Grass Is For Cows

While it is well known that Tapah Punja does a garden for the temple, that is not the only vegetable garden in New Vrindaban. We are going to do a series of articles about some of the vegetable gardeners in New Vrindaban. Here is the first, by Navina-Shyam das, who visited NV this summer and graciously agreed to interview some gardeners while he was here.

Age of Garden: 9 years in this location

Size of Garden: 1/2 acre

Food-bearing Crops: Acorn squash, Apples, Beets, Blackberries, Butternut Squash, Carrots, Coriander, Cucumbers, Dill, Green beans, Jerusalem artichoke, Kale, Karela, Lettuce, Mint, Okra, Peas, Bell Peppers, Potatoes, Spinach, Swiss chard, Tomatoes

This may be home to the International Society for Cow Protection, but there’s more than grass growing here! Chayadevi and Balabhadra have been cultivating vegetables in New Vrindavana since 1996 when they lived in what is now Ruci and Sankirtana’s house. Before that they had a garden in Gita Nagari.

But gardening wasn’t quite the same here, as they discovered early on. “We had a big field of pumpkins and beans across from the house. Everything grew well and we started picking, but within a few days, everything was eaten up, everything was destroyed. We had no fence and we had no dog. The deer were even coming up around the house, eating anything we had planted right on the doorstep.”

When they moved to their current home, they enlisted the service of Rudra the Destroyer, their loyal dog, as leader of their pest control efforts. Up until a couple years ago, he was all they needed. But then the deer became bolder and there were more of them, and Rudra wasn’t able to keep up the chase.

Currently, a fence encloses the acre around their house to help with this problem, although Rudra is still the frontline defense for groundhogs. After catching them, he will generally bring them to a spot near his bed along the side of the house to show off as a trophy. After it has been admired and he has been rewarded with affection, he lets his inherent carnivorous nature loose and that’s that.

“Our motivation was to have good quality food for our deities and for ourselves. We understand that all these living entities that take birth in these vegetable and fruit bodies, they’re all being engaged in serving Gaura Nitai and Prabhupada in the form of prasadam. So their lives are perfect and complete.” But many others benefit as well. As any ISCOWP supporter knows, the Dove family annually dries hundreds of quarts of tomatoes, zucchini and bitter melon to send out as premiums to their members.

So even those who don’t live here can experience some locally grown produce from the dhama!

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