Krishna Valley has numerous twin farms all around the world (that have been established by devotees of Krishna and fall under the aegis of ISKCON). Not long ago we had the opportunity to visit such an initiative in Spain, a farming community close to Madrid about 6 kilometres from Brihuega, within the scope of a Conference on Farming and Cow Protection.
During the conference we have become acquainted with various presentations of different families and agricultural communities from all around Europe, who live by cultivating their own land and pursue a chemical free farming. On one hand, they try to become self-sufficient to some extent and on the other hand, they try to maintain themselves by selling their own products manufactured in their own small homestead enterprises.
He has a farm in the northern part of Spain and runs a 7-hectare fruit orchard, producing jams, preserves and other various produces mainly from fruit and berries.
The farm itself, which name is Eco-Aldea Nueva Vrajamandala and has a territory of 300 hectares, has about a fistful (two dozen) of residents. The “El Hacienda” consists of two large archaic mansions, which were most probably holiday resorts of some people of distinction. Besides maintaining the building, the residents make considerable endeavour to establish an organic garden and support the cowshed at presently operating with only 3 cattle.
Milking is done by hand and pasturing is available in the surrounding grazing ground. Furthermore, they never send any of the animals to slaughterhouses, neither calves, nor aged ones.
Therefore, in comparison to industrial cattle breeding they provide circumstances beyond compare to the animals and what to speak of the so popular bullfights widespread all over Spain. In this way, stockbreeders appreciate the milk and manure that cows give in accordance with the instructions of ancient Vedic literature. By visiting the Gosala (the cowshed or centre for animal protection) we were struck with admiration: the building is kept absolutely neat and tidy and they decorate its walls with their own hand-paintings.
The farm is situated in the middle of the country surrounded by mountains where the Mediterranean climate is influenced by the Continental one. Winters are similarly cold as the ones in Hungary, summers are hot and droughty. The surrounding is covered by Mediterranean macchia vegetation (stinging, thorny brushwood). The soil is shallow with a lot of stone.
Agriculture, therefore, is quite challenging to say the least.
Efficient irrigation: tiles turned upside down take rainwater directly into the rows of vegetable garden
Nevertheless, man is ingenious and we may see traces of traditional agriculture even on the territory of the farm. Once upon a time the hillside was embanked and an irrigation system was built as well. The essence of it is that they built several basins to collect water on a fairly high spot and here not only they could gather rainwater, but pump up the water from the spring flowing in the valley. Due to gravitation from the basins they could irrigate all the fruit trees and vegetables produced on the embanked land. Hopefully, in the near future the community will be able to revive these agricultural traditions which is based on the wisdom of ancestors and that would provide them a lifestyle in harmony with all natural resource endowments of the region.
The Grundtvig program of Tempus Public Foundation supported by the European Commission subsidized our visit to the conference.