The worldwide outbreak of the Coronavirus has left the mass of people in much anxiety and uncertainty. With many countries still on lockdown mode, people are severely stressed out with all the restrictions imposed. Whenever, in the near or far future the pandemic weakens and fades out, surely the consequence will unfold a serious downturn on the global and local economy, this is especially true for Latin America.
Maximo Torero at the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) says the current situation is substantially different to the 2007 to 2008 food security crisis, “Today, the problem is not a problem of food availability, the problem today is of food access,” he says.
According to the New York Times, “National lockdowns and social distancing measures are drying up work and incomes and are likely to disrupt agricultural production and supply routes—leaving millions to worry how they will get enough to eat.” Needless to say, the last century’s industrial revolution, mechanization and modern technology and commercial agriculture have only created a culture of artificial lifestyle and standards which has proven so fragile.
Srila Prabhupada in a conversation dated November 29, 1975 posited that “civilization will collapse very soon, all over the world, even with all the ‘isms’”. The Coronavirus now ravaging human society is just a reaction to lust and greed, and violation of the codes of dharma, and its concomitant physical and mental pressures should be a wake up call to everyone.
In Srimad Bhagavatam 2.2.37 purport Srila Prabhupada writes: “The human necessities of life are fully supplied by the Lord in the shape of food grains, milk, fruit, wood, stone, sugar, silk, jewels, cotton, salt, water, vegetables, etc., in sufficient quantity to feed and care for the human race of the world… The supply source is complete, and only a little energy by the human being is required to get his necessities into the proper channel. There is no need of machines and tools or huge steel plants for artificially creating comforts of life. Life is never made comfortable by artificial needs, but by plain living and high thinking...”
Being integrated within the global society, many of our ISKCON projects are now seriously affected. Our temples dependson cash inflows from visitors and other forms of fundraising, and people’s ability to contribute depends on the economic disruption surrounding us. What is unfolding before our eyes sounds a warning and should urge us as a Society, now more than ever, of the need to grow our own food individually and collectively.
I have been firmly convinced by Prabhupada’s statements, and years ago I started to cultivate a four acres farm with all tropical fruits, vegetables, ground provisions, herbs, etc. (Even the herbs which they say counteracts the Coronavirus like ginger, mint, lemongrass, turmeric, etc). For a living I sustained solely by the farm which provides everything for my livelihood. And guaranteed healthy organic eating, valuable activity to keep oneself fit, natural seclusion, a mode of goodness environment, a peaceful mind, economic independence, and enough time for focused Krsna Consciousness hearing and chanting, as well as so much more time to diversely serve the mission of ISKCON. And you have a clear conscience that you are living in harmony with nature and God, and not damaging the environment.
Apart from serving as Zonal Supervisor for Suriname, Secretary to the Guyana yatra, as well as serving on the EC of the Latin RGB, I am also one of the Regional Representatives in Latin America for the ISKCON Ministry of Cow Protection and Agriculture, with this hat I also help other projects. Last year I was part of a syntropic agriculture course in New Mayapur ISKCON Ayampe, Ecuador. It was given by the instructor, Thiago Barbosa from Brazil, who gives seminars in many parts of the world and has been a major player in starting syntropic farming in New Govardhan, Australia. The idea was to start a pilot project that started to give good results despite the limited infrastructure in the system and irrigation of water. Now they are getting ready for the next step.
If on a macro cosmic scale ISKCON devotees and our Centers become convinced and promote this lifestyle of depending on the land and cows, our devotees and our ISKCON projects can easily be self-sufficient in terms of food security. At the same time we can be spiritually fulfilled, materially peaceful, and unaffected by any kind of reverses caused by the unpredictable material[ agriculture ] [ environment ] [ food ] [ roots ]