Chakra Living

Working Farms Don't Have Castles

by Malati devi dasi

Posted February 18, 2009

Bhagavata-Purana das ended his article "On Selling ISKCON Farms" with these words, which in and of themselves, are correct: "Maybe it is not easy; not enough stress has been given to develop rural communities, but Srila Prabhupada's instruction is there. We have done something; we have obtained the farms. Now is the time to develop them."

I think this needs to be discussed in terms of practical application. The problem I see is that many of our farms were former estates with big castles and chateaus that require huge amounts of maintenance and funds just to keep them up and running.

Most "real" farms are not thusly encumbered. There is a farmhouse, maybe a house for the workers, a barn and whatever else is required for farming.

In addition, we generally have elaborate Deity programs, which are often in a state of semi-failure, since the hordes of devotees who were previously present have long since vacated. It is a daily struggle for existence with little time, generally no farming experience, no funds and few hands to do anything else but "keep it together."

It seems to me that farm projects need to be reconsidered in terms of making them — first and foremost — farms. This is unlikely to happen so long as the yoke of these big buildings remains part of the picture. Those kinds of farms were run by big landowners who kept peasants and servants under their hand to do the labor.