Down on the Farm

Bhaktivedanta Manor’s New Gokula farm is a very active place that has a wide variety of activities, especially during the summer months.  Not only is it a place of very high ethical food production but it also hosts volunteers and others interested in aspects of animal welfare, sustainability and food production. Nearly 24 hours a day there is something going on at the farm!

Wwoof/Workaway/Helpex volunteers

There are three global organisations that link persons wanting to volunteer, and hosts looking for volunteers. WWOOF (Worldwide Opportunities On Organic Farms) is the largest and provides the most volunteers.

They are the hands and legs of the working vegetable production. They weed the crops, harvest, plant, clean, help in the kitchen, help with the cows and work with the oxen.

Woofers

Work Experience for Future vets

Over the past few years the farm been approached by students who are aiming  to become veterinarians . They come for about a week and help with milking, working with oxen, nursing sick cows, milling grains, cleaning, shop keeping and sometimes even rope making. They have a very diverse experience and express great satisfaction when they leave.

Community Pay-Back helpers

The Manor hosts local people who have to pay back a number of hours to society as part of a magistrate’s penalty. They play a very important role in our horticultural department with spreading fertilizers, helping with manual tasks, festival clear up, hedge maintenance, tree work and weeding. Often they are helping two days a week, but when requested they will bring teams to help on many days as during the festival periods. They often express how much they have benefitted from their experience.

Horticulture

At the west of the Manor’s property lie 8 acres of production land for vegetables and fruits. These lands are cultivated as naturally as possible with no pesticides or  herbicides. The land is ploughed using our strong oxen and Amish ploughs. Fields are fertilized with manor cowmanure and spread with teams of volunteers. Many types of herbs, vegetables and fruits are grown, harvested and used in the manor’s kitchens. Some surpluses are sold for the pleasure of our visitors.

hay fields

Hay-making

During June to August it  is a common sight to see teams of oxen moving to and from some of our fields in the surrounding countryside. Cars pull over as the oxen lumber past pulling their loads, with yokes creaking under the pressure of the load. The oxen walk nonchalantly by with their carts stacked high with hay. Some neighbours have expressed appreciation as to how the oxen act as traffic calming measures! The hay hauled by our teams have been cut on leased land ,  and is then dried using ox pulled hay turners, and rowed in readiness  for a local farmer to bale it.  The oxen then stand ready as their wagons are loaded up and then return back to the Manor to deliver their contribution.

hay bails with ox

Published onWednesday, September 10th, 2014

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