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This website aims to develop case studies of the development of farming practices and attendant transformations of local ecologies of defined blocks of land. Through these biographies of particular plots of land we are developing localised analyses of the wider historical trends in the political economy/ecology of the Northern Rivers.

Go to: Arriving at New Govardhana | The history of New Govardhana | The WWOOFing program | Sources of information | Approach to growing food | Self-sufficiency

The history of New Govardhana

1977 the year this farm was built was the year that the founder, Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, died. So what I can see has happened here is over the last 35 years there’s been high morale, high energy, inspired work done here in many places. And at other times very low morale and everything sort of crumbles a bit. Sort of ups and downs.

So what we have is gardens that have been… there was a gentleman here name Lagoodi who came when most of this was just forest, when they brought it there was no electricity this was the only house that was a broken down sort of shack, no bridge to get over the river, so you’re wading in or coming on horseback. Yeah so it’s a, what do you call it like Frontier? Pioneering stuff. So they came into that, and Lagoodi, for example, he ran for years a team of twenty bullocks by himself. Twenty, which is… I would have no concept of how to do that… And he dragged out heaps of timber, flattened the land and made these kind of paddocks, or these gardens let’s say, where we now garden. So people like that have come, come and gone over the years and you’ll see we have banana orchards here, significant ones, but nobody maintains them. So somebody at some point came in, prepared the land, got a bunch of bananas, took care of them, grew them and then in the, you know in a peak time, and then at a non-peak time they’ve left. Moved on. And because it’s significantly a volunteer organisation sometimes the pressures of, maybe get married, have a kid so you need more money, need to move out, something like that. But in some, somehow or other, whoever did that, I don’t know who it is, has left.

So there you go. All these different things all over the place that are, the basic infrastructure is there, but nobody is maintaining them now. So instead of having to start from scratch we just started one garden and sort of improved it and brought it up to maintainable level, fixed the irrigation and whatever; and then the next garden, the next garden and the next garden and the next one and we have five, almost three acres of land going. An um we are moving onto the orchards, and after that the mango orchards; there’s a lot of mangos up there. Then into all the peripheral infrastructure, like say composting and recycling, and irrigation is a big one here. We’re not on town water, so everything is coming from the bore. Like, it’s common for me on my mobile to get a text at like 3am in the morning saying no water here or there. And so you gotta get up, get out of bed and check the bore, check the pumps, check the pipes, check all the levers, figure it out; what the hell? And, anyway. But like that gradually picking everything up, taking advantage of the hard labour and inspired work that has happened from time to time. And basically, like I said, I just, I do very little. Other than co-ordinate. Just bring people, take care of the people, connect the people to people who know how to garden and somehow or other it all goes on.

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