new vrindaban (7)

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By Madhava Smullen 

According to NPR, fear of food shortages during the COVID-19 pandemic has spurred people on to plant more vegetable gardens; while community supported agriculture programs (CSAs) are booming.

In New Vrindaban, West Virginia, ISKCON’s first rural community which Srila Prabhupada earmarked as an example of sustainability to the world, resident devotees have a headstart, and are using the pandemic to push themselves closer to their goal of self-sufficiency.

A few weeks ago,

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By Madhava Smullen

With temples all over the world dealing with the effects of COVID-19, ISKCON’s first farm community – New Vrindaban in West Virginia – has scaled down to core personnel and closed its doors to the public. 

A much larger operation than many city temples, New Vrindaban has 2,200 acres, has been established as a foremost place of pilgrimage in North America, and welcomes 35,000 visitors per year with a 5% annual increase. 

This also means a large staff to keep everything goin

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By Madhava Smullen

From letters Srila Prabhupada wrote to his disciples, we know that he envisioned New Vrindaban as, among other things, a holy place of pilgrimage in North America, where devotees could gather for spiritual education.

Progress in realizing that vision has gone from strength to strength in recent times. New Vrindaban’s accommodation in its Palace Lodge, cabins, and temple guestwing have been beautifully remodeled, including several rooms with ensuite bathrooms. The recently

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ht1_slideshow.jpg?profile=RESIZE_710x By Madhava Smullen 

In West Virginia, the first frost can hit in Fall and the last in late Spring, halting the growing season all the way from October to May.

But devotees in New Vrindaban, ISKCON’s first farm community (est 1968) have just introduced three high tunnel greenhouses, allowing them to offer locally grown flowers and vegetables to Sri Sri Radha Vrindabanchandra and the temple kitchens all year round.  

The high tunnels were installed this summer by Amish company Yoder’s Produce fr

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Amburish cooking Sweet Rice in Pitts at Bahulaban in New Vrindaban 1982

Few prasadam stories from New Vrindaban’s history are as legendary as those of the late Amburish Dasa’s sweet rice and Pitambar Dasi’s ice cream.

Straight from the cow barn and prepared by the cowherd couple with deep love and devotion, they were much-craved treats in the austere lives of New Vrindaban’s early devotees.

Neither Amburish nor Pitambar had any cooking or cow-care experience before becoming devotees. Amburis

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By Madhava Smullen

Srila Prabhupada’s Palace in New Vrindaban was officially listed on the National Register of Historic Places on August 28th by the West Virginia State Historic Preservation Office, the Department of the Interior, and the National Park Service.

Around seventy devotees from around the US gathered on Friday September 27th, during the opening ceremonies for the 40th Anniversary of the Palace, to celebrate the distinction.

They formally dedicated a cast bronze plaque commemorat

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By Madhava Smullen

ISKCON New Vrindaban has published a booklet, entitled “New Vrindaban’s Guide to Who’s Who & What’s What” that takes visitors on a self-led tour of the temple and explains devotee life and beliefs. Initial feedback from pilgrims and tourists has been very positive, with some suggesting other ISKCON centers should develop a similar guide.

“We have mostly Indian preachers, and noticed that there was a disconnect, due to cultural differences, between them and our Western gues

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