The awful truth about organic truck farming is that you can make a lot of friends but not a lot of money. It’s what you might call a “cash-in, cash out” operational model. You grow the veggies, you package, you drive, you set up, you sell, you break it all down, you count the wad of bills… and POOF! …After production costs, there’s plenty to eat but not a lot of discretionary income.
Even though public demand for poison-free produce is surging, poison-free farmers don’t earn enough income to raise a farm family above the poverty level. Go tell it on the mountain: to make sense out of small scale organic mini-farming, the farmer can…
- Hire help (bye bye tiny profit margin)
- Borrow money (try to”techno-fix” his way to the promised land)
- Jump on the chemical bandwagon (it’s ok, Bhumideva will understand).
- Resign himself to a life of poverty (maybe babaji life is my niche)
- Teach others to farm, organize farmer co-ops and depend on Krishna
Big Ag, Big Pharma, Big Food… all the big players are subsidized by tax dollars. Their profits are earned off the backs of migrant labor and decades of taxpayer investment in higher education. It’s not a level playing field for the little guy.
That’s why we decided to leave the economic side of small scale farming in the hands of Providence and concentrate our energies on education, secular and transcendental. Thus the name Small Farm Training Center evolved as our brand, our devotional mood and our source of income as a not-for-profit 501(c)3.
Yes, we produce tons of veggies. Yes, we supply the temple, the householder community and lots of local folks with a healthy option. Yes, we distribute it charitably. And yes, we teach others how to do the same. But the most important aspect of the whole fandango is spiritual intent. That’s what Krishna sees, the motivation behind doing it for His pleasure.
Over the decades, money has come in little drops and in big buckets. All of it — and I mean all of it — has been plowed back into the project. We have the tools, the experience and the motivation to reach a lot of people with the message of Krishna conscious rural living, but the fuel for the rocket ship back to Godhead depends on a “little help from our friends.”
I think you can see from the tone and tenure of this website that we are serious food producers with a clear-headed preaching vision for materializing the second half of Srila Prabhupada’s mission. Help us make it a reality.
One last note: Before moving from New Vrindaban to New Talavan, the Small Farm Training Center was the Ohio Valley’s No.1 distributor of free organic produce to congregate meal sites and homebound elderly shut-ins.
For eight consecutive years Krishna-prasadam — New Vrindaban grown produce — found its way into soup kitchen menus and food pantry boxes to the delight of city officials, social service agency administrators and the folks who rarely eat anything green and nutritious.
In Southern Mississippi, we’re replicating that good will by collaborating with several faith based organizations. They love our drop-offs of freshly picked produce and know it’s coming from “them folks who call God ‘Krishna.'”
If you would like to help, please consider donating towards our 2018 objectives. Any amount is a giant step in the footsteps of Srila Prabhupada.
Major Goals for 2018: Your Donations in Motion
1). Student Cottage Restoration: We’re eager to restore two cement block structures earmarked for newly arriving farm apprentices (see photos below). The lady’s ashram can accommodate 4 visiting students. The men’s ashram will hold 6 residents. Repairs are currently in progress but require materials and labor. Amount requested: $10,000.
2). Bulk Composting and Biomass Harvesting Facility: We’re capable of making our own on-site bulk compost from local biomass but require the equipment to assemble, mix and protect the ingredients until they mature into rich humus. This is a “must do” project to enrich the nutrient poor coastal soils characteristic of Southern Mississippi. In 2016, WWOOF-USA awarded us a $2,000 grant to purchase a professional grade chipper/shredder.
The final completion phase of the project includes the construction of industrial strength holding bins (see photos below), a 4″ poured cement pad, a cantilevered roof and a 35 HP tractor equipped with a front loading bucket. Amount requested: $26,000.
3). Organic Farming Yearly Overhead: The operating capital to fertilize, irrigate, weed and then grow and distribute approximately 6 acres of organic veggies is about $7,200 annually. This includes seed purchases, fuel, repairs and tool upgrades. Not included in this figure are the funds needed to properly maintain our steady flow of visiting farm apprentices. Amount requested: $12,000