ISKCON News: Food for Life Global Moves Headquarters to Green City Capital, Ljubljana [Article]

Food for Life Global Moves Headquarters to Green City Capital, Ljubljana

By: for ffl.org on June 18, 2015
Photo Credits: ffl.org

Ljubljana, Slovenia

Food for Life Global has officially moved its headquarters to the green city capital of Ljubljana, Slovenia and this is the story behind the move.

Background

Food for Life Global was established in the United States as a registered non-profit in the state of Maryland in 1995. The charity’s initial objective was to simply serve as a communications office for Hare Krishna Food for Life projects around the world and to provide training and guidance. “Back then, Food for Life was a small player in the world of food relief,” explained Paul Rodney Turner, director of the organization. “We had some projects in India, USA, the Philippines, Australia, New Zealand and most Western European countries, but Eastern Europe was just getting started. The programs were all rather small, and I think our capacity back then was around 60,000 meals a day.”

Today the network of affiliates expands the globe and now includes projects all over Asia, the former soviet union and many parts of Africa and South and Central America. “We are pretty much everywhere these days, although some projects are very small in comparison to our larger and more sophisticated projects in India, where it all started,” he said.

Food for Life Global’s principle affiliate in India is The ISKCON Food Relief Foundation that is a separately registered non-profit organization from the Hare Krishna movement in India. Their Food for Life Annamrita project now feeds over 1.3 million school children daily and it is constantly expanding. 

Other projects around the world serve many hundreds of thousands of meals daily, substantiating Food for Life Global’s claims that the international network serves around 2 million meals daily!

How the Mission Evolved

Over the years, the mission of the organization expanded to include, fundraising and emergency coordination, and more importantly to promote the culture of spiritual hospitality and to encourage the distribution of prasadam distribution inside and outside of the Hare Krishna movement (ISKCON). 

“This broader objective was a significant change in the direction of the charity, and we believe, more in-line with the core values of what the inspiration behind the project, Srila Prabhupada envisioned for the distribution of sanctified food,” he said. 

Turner assisted this broader objective by writing two books, How to Build a Great Food Relief and FOOD YOGA – Nourishing Body, Mind & Soul, both of which explain the deeper meaning behind Food for Life’s relief work, along with practical guidance for those wanting to get involved or start their own Food for Life project. 

Why the Move the HQ to Europe?

Over the last decade, Food for Life Global projects in Europe have made great strides in positioning Food for Life as a major partner NGO with the European Union, and the capital city of Slovenia, Ljubljana was at the heart of this growth. Matej Poljansek (Mukunda Das) has been a volunteer for Food for Life Slovenia since the early 90s and is currently the European Coordinator for Food for Life Global, FFLG board member, and will head a new grant-writing team for the organization.

Poljansek, along with Francesco Maurelli of the European Vegetarian Union (EVU), Martin Gurvich (Mahaprabhu das) from the Hindu Forum of Europe (HFE) and Tamara Komissarova of The Open Dialogue Foundation have also been successful in building relationships with European leaders and forming partnerships with other NGO’s. For example, Food for Life Global now has representatives at Sustainable Food Systems Group of European Parliament and is working closely with NGOs in Europe on humanitarian aid, emergency relief, and the zero waste policy that was recently adopted by France.

“With Ljubljana’s already great reputation as a progressive European city and being awarded the Green City capital for 2016, it was a natural fit for FFLG to find a new home in this country,” explained Turner. 

“Food for Life Global is committed to doing what we do best while leaving the smallest environmental footprint. Our plant-based meals alone are a positive way forward, as even the United Nations has urged a global move to a meat and dairy-free diet.”

Looking Forward

Food for Life Global’s mission, “to create peace and prosperity in the world through the liberal distribution of plant-based meals prepared with loving intention,” will remain the same. “We aim to unite the world through pure food and once and for all solve world hunger and other social issues by addressing their root cause — spiritual inequality,” explained Turner. 

The new Board of Directors also includes some of the most successful social entrepreneurs in our organization, the likes of Radha Krishna Das, general manager of Food for Life Annamrita; Bruce Jacobs Owen (Bir Krishna Goswami) GBC and founder of the Food for Life school in New Govardhana, India; Rupa Raghunatha Das, founder and director of Food for Life Vrindavan and Care for Cows in India; Rev. Albert Lange (Bhakta das) who is a minister of religion and general secretary of the Hindu Community Council of Victoria; David Reynolds (Devaprastha das), director of PAWS and Prasadam a successful vegan catering service; Ales Erbeznik, owner and director of Omnia Global and Norine Oedairadjsingh, president of Food for Life Rotterdam.

Our focus for the next few years will be to build up our financial capacity to really help expand Food for Life projects around the world, with a special focus on our affiliates in India, where The World Bank estimates is one of the highest ranking countries in the world for the number of children suffering from malnutrition. The prevalence of underweight children in India is among the highest in the world and is nearly double that of Sub-Saharan Africa with dire consequences for mobility, mortality, productivity and economic growth.

The new headquarters is officially registered as a non-profit in Slovenia as Food for Life Global or Humanitarno društvo FFL Global at Usnjarska cesta 9, 1241 Kamnik with registration number 4077911000 (matična številka) and a tax id: N. 28209397 (davčna številka). 

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Ljubljana, Slovenia

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