First established by Brahmananda Das in the 1970s, ISKCON of Tallahassee, Florida closed down before restarting in a new building in the 1990s. After struggling with financial and organizational challenges in more recent times, the center is once again getting a new lease of life with a new name – the Tallahassee Krishna House – and a new young president, Brajananda Das.
Originally from West Palm Beach in South Florida, Brajananda, 31, joined ISKCON in Gainesville in 2012 and served as a full-time book distributor with Rupanuga Vedic College’s Traveling Sankirtan Party, touring the U.S. for seven years. When he became engaged to Kumari Sakhi Dasi last July and began looking to settle down, however, he needed a more anchored service, and ISKCON Tallahassee was seeking help at just the right time.
To bring new life into the struggling center, Brajananda essentially turned it into a franchise of the successful Gainesville Krishna House, giving it the same name, bringing the morning program to the same solid standard, nurturing in-house relationships, and building outreach and community among local students through a Krishna Lunch program. The lunch also brings in funds for the center.
Although ISKCON Tallahassee already had an existing Krishna Lunch since the mid 1990s, Brajananda standardized its organization and menu according to the Gainesville Krishna House’s practices. He also rebranded it with 100 posters around the FSU (Florida State University) Campus, and added punch cards that give the holder a free meal once they’ve brought along three friends.
Served in a cafeteria on the FSU Campus every week day, The Krishna Lunch distributes an average of 100 plates of prasadam daily for $5 each. The sumptuous menu includes chickpea masala on Monday, kofta and veggies on Tuesday, pasta on Wednesday, Thai curry and dahl on Thursday, and four bean chili on Friday. Every day, there is also rice, salad with the famous Krishna Lunch dressing, a drink, and a different flavor of halava.