Farm apprenticeships

The Small Farm Training Center has mentored over 100 visiting student farm apprentices in the past three years. We have a wonderful working relationship with WWOOF-USA (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms), a San Francisco based organization that matches aspiring farmers with real-life organic farming operations worldwide. In America alone, nearly 2,500 organic farms are listed by WWOOF. Our web-posted WWOOF profile attracts vegetarians and vegans from around the world. Some stay for a week, many stay for a month, a few stay for a long as three months, and some fall in love with Krishna consciousness and join the community. Here’s a typical WWOOF review of their experience in New Talavan:

My husband and I spent 6 weeks at SFTC and had an absolutely wonderful time. During our stay, we planted seed trays, harvested, transplanted, and learned from hands-on-experience the rotation and set-up for managing a very large garden. Tapah is a vast resource for information; he’s been farming for 40 years. If you’re interested in having real sustainability in your food sources, he knows how to grow grains small-scale, which is becoming a rarity in our culture. The farm has cows that you can choose to get involved with, if dairy food production interests you. Gerald is also a great resource for farming questions and techniques, as he’s organized and run community gardens in Florida. The location at a Hare Krishna Temple makes this farm unique and adds a cultural aspect to learn about. And don’t let me forget the Indian food, it is sooo good. You can ask the cooks to teach you. This farm really became a 2nd home and we are so thankful to everyone at the ISKCON community for welcoming and educating us. Thank you!”

We’re equipped to handle up to 10 students at a time. The men and ladies live in separate quarters. A new feature of the training is 8 hours of classroom curriculum. On advanced notice, we can accommodate families. See the Small Farm Training Center website, farmeducation.org, for details.

Start A Local Food Movement

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The ISKCON Cleveland ‘Food for Life’ crew in 1981, America’s first federally funded vegetarian Meals-on-Wheels. With a $20,000 Community Development Block Grant, our mantra was, “We can feed more people healthier food for less money.” …and we did!

Our track record of social activism is second to none. ISKCON North America’s first Food for Life project originated in Wheeling, West Virginia. The first federally funded ($20,000) vegetarian Meals-on-Wheels grant was to ISKCON Cleveland, Ohio. We wheeling-soup-kitchen-deliverystarted on-campus and off campus vegetarian cooking classes, charitably distributed free organic produce to soup kitchens, food pantries and Section 8 housing projects, installed organic gardens on public school playgrounds, conducted free-to-the-public urban agriculture workshops, lectured at farm conferences, partnered with private foundations, written over $90,000 in grants, sold produce at farmer markets and kick-started buying clubs in small rural towns.

Long story short: This is fertile ground for public relations and developing working relationships with a broad spectrum of society. We’re eager to share these experiences with temple managers or individuals eager for social interaction. Experience ‘R’ Us.

Brahminical Training Applied to Social Networking

Propagating the message of Krishna conscious sustainability in the shark tank of public opinion means learning to speak the language of shared spiritual values and environmental kinship. Dry rhetoric and dull dogma won’t win hearts and minds. Nobody cares about what devotees know if the way in which we package the information is perceived as philosophical chauvinism — that is, arrogant, uppity and insensitive to the good intentions of others. We offer study and fellowship in social networking strategy, founded in a solid background of Srila Prabhupada’s books, especially Sri Isopanisad and Bhagavad-gita. Armed with a stellar shastric background, devotees can interact effectively with vegans, animal rights activists, foodies and the general public.

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