In 1967 the Founder of the Hare Krishna movement, Srila Prabhupada, established the first of ISKCON’s rural communities in West Virginia USA. He desired that the members of his community live a life based upon the example set by Lord Krishna 5,000 years ago in Vrindavana. Lord Krishna enjoyed village life as a cowherd boy, and the wealth of His village was measured by their stock of milk and grains. Everyone lived happily with Krishna, relying on mother earth and mother cow for their necessities.
One of Srila Prabhupada’s mottos is ‘simple living, high thinking’. As his followers we all choose to simplify our lives to make more time for thinking about Krishna. Srila Prabhupada teaches us that the necessities of life are food and shelter, so at Hare Krishna Valley we attempt to provide these necessities for our visitors and residents.
We spent much of the past several years renovating the existing buildings to create comfortable living spaces. For example, the building that my wife Veda Priya and I are living in is made of mud brick. This means it remains cool in summer and retains the heat in winter. It also uses solar passive design. This means that most of the windows are situated to the north, allowing light from the low-lying winter sun to enter and warm the house. Our lights are powered by solar panels, and in winter we cook on atop our wood heater. The heater includes a ‘wet back’ where water for the house is simultaneously heated. The result is that we enjoy an eco-lifestyle without electricity bills and only a small need of bottled gas.
The other important necessity is food. At Hare Krishna Valley devotees living both on the property and nearby grow many of their own vegetables. The cost of living in cities is rising rapidly, and food prices are at an all-time high. So in order to relieve Melbourne temple, Gopal’s and Crossways of some of their expense, Manigriva Prabhu is planting crops of vegetables that we regularly supply to the city yatra. At the moment we have over 1,000 newly planted broccoli and cauliflower seedlings that we will begin to harvest in August.
Our farming method is called organic farming. It is based upon planting in harmony with nature and using natural fertilizers to nourish the soil. The result is that all of our produce is certified as organic. We are learning to plant according to the phases of the moon and at times governed by particular astronomical constellations. This organic method increases the flavor of vegetables. We are using natural items such as cow and chicken manures and lime as fertilizers. The result is that the soil becomes rich in nutrients without concentrating harmful chemicals within it over the long term.
In the future we would like to grow our own grains. All of this is dependent upon receiving sufficient rain. Srila Prabhupada explains that sufficient rain comes by performing yajna, and in Kali Yuga the recommended process is sankirtana-yajna. We have practical experience of this fact. Over the past three years that we have lived at Hare Krishna Valley, we have regularly chanted Hare Krishna congregationally for the pleasure of our presiding Deities Sri-Sri Gaura-Nitai. We see that rainfall at Hare Krishna Valley has been timely and plentiful.
Srila Prabhupada writes, ‘With good rains, the farmer’s business in agriculture flourishes. Agriculture is the noblest profession. It makes society happy, wealthy, healthy, honest, and spiritually advanced for a better life after death.’ So this is Srila Prabhupada’s formula for forming our communities: grow your own food, offer it to the Deities with devotion, eat sumptuously, live a simple life, and concentrate on perfectly chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra.
In order for us to fulfil Srila Prabhupada’s desire that ISKCON should exemplify the culture of daivi-varnasrama-dharma to the world, we need to develop a team of devotees who are committed to assisting – either full or part-time – in establishing a successful farm community at Hare Krishna Valley. If you are interested in rising to meet this challenge, please contact Keshava dasa on or 0405-577-453.
We look forward to seeing you at Hare Krishna Valley soon!

Rath yatra