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ECO-Vrindaban Board Meeting Minutes 04/19/2015

Mission Statement: ECO-Vrindaban promotes Simple Living, Cow Protection, Engaging Oxen, Local Agriculture, and above all, Loving Krishna, as envisioned by Srila Prabhupada, the Founder-Acharya of ISKCON New Vrindaban.

Participating Directors: Anuttama, Bhima, Chaitanya Mangala, Kripamaya, and Ranaka.

Participating Advisors: Sri Tulasi Manjari

Participating Managers: Mukunda

Recording secretary: Jordanna

1. Ox Program and Garden Managers Search

The Garden Manager search announcement went out last week and the Ox Program Manager listing will be posted this week. Madhava Smullen will write an article about the positions, as well. There has already been some interest in the Garden Manager position and the Board Members look forward reviewing potential candidates for both roles.

2. Managers’ Housing

Vyasasan reports that the Prabhupada House (formerly known as the Green House) renovations are slated to be completed in about two weeks, in time for Mukunda’s relocation.

3. ECO-V Forest Preservation Policy

There is concern that trees have been cut down without permission on ECO-V managed land. Kripamaya and Mukunda will look into the issue and make recommendations to the Board.

4. Addition of a Timekeeper to ECO-V Meetings

The ECO-V Board will be adding a Timekeeper to their meetings as a way to make them more concise and efficient. Mukunda prabhu has volunteered to take on this role. He will work with the Board Chair and Secretary to allot a specific amount of time for each agenda item.

5. Village Council

A “Steering Committee” has been organized in order to form a New Vrindaban Village Council, consisting of Ananga Manjari, Advaita, Devala, Jaya Krsna (Gopisa as proxy), Mukunda (Ranaka as proxy), Nityodita and Vyasasan. They will be meeting this Tuesday. Mukunda will begin attending meetings once he is living in New Vrindaban.

6. Flower Garden Crew

Currently Vidya is working in the flower gardens, along with the help of a few volunteers. Jaya Krsna requested additional assistance for this volunteer crew. Mukunda will help with this once he is settled in New Vrindaban.

By Madhava Smullen

ISKCON New Vrindaban and Eco-Vrindaban’s latest Department Head reports, on March 14th, showed that devotees were continuing to cooperate together with encouraging progress towards crystallizing Srila Prabhupada’s vision.

Co-GBC and MC for the day Anuttama Das introduced the event, explaining that since 2011, INV and ECO-V’s Boards of Directors and their managers and staff have gathered to communicate accomplishments of the past year and plans for the upcoming one.

But two years ago, they decided to make the gatherings open for all New Vrindaban residents and well-wishers to participate in. Sure enough, a sizeable group of residents were present, including longtime resident Varshana Swami, who offered a beautiful invocation that set the mood and intent for the weekend.

New Vrindaban ISKCON ECO-Vrindaban Jaya Krsna 2015

Jaya Krsna Prabhu leads a prayer at the beginning of his presentation.

New ECO-V chairman Bhima Walker then introduced ECO-V’s department heads, beginning with interim Flower Garden manager Vidya Dasi. Vidya’s plans for the year included maintaining all the flower gardens; giving guests the experience of picking flowers and making garlands for Krishna; and creating an inviting atmosphere by adding benches, garden art and well-designed flower beds to the front of the temple.

Bhima ECO-Vrindaban New Vrindaban ISKCON 2015

Bhima introduces updates for ECO-Vrindaban

Next, Ananda Vidya Das and his wife Lalita Gopi Dasi from Cow Care and Milking described how they get 30 gallons a day from their seven milking cows – enough for all the temple’s needs — and supply the Deity kitchen with butter, ghee, yoghurt and curd. They reported high standards of cow care, announced that two new calves were expected soon, and were glad that the milking barn’s ceiling had been insulated to make winters serving there easier.

Brand new ECO-V Project Manager Mukunda Das, who will be moving to New Vrindaban in May, said that initial teams had already been but together to discuss plans for an eco-village and food processing facility; and that he would be working on eco-friendly housing beginning with one demonstration home.

Bhakta Richard of the Ox Program reported that the three young teams of Isan and Balarama, Hari and Priya, and Manu and Nandi are all making great progress in training with the yoke and learning commands. In addition, oxen moved into the rebuilt Bahulaban ox barn at the end of last year; ox cart designs have been presented by carpenter Vyasasana Das; and a turnstyle that can run a saw or mill with ox power has been acquired.

New Vrindaban ECO-Vrindaban ISKCON 2015

Devotees listen attentively during presentations.

Gopal’s Garden, the homeschool co-op run by Ruci Dasi, reported a new preschool for two to four-year-olds, a fundraising drive for improving its playground, and input from many members of the community. Proving that it does indeed take a village to raise a child, they teach such subjects as dramatic reading, literature, poetry, Deity worship, kirtan, art, and music. The school also has a charming new logo featuring youthful Krishna playing His flute.

Gopal's Garden Logo New Vrindaban ISKCON 2015

Gopal’s Garden School new logo!

ISKCON New Vrindaban community president Jaya Krishna Das then introduced INV by sharing its new mission statement: “To please Srila Prabhupada by promoting his vision for New Vrindaban through steady development of Simple Living, Holy Pilgrimage, Community Outreach, Spiritual Education, and, above all, Loving Krishna.”

Local brahmachari Bhakta Trevor with Community Outreach was first up for INV. He reported that he maintains regular Harinam Sankirtan and book distribution in Wheeling and Pittsburgh; is starting home programs in Morgantown; and plans to start a Krishna Club at West Virginia University, where students are already chanting. He also holds a weekly kirtan at Wheeling’s new age store The Noble Source, where the owner chants and keeps Prabhupada’s books. He has done all this, he said, through making friends and building loving relationships.

The super-busy Vrindavan Das reported on the three departments he oversees, beginning with Communications, in which he talked about making friendships with locals and students; inviting the Mayor of Wheeling and Moundsville City manager to Festival of Colors and Rathayatra; developing an attractive monthly newsletter; and having regular articles published on ISKCON News, Dandavats, Brijabasi Spirit, and also in the secular media.

New Vrindaban ECO-Vrindaban ISKCON 2015

Devotees listen attentively during presentations.

In Marketing, Vrindavan outlined plans to launch New Vrindaban’s new website this year, and create an attention-grabbing brochure for the Palace of Gold and New Vrindaban which will be placed in visitors bureaus, local tourist attractions, and hotels. He also plans to place permanent billboards on two major highways to promote the Palace of Gold by mid May this year.

In Festivals, he said he planned to make national events of Nrsimha Chaturdasi and of Srila Prabhupada’s Appearance and Disappearance Days at his Palace. He also talked about plans to hold an early July retreat this year with Bhakti Charu Swami; open Rathayatra at New Vrindaban to the Ohio Valley public; and replicate Prabhupada’s Bhagavat Dharma Discourses. He also hoped to enhance national participation in Kartik, the 24 Hour Kirtans, Festival of Colors, and Festival of Inspiration, which expects a bigger crowd this year with Jayapataka Swami attending.

In an encouraging step towards succession, a father and son team presented next. Guest Lodge manager Gaura Bhakta reduced prices for rooms and cabins, and plans to install lights to guide guests to the Welcome Center at night. He also hopes to increase guest visits during weekdays; and to have four new rooms with attached bathrooms on the ground floor by this year’s Festival of Inspiration.

His father Vasudeva Das plans to keep Govinda’s Restaurant open longer each year, from March 28th to January 2nd, to launch a new webpage for it, and to add new uniforms and name tags for staff. He reported that Govinda’s used only in-house dairy for the past six months, and announced the arrival of new cook Sri Rupa Das from Mumbai; and new menu items such as Indian sweets, Italian lasagna and canelonis, and Mexican items like burritos.

Vasudeva also reported on the Devotee Kitchen, which is working on creating a balanced diet for devotees so that they get proper nutrition. The kitchen will be getting a new altar and a new oven this year. It is also mainly using New Vrindaban protected dairy and has dramatically increased use of locally grown produce.

In Palace Restoration, Gopisa Das has a plan to expand the parking lot of Srila Prabhupada’s Palace from 18 parking spaces to 80, with a bus turnaround. He also plans to complete the outer wall and upper steps this year, with the lower steps and entry railing to follow.

In Facilities, also overseen by Gopisa, the library, third floor residential rooms and hallway from the kitchen to the temple room were renovated, and frozen pipes and radiators fixed. This year, Gopisa plans to upgrade the temple and lodge’s electrical systems, and renovate the lodge bathrooms, restaurant kitchen, temple siding and entry doors, cabin roofs, and swan boat house.

In the Palace Rose Garden, Gopalasyapriya Dasi spoke about her plan to stop using chemical fertilizers and start using more natural methods with the help of Paul Zimmerman of the American Rose Society, who recently did the same for the famous Biltmore Gardens in North Carolina. This, she felt, would attract a lot of people.

 Speaking for Varshana Swami, Jaya Krishna reported that the Land Management department is working on the Palace parking lot and improving roads, drainage, and the Govardhana Parikrama path; but that it needs qualified young personnel to replace Maharaja, who is suffering from health problems.

In 2015, Treasurer Laxmi Honest aims to make sure funds for helping devotees through capital improvements and housing are used for those purposes only. She will also provide all department heads with “monthly budget vs actual” reports so that they can understand where they can spend less and more.

A new addition to Congregational Development, Daya Gauranga Das, reported a team of five preachers and a plan to increase fundraising 14% this year. However, he also emphasized that the the focus of congregational development was not taking but giving, by sharing with people a spiritual solution to their problems. He announced that five “Lila Sthalis,” or places of the Lord’s pastimes, would be marked on the community’s Govardhana Parikrama path with dioramas and art, and that Dina Bandhu Das will launch an annual Braj Mandala Parikrama at New Vrindaban this May.

Last but certainly not least came the Deity Department, headed up by Abhinandana Das. This year it created a sustainable and reliable team of pujaris with a family mood of cooperation; maintained punctuality and high cooking standards; and renovated the Deity kitchen and pujari room. In 2015, the pujaris plan to re-launch the Deity sewing room to fix old and torn outfits; extend the dressing room to create more space for the Lord’s outfits; build a new house for Tulasi Devi; and facilitate a second ISKCON Deity Worship Ministry training course.

As the presentations ended, Jaya Krishna, in a generous guesture, offered everyone a bag of Govardhana dust and CDs from his recent Braj Mandala Parikrama in Vrindavana, India.

He also invited all to take a copy of the beautifully designed “Prabhupada’s Vision: Our Mission” poster, saying, “Please take one and put it up on your refrigerator or next to your altar so that we are reminded daily of what Srila Prabhupada wants from us.”

His request reflected how many board members, managers, and New Vrindaban residents left the presentations – newly energized and refocused on Srila Prabhupada’s vision for his first rural community.

New Vrindaban ISKCON ECO-Vrindaban Prabhupada Vision Mission 2015

“Prabhupada’s Vision: Our Mission” poster.



 Kalindi a rescued dairy cow jumps for joy when she arrives at ISCOWP to be protected for life from slaughter. www.iscowp.org

ECO-Vrindaban Logo

By Madhava Smullen

Two unique opportunities have arisen in New Vrindaban, West Virginia, USA.

ECO-Vrindaban, a non-profit organization that promotes Prabhupada’s ideals of simple living, cow protection, engaging oxen, local agriculture, and above all, loving Krishna, is searching for managers for its ox care and garden programs.

ECO-Vrindaban ISKCON New Vrindaban Cow Protection Oxen Bull

Young bull calf – Summer 2014.

Protection of cows and bulls, Prabhupada said, “should be the main business of New Vrindaban.” He taught early residents to respect the cow, who could provide milk for nourishment, as their mother; and the ox, who could pull a plow to till the land, as their father.

There has been a cow protection program at New Vrindaban since 1969. But as with most ISKCON rural communities, the ox training program has not been maintained consistently.

Two years ago, however, ECO-V made a concerted effort to revitalize it. Last year, a dilapidated barn in the Bahulaban area was completely rebuilt, and became a home for oxen.

Three teams of young Brown Swiss oxen – Ishan and Balarama, Priya Darshan and Harichand, and Nandi and Manu are currently at different stages of training with Richard and Chaitanya Bhagavata Das. The oldest now work with yokes, follow commands, and pull logs. The ultimate goal is for them to pull plows in the community’s vegetable gardens, as well as carts of pilgrims, all to demonstrate a simple lifestyle.

To help lead this program, ECO-V seeks an individual passionate about cow protection; physically able to work with oxen; and willing to live in New Vrindaban for this full-time salaried position.

Duties include handling logistics and budgets; being an educational resource for local cowherds; and coordinating ox training volunteer activities. The ideal candidate will be a great team builder and have management or leadership experience, preferably with a non-profit.

“This person will make an important contribution by overseeing the revival of one of Prabhupada’s key instructions for New Vrindaban,” says ECO-V board member Chaitanya Mangala Das.

ECO-V is also looking for a garden manager to develop local agriculture, another key part of Srila Prabhupada’s vision. “These duties are there in New Vrindaban, and we shall have to live there self independently, simply by raising cows, grains, fruits, and flowers,” he wrote in 1969.

There are currently two main community garden spaces in New Vrindaban. One is called the Teaching Garden, a half-acre plot where herbs and flowers for the Deities are grown; the other is the fenced in seven-acre Garden of Seven Gates. In previous years that space has grown sweet potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, green beans, snap peas, quinoa and much, much more.

The new garden manager can look forward to taking on a well-organized program – previous manager Kacey Orr, an experienced local farmer, cleaned up the grounds and facilities, erected hothouses, and established a system for planting perennial and annual vegetables and flowers. The gardens also have an irrigation system and all the tools and equipment required.

ISKCON New Vrindaban ECO-Vrindaban Teaching Garden

ISKCON New Vrindaban Teaching Garden – Summer 2014.

The new manager will be working closely with ISKCON New Vrindaban’s Deity, Devotee and Govinda’s Restaurant kitchen managers to supply them with fresh vegetables.

ECO-V is seeking someone experienced and knowledgeable in gardening, passionate about environmental and food production issues, and able to handle the physical work. Once again leadership experience is ideal, as is an ability to maintain positive relationships with community members and guests.

Also a full-time salaried position, duties include handling logistics and budgets, being an educational resource for local gardeners and coordinating volunteer activities.

“It’s a good time to be a part of the New Vrindaban community, because lately there’s been a lot of focus and energy given to revitalize the core instructions Prabhupada gave us,” says Chaitanya Mangala. “And this is a great opportunity to be part of a dynamic team.”

For those interested in either position, please send cover letter, resume and any other inquires to Mukunda Das: coachmarc108@gmail.com

ECO-Vrindaban ISKCON New Vrindaban Garden of Seven Gates

Sun Flowers grown in the Garden of Seven Gates – Summer 2014.

All devotees, including leaders, are invited to attend the upcoming ISKCON Communications Training Course in New Vrindaban Sat. & Sun. May 16 & 17, 2015.
Anuttama das will be the very entertaining and experienced facilitator.
You will learn such valuable things as:

  • mastering key skills including listening, speaking & understanding the needs of others
  •  improving communications through interactive training
  • enhancing our ability to spread Krsna consciousness
  • building strong relationships amongst devotees
  • Anuttama das, facilitator

    Anuttama das, facilitator

The two day schedule is:

SATURDAY MAY 16

10:00 am- 1:00 pm     training session with break included

1:30 pm                            lunch

2:30- 5:30 pm               training session with break included

6:30- 8:30 pm               special evening session on devotee relationships

SUNDAY MAY 17

9:30 am- 12:30 pm     training session with break included

12:45 – 2:00 pm           training session

2:00 pm                          sunday love feast

AFTER FEAST           possible training session

iskconcommunicationsPOSTER
The course registration is free and sumptuous prasadam is also provided.
(If anyone is inspired to give a donation, it will be accepted of course!)
Please reply to iskconnv@gmail.com  if you will be attending, so we can make plans for serving everyone nicely.

Looking forward to serving you,
The New Vrindaban Communications Team

www.newvrindaban.com

            

 

New Vrindaban Festival of Inspiration Jayapataka Swami

May 8th – 10th, 2015

The countdown has begun! New Vrindaban’s Festival of Inspiration is only two weeks away, and it’s a big one — the 15th anniversary! Get ready for exciting and inspiring presentations by ISKCON’s best speakers; top-quality entertainment from dramas to stand-up comedy; rip-roaring kirtans; and mouth-watering prasadam, and much more!

So don’t miss this priceless opportunity to have the association of advanced devotees like H.H Jayapataka Swami, H.H. Jayadvaita Swami, H.H. Bhaktimarga Swami, and H. H. Varsana Swami. There will also be many senior devotees including Deena Bandhu dasa, Ravindra Swarup dasa, Dravida dasa, Urmila dasi, Malati dasi, world famous kirtaneer Agnideva das, Havi das, our hometown girl, Karnamrita dasi, ISKCON’S renowned comedian Yadunatha das, and many more. We are also expecting a special visit from Sally and Gopal Aggarwal, the family that sponsored Srila Prabhupada’s travel to America and hosted him in their home.

Good news: there is still accommodation available. You can register today at the Festival of Inspiration website or call us at 304-843-1600 ext. 135.

We look forward to serving you. Hare Krishna.

New Vrindaban Festival of Inspiration 2015

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