ECO-Vrindaban Board Meeting Minutes 08/27/2016

ECO-Vrindaban New Vrindaban ISKCON cows gardens

ECO-Vrindaban Board Meeting Minutes 08/27/2016

Mission Statement: ECO-Vrindaban promotes simple living, cow protection, engaging oxen, local agriculture, and above all, loving Krishna, as envisioned by Srila Prabhupada, the Founder-Acharya of ISKCON New Vrindaban.

Participating Directors: Bhima, Chaitanya Mangala, Ranaka and Sri Tulasi Manjari

Participating Advisors: Jaya Krsna, Vraja

Participating Managers: Mukunda, Nitaicandra

Recording Secretary: Jamuna Jivani

1. INV & ECO-V Monthly Joint Manager Meetings Update

The managers from INV and ECO-V intend to meet on a bi-monthly basis. So far, the managers met once in August and report it is already helping to improve communications and coordinated efforts between the two groups.

2. Kulimela 2016 Final Budget Report

Chaitanya Mangala presented the final KM16 budget report. $68,500 was collected and spent. This covered all expenses, except for post festival video editing, which will have to be raised separately by the organizers. ECO-V Board meeting participants commented that it was an important community building event and felt it was a good investment for ECO-V which should continue to offer positive impacts for years to come.

3. Bahulaban Barn Community Center Proposal Update

Mukunda met with Prakash Patel, who agreed to provide ECO-V with his recommendations of what we would need to do in order to utilize the space for “Community Center” purposes. Also, Mukunda met with the Fire Marshall, who provided important safety specifications, including a two-hour fire-rated floor, exit doors that open outward, raising the deck to the level of the door entrance, and fire blocking. Currently, he is waiting on information from the Health Department. Once he has those details, Mukunda expects to have some rough cost estimates within the next month.

4. Mukunda’s Monthly Report

  • Mukunda continued assisting the Steering Committee to prepare for the election of a Village Council.
  • He participated in the Governance Group meetings, brainstormed the creation of a voting process, drafted documents based on these ideas, and refined them based on feedback received.
  • He participated in the selection of the Village Association Liaison: drafted and publicized an ad for the position, provided information to interested parties, conducted interviews, assisted the selected candidate (Sudha Krsna prabhu) in getting started with his new service.
  • He continued organizing ECO-V’s bi-monthly personnel meetings.
  • Sri Tulasi Manjari and Mukunda went to Gita Nagari to represent ECO-Vrindaban at the first North American ISKCON Farm Conference organized by Kalakantha and Parijata.
  • He installed a new double-door at the deity flower garden shed.
  • In the next month, Mukunda plans to install wall paneling inside INV’s milking goshala and get started on the two bull pens that are needed at the ECO-V valley barn.

5. Nitaicandra’s Monthly Report

  • Ox training is on hold or a few weeks because of the excessive heat and flies at the Nandagram barn. The oxen have been put out in the pasture to relieve their discomfort.
  • Caitanya Bhagavat and Krsna Nama are currently installing a new paddock so that the oxen can be available for daily work and still find shelter in the forest.
  • The gardens are now producing nicely. We are regularly harvesting Swiss chard, mustard, kale, tomatoes, summer squash, basil, okra, peppers, cucumbers, and strawberries.
  • The beets and carrots were lost to rabbits.
  • Two groundhogs, a rabbit, and a raccoon have been live-trapped and relocated
  • Vidya’s garden has produced a few hundred pounds of bitter melon thus far, and well over 20,000 marigolds.
  • We were able to offer over 7,000 flowers for Janmastami and Srila Prabhupada’s Appearance Day.
  • In July, one WWOOFER came to work in the garden. She had a good experience and plans to return.

Over the next month, Nitaicandra anticipates:

  • Apple and paw paw harvest will begin
  • A fall garden of brassicas will be planted.
  • The oxen will be brought over to the garden for cover crop planting.
  • There will be a second cutting of hay.
  • Potato harvesting will commence in a few weeks. Community members will be invited.

6. ISKCON Cow Protection & Agricultural Ministry Additional Grant Request

Kalakantha dasa, the ISKCON Cow Protection and Agricultural Minister, requested an additional $1K grant to cover expenses he incurred while traveling to the four farm conferences held around the world. Because ECO-V is planning to host the 2017 North American Farm Conference in New Vrindaban, the managers determined it best to reserve any additional grant funds for that purpose.

7. Joint Board and Steering Committee Meeting Review

Earlier this month, the first formal tri-group meeting was held between ECO-V, INV and the Village Association Steering Committee. The Board members felt it was a positive and productive conversation. Some noted that the time of the meeting may need to be adjusted so that more members can participate. The next meeting is scheduled for September.

8. ECO-V Participation in North American ISKCON Farm Conference

Mukunda and Sri Tulasi Manjari participated in this three-day event held at the Gita Nagari Farm. Their presentation on ECO-V’s various projects in New Vrindaban was well received. This conference provided ECO-V with networking and educational opportunities. ECO-V is pleased to announce the next annual ISKCON North American Farm Conference will be held at New Vrindaban in October 2017.

9. November Appreciation T-Shirts and Plaque Budget

WHEREAS: The ECO-V Board wishes to acknowledge the dedication of certain community members, as well as offer a token of appreciation to the INV and ECO-V staff and volunteers.

RESOLVED: The Board approves up to $2,000 as a budget for plaques and t-shirts to distribute during the November meeting weekend.

10. ECO-V Website Budget

WHEREAS: The ECO-V Board wishes to re-establish a web presence for ECO-Vrindaban.

RESOLVED: The Board approves up to $3,000 to revamp the ECO-V website.

11. Increased Financial Transparency

The Board generally agrees that increased transparency would be beneficial towards building trust and increasing broader community engagement. Towards this goal, the Board discussed regularly posting financial reports on the soon to be revamped ECO-V website.

12. Bhima’s Board Retirement Announcement

Bhima announced his plan to step down from the ECO-V Board after the completion of his three-year term, in January 2017. The other Board Members expressed appreciation for Bhima’s significant contributions, especially that of Board Chair, and he has been requested to remain on as an Advisor for one year following the end of his current term.

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