Devotees from the Harmony Collective outreach center in Ypsilanti have purchased a new farm property in Maybee, Michigan. They closed on July 12th, on the sacred day of Ekadasi.
The property comes with ten acres of land, a two-storey, four-bedroom/three bathroom house, a pond, a cow barn, a shaded cow pasture and three cows.
It will serve three Hare Krishna communities in the Metro Detroit area, which are all only half an hour to forty-five minutes’ drive away – the Harmony Collective, ISKCON Farmington Hills, and the main ISKCON Detroit temple, Devasadhan Mandir.
The farm is tucked away down a secluded driveway
Devotees from all three temples gathered at the farm on Monday July 15thto celebrate the acquisition with a prasadam picnic and kirtan on the grass.
Everyone shared possible names for the property. Senior devotees led by Prabhupada disciple Srinandanandana Das (author Stephen Knapp) then picked the name “Goloka Prema Dhama.”
Devotees were also picked from a hat to decide who got to name the cows. “Sudurlabha the bull, Surabhi the cow and Harini the calf are already the stars of the show,” says Harmony Collective director Deva Madhava Das.
The farmhouse on the property has four bedrooms and three bathrooms
The farmhouse will be used as a residence for senior devotees who have been long-term ashram residents at the Harmony Collective, to get away from the hustle and bustle of that center.
Along with them, volunteers from the local congregation will come to care for the cows in their spare time.
As far as farming, Deva Madhava says he plans to use the downtime from summer until the spring growing season to get advice from experts on the best course of action.
Devotees enjoy a picnic on the farm
Long-term ideas include expanding the existing fruit trees into an orchard; starting a permaculture project; and using several acres to start a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture program) with the local devotees.
Members of the three nearby temples could also come for a “Farm Day” once a month, to have kirtan and prasadam, do some service on the farm, and spend time with the cows.
“In addition, the farm is only half an hour’s drive away from Toledo, Ohio, which is a pretty big city that doesn’t have a lot going on devotee-wise,” says Deva Madhava. “So we’d like to do some regular sankirtan there, and invite people we meet back to the farm for programs.”
Vanaviharini Campakalata Dasi and Uma Devi Dasi check out the farmhouse
He clarifies: “None of these ideas are formalized yet – we’re not certain what it’s all going to look like, but everybody’s very excited.”
In the future, if people are inspired by the project, Deva Madhava says it’s an affordable area to buy land in, and devotees could settle in Maybee and the perfectly named neighboring town of Blissfield.
“We’ve been looking for the opportunity for devotees to get their hands dirty and their feet wet for quite some time,” he explains. “Rural living is undeniably a part of what Srila Prabhupada envisioned. And especially these days, people in general are very concerned with the environment. To have a group of so-called thoughtful people who don’t pay attention to the environment is a big red flag for folks. So we want to give our community more integrity in that sphere – to be able to say, ‘You care about this, and we care about it too – please come help us care about it.’”
Devotees do kirtan on the lawn to celebrate acquiring the new property[ farm ] [ michigan ] [ ypsilanti ]