Please accept our dandavat pranams. All glories to Sri Sri Guru and Gauranga!
Recently we, a group of well wishers, managers and experts, came together with a specific purpose: analyze the New Braj community in terms of business development and devotee maintenance. Radhakanta prabhu and Ratikala didi hosted us with much affection for three days in Walnut Creek; the following is a recap of our summit.
New Braj Development Meeting
Location: Regal Art and Gift office 1470 Civic Court, Suite 150, Walnut Creek, CA 94520.
Date: August 2nd and 3rd, 2014.
Attendees: Brajesh prabhu, Hare Krsna prabhu, Krsna Bhamini didi, Manjuvasini didi, Nanda Gopal prabhu, Nityananda prabhu, Radhakanta prabhu, Uddhava prabhu, Vishwhambar prabhu, and Vrindaban prabhu.
- The inspiration for us all to meet came from the Harikatha Festival in New Braj.
- New Braj management compiled background info to help conceptualize and understand the past and present state of New Braj on many levels.
- We looked at our original mission statement and discussed ways to make it more digestible by the public so that everyone can understand. Bhudara prabhu is helping us with this important message.
The bulk of the summit was spent looking at:
S.W.O.T. (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis in relation to creating financial sustainability and prosperity
Land: We own/have good mortgages on a total of 19 acres, good soil for cultivation, plentiful water (we have 3 wells and a pond), abundance of medicinal wild herbs and berries, fruit orchards (1/2 acre), garden (1/2 acre), fenced pastures for animals, abundant firewood, etc.
Location: Close to Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Parks and established camps and lakes, lots of sun, creeks, secluded, remote, quiet, clean air, 3,200 ft. elevation, safe from natural disasters and nuclear fallout, far from cities, arid climate, daily courier services, devotees live all around, fire department and trash services <1 miles away, etc.
People: Talents including gardeners, equipment operators, healers, midwives, ayurvedic masseuse, yoga instructors, cooks, artists, seamstresses, singers, landscapers, scholars, construction workers, actors, psychologists, graphic designers, multi-lingual, Vedic scholars, teachers, ombudsman, permaculture experts, commercial truck drivers, etc…Family atmosphere.
Management: 3 dedicated people.
Animals: 2 Cows as part of our Goshala.
Machinery: Farm tractor with attachments, chipper/shredder, power tools, kitchen equipment, F350 Truck, etc.
Kitchen: Enough equipment to cook for more than 500 people a day.
Facilities: Tirtha as established by Srila Gurudeva, His bhajan kutir exactly as He had it, Srila Gurudeva’s Puspa Samadhi, campgrounds, swimming pool, large pavilion, 2 houses (1 temple), 2 cabins, loft, milking station, large parking lot, conference room and office, 2 mobile residential trailers, tool shed, lawns, 2 porter-pottys, hot water outdoor shower stalls, carports, shaded areas, finished studio for ashram, good driveway (partial concrete), small hot tub, 32’ yurt style dome, volleyball and basketball courts, etc.
Financial: Consistent monthly income, own assets/properties, good new mortgage, solar panel savings, established local devotee community, etc.
Location: Far from major metropolises, not good for one day retreats, poor internet and cell phone reception (only Verizon works), no shopping or gas stations nearby, lack of motels and boarding on property, climate can be hard on some people, far from hospitals/clinics, fire danger.
People: As with many holy places pilgrims tend to be transient, lack of business people, entrepreneurs and tech experts, lack of work opportunities.
Management: Don’t have enough time to properly supervise devotee’s seva and encourage them to do more seva, no monetary compensation, lack of training.
Machinery: Need riding mower, higher quality tools, can always upgrade.
Facilities: Lack a bathhouse, guestrooms, commercial kitchen, library, warehouse or commercial facility, vehicles. Small temple room.
Financial: No capital, operate at a deficit every month (we are close to breaking even), poor opportunity for earning an income, limited donor base, high business taxes in California, currently limited outreach.
Permits: Need “Special Use” permit to host future festivals and retreats.
Raising donations: Through fundraising in many ways. Regular Sankirtan in surrounding towns and across California. Home programs and other benefit events. Indian outreach in Fresno and other local cities. Grant writing. Rathayatra in Visalia and/or Fresno. Investor fundraising. Create and pass out beautiful brochures all over. Generate moderate returns for business investors.
Ahimsa Dairy: Buy cow to start our Ahimsa Dairy, niche market and save Lakshmi for New Braj. Increase the size of our goshala.
Customer service/sales position with GVP: manage fulfillment center in USA. The beginning of getting GVP to distribute from New Braj.
Online business: E-market goods and services made or branded in New Braj. Also ties into cottage industries.
Cottage industries: Potential for individuals to make homemade goods and sell them online or at the temple.
Fulfillment center: Can be used for GVP and West coast distribution for businesses. Also for New Braj online business.
Land based business: Develop gardens to a commercial level with investment and use and sell products all over. Provide internships to college students and those who want to learn more about self-sustainability. Possible accreditation opportunity.
Bathhouse: 10 showers and toilets for men and women centrally located.
Additional housing: Provide facilities for guests and residents. Possible timeshares.
Retreat business: When the bathhouse and housing is built we can host all kinds of retreats, seminars and workshops.
Music and video production: Record, produce and distribute music and videos made in New Braj and elsewhere.
Prasadam Business: Build a commercial kitchen and manufacture all kinds of prasadam locally and domestically.
Real estate investment: There are a few opportunities to buy land and/or build homes on properties adjacent to the temple.
Natural care assisted living center: Provide care for devotees who need. Possible future hospice care.
Fires: Need to keep grass cut and fire extinguishers in all buildings.
Neighbors selling land to non-devotees.
Financial instability: Spending more than earning.
Management and sevak burnout: need more help.
Politics: between managers and devotees-communication is key.
Perception of drug culture in New Braj: address an open letter to anyone who would like see our income and expenses as well as rules on the property.
Transients/lack of engagement.
In conclusion the summit meeting was a tremendous success. Directly responsible devotees have accepted important research and development tasks and are enthusiastically working within specific time frames. We will continue to keep everyone updated on our progress.
If you feel inspiration from any of the business opportunities or if you would like to help in any way please contact us through email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (559) 337-0789. We hope to continue to develop a self-sufficient community and serve to the best of our ability now and in the future.
Srila Gurudeva Ki Jaya!
Your aspiring servents,
The New Braj “Summit” Seva team