Building community through sustainable farming
Many may not know the hidden gem in the Española Ashram Community, the Legacy Garden project, operating under Hacienda de Guru Ram Das Corporation. As their mission statement explains, “Legacy Garden (LG) serves Yogi Bhajan’s vision of community/ashram living, providing a financially-profitable organic farm that will generate produce, employment, income and good will for the benefit of Hacienda de Guru Ram Das Ashram and serve as a model for sustainable living to the 3HO/Sikh Dharma World Community.
Truly this project is one of the embodiments of living in a conscious community: producing food at the Ashram to support community development and self-reliance, and developing a sustainable asset that uses renewable energy and is in full alignment with Sikh values. Guru Amar Das established the Langar (free kitchen), and this tradition of serving food to all is one of the foundations of Sikhism: humbly serving, sharing, and providing sustenance to humanity, in the name of the Guru.Since its formal establishment in June of 2018, the 2-acre farm has dramatically expanded its ability to produce food with the construction of a 9000 square foot greenhouse, incorporating a climate battery, solar power, and an aquaponics system. The greenhouse has been designed and built by the efforts of trained horticulturists John and Leah (Shakti Priya) York, Executive Manager Sirivishnu Singh, the Corp Of Volunteers committee, LYF support, and the seva of many dedicated community members. Utilizing funds donated by community members and a small loan from the Siri Singh Sahib Corporation, approved in late 2018, the greenhouse is being built for less than half the market rate. The Garden also provided the funds to upgrade the Ashram main well system, which services the Langar kitchen, Gurdwara, and Langar hall buildings, and now provides excellent water to the farm.
Special thanks go to Abhai Raj Singh for donating the greenhouse structure, the COV team for driving the initiative and fundraising, and Gurubachan Singh of LYF for providing an endless supply of his personal equipment, construction expertise, and enthusiasm.
The Garden will provide increasing employment opportunities and quality low-cost produce to HGRD Ashram initiatives, including the Langar Kitchen and the Seva Sadhana Program. It is also providing quality produce to many local markets and once in full production will be supplying food stores throughout Northern New Mexico.
The farm will sell organic produce in local farmers markets, natural food groceries, restaurants and organic co-ops. The farm is also projected to develop a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture, which is similar to a coop program people by shares in and receive produce), and provide vegetables to Summer Solstice Sadhana as well as to many of the Courses that are put on in Espanola annually. Once the project becomes financially independent, it is the intention of Legacy Gardens to donate food for the Langar Kitchen and other community service initiatives.
April 2nd is a landmark for Legacy Garden: they are doing their first harvest of greens this morning for delivery to Center Market and several other local food stores
How to participate:
The Garden is currently seeking to raise $25,000 as its final seed money to complete the greenhouse.
Donations are tax deductible and will help the Garden staff to complete the construction of the ‘headhouse’, an 800 sf structure that will contain offices and cleaning/processing of the produce, as well as 300 sf walk-in cooler that is being built by converting a shipping container.
Please visit the website at www.nmlegacygardens.org, and if you are inspired make a donation.