talk about the need for congregational
support to underpin cow protection at the present time due to the inability
or unwillingness of temples/projects to pay the actual production costs
(including cow protectors). There was a rough analysis that milk at
Prabhupadesh would cost about 2.70 euro per litre to produce. Milk is bought
locally at 50cents per litre currently. A number of farms already have a
number of monthly donors and this was indicated as one of the core
strategies for developing cow protection in Europe.
    As well as having a donor base the cow protection projects cannot be
done by one person but three person are needed in full time, part time or
occasional cover to ensure seven days a week protection and to have a person
during sicknesses or breaks. It was proposed that the goshalla should have a
team comprising a temple council representative so that the goshalla and
temple are in synchronisation with each other, there should be a donor
representative to ensure cow protection money is used for cow protection
related activities.
    Palliative cow care is a very important aspect of cow protection and
will probably be required for most of the ageing members of our herds. Wenda
Shehata who has a farm she runs with her Husband Mathew in the south of
England made a comprehensive presentation on all the considerations that
need to implemented to have a successful care system for our most vunerable
cows. She pointed out the challenges of dealing with animal health issues
and the law. Depending on the reason for a cow to need special attention
Wenda gave the things that should be put in place to ensure the cows are
made as comfortable as possible and that all required medical and other
attention is fully implanted. She explained about her own herd of cows and
her experiences with homeopathy and also with working with the local
veterinarians.
    There was a need for training for cow protection projects in
palliative care and it was mentioned that there may be a course established
to train cow protectors in this area. Please see the power point for a the
detailed presentation
    Dhoop Making. Wenda and her husband are not supported by temples or
a congregation but have to find means to make financial support by turning
the products from the land and the cows into revenue to maintain the herd.
During this session the conference members where shown how to make cow dung
incense. She mixed various dry powders (by inclusion with essential oils one
could have great aromatic incense) with fresh dung (brought from her farm –
to the probable dismay of the customs people who had riffled through her
hold luggage) and then showed how to squeeze the mix into a 30cm piece of
water pipe. Once the pipe was full a rod (just thick enogh to get into the
pipe) was pushed through and thus expelling the thick line of cowdung. This
was cut into 5 cm lengths and we were advised to let it dry fully over a
number of days. The mix we were exposed to was for mosquito repellent and so
may not be something for your front room or altar, but it was earthy and
natural and you could guess would work keeping the mosees out. For more
details please contact wenda on wendashehata@yahoo.com
    His Grace Balabhadra Prabhua – The ISKCON Global Minister for Cow
Protection and Agriculture was not able to attend the conference due to
health and travel limitations, however by the strength of modern technology
the conference members were able to see and discuss things with him over the
internet. Balabhadra Prabhu described some of the things that were going on
in other parts of the world, in particular he mentioned about the
establishment of a farm representative for India and with regional
representatives in each part. He informed us about the successful restaurant
projects in Australia and how the profit was being used to develop the farms
there. They also have a devotee who can oversee their farm projects.
    Belarus and Ukraine have eager and enthusiastic devotees there on
the farms and Balabhadra explained about how many cows they have. He intends
to visit Europe in the Autumn and spend some weeks in Belarus/Ukraine and
then some weeks in Sweden training their young oxen.
New Vrajadhama Ox leader Govindanandana next gave a presentation on the use
of the oxen and community in making and gathering hay, collecting a wide
variety of grains, threshing and packaging. They had brought a selection of
the crops they were growing including grains, seeds and some specialist
crops. They are researching the nutritional benefits of different foods and
are growing with that in mind. Most of the farm work is done using oxen and
it was reported that they farm about 100 acres using oxen.  Some of the cows
are traditional Hungarian greys, some are European Simmental type and some
are true Indian zebu. They have a full fledged Indian bull who they are
hoping will give them good heat tolerant bulls for work during the
unforgiving intense Hungarian summer. There are many important and leading
projects being developed at New Vrajadhama but during the conference we only
allocated time for a couple.
    It was impressive seeing the whole community coming out to help with
the harvesting and to see the whole process being overseen by Sri Govardhana
Lala the temple govardhana sila. Some crops were harvested using ox cutters
and some, due to the fragility on the stem where carefully hand cut and
gently stacked on the waiting ox carts. From there the crops were laid out
in a marquee for drying and then eventual threshing in the goshalla ox
powered threshing drum. gnanda@freemail.hu
    Biscuit Business near Prabhupadadesh. There is a devotee who has a
factory making biscuits under the Govindas label. This business started at
Prabhupadadesh but quickly expanded beyond the facilities available. Now
there is an impressive small business making batch biscuits using a lot of
modern automated machinery. The company employs about four devotees who help
with the different aspects of the manufacture. The members of the conference
took the brisk 20 minute walk to the factory, met with the devotee heading
up the business, asked various questions about the process, tasted some
samples, bought some products for themselves or family and then took the
return not quite so brisk walk back to Prabhupadadesh. This business shows
that there are viable outlets for grains produced from Krishna farms. The
presentation had the conference members buzzing with possibilities for their
own farms and projects. biogovinda@lbero.it
New Vrajamandala – Spain. Bhakta Alberto who is self-confessed cow herd boy
for the last eleven years at the farm showed a short video showing the
wonderful benefit of having children and cows together. The viewers were
heart warmed at seeing the children milking cows and being happy in their
company.    Albertovaquero108@hotmail.com
Earth and the cows part two. Smita Krishna maharaja continued taking the
farming devotees on an insight into nature and the cows and mother earth. At
a certain point he led the devotees to a 400 year tree and used that as a
focus point to discuss nature and Krishna and mother earth. When he had
concluded the tree was not seen in the same way as it was before. The group
were then taken to the garden and asked to find a place they felt
comfortable with. One devotee was asked to represent the earth and the
groups placed themselves around her where they felt right. During the
questioning of the onlookers to mother earth there were tears shed and
choked voices as the audience entered a natural space where they felt in the
presence of mother earth and appreciated her kindness and bountifulness.
Mother earth is giving everything so why do we worry and look elsewhere to
the artificial things in life. The participants finished this seminar by the
maharaja appreciating nature and of being in harmony with her and being
happy for being devotees. Smita.Krsna.Swami@pamho.net
    The final part of the event was the customary thank you’s and
appreciations followed by the practical details of what next and where do we
go in 2011. The feedback liked the content of the conference, wanted more
practical hands on workshops and wanted a longer conference. The group
agreed to have a three day conference in the second week of may in 2011 and
requested Bhaktivedanta Manor to host it.
 

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