Friday, December 21, 2012

A Balmy Day at the Farm - Fall 2012

Our High Tunnel is Built!

We constructed a 2000sqft high tunnel this past summer.  This is a little different to the conventional greenhouse in that it has a single layer of plastic covering the frame and has no heat source except for energy from the sun.  It also has roll-up sides which will help with heating and cooling.  We plan to grow vegetables in this tunnel.  Here are Gaura, Lee and Rupert in action!

Building our Infrastructure: Irrigation System for Crops

This summer, we dug a 3500 ft trench 3 ft deep and installed 6 inch and 4 inch pipes in this trench for an irrigation system.  This trench began at the Tuscarora Creek (our Yamuna River) and ran all the way up to orchard hill, across the hay fields.  The plan is to irrigate 20 acres to grow vegetables, and to also expand our orchard, where irrigation will also be required, for our berry bushes and for the early growth of the fruit trees.  We also "T-ed" off the system to irrigate our greenhouses and high tunnel.

It was quite a big project, especially to dig that distance and then cover the pipes, as well as to pour concrete around each riser (where we "T" off to different parts of the system).  It also involved a lot of planning (on paper and on screen) to ensure that the layout of the system corresponded to our field map.  We hope to irrigate 14 acres through the drip system and 6 acres with overhead irrigation system.

Here come the pipes and the trench diggers - see pics above!

Thursday, December 20, 2012


delicious breakfast with family from DC

Caitanya Jivan - serving as always

Rasamrta, Anand & Mayu decorating the cart

children decorating the cart

Haridas, Dineswar and others in kirtan

Vilasa Manjari, Haricakra and others look on and join the kirtan

Visnugada - serving as always

While it is in the 40s right now here in Gita Nagari, we all somehow found ourselves fondly reminiscing about our vibrant yet sweet country style festival of chariots this past summer, where the  temperatures were in the 80s, and always cooled off with a cloud burst just near the end of the festival.

The sweetest part was the willing and harmonious co-operation of many wonderful people, both from our Gita Nagari community, and from our sister Projects too.  As usual, our Harrisburg family of devotees practically "made it happen" and our cooks from DC led by Puspavan and Kunti and Padma were a hit, as well as our well wishers from Philadelphia and New Jersey and New York and actually everywhere :) - they all made it a colorful and wonderful festival!  We were especially excited to welcome guests form our Port Royal, Mifflintown and Lewiston communities too!  We remain grateful for everyone's incredible support!

Looking forward to our next one - mark your calendars - always last Saturday in July - for 2013, it will be on July 27th and this will be our 35th one!!!


Set in the scenic Tuscarora Valley, framed by mountain ridges, boundaried by the Tuscarora Creek on the east side, inhabited by melodious birds and other creatures, home to 6 joyful volunteers, 18 peaceful cows/oxen, a couple of goats, a donkey and a rooster, and a carefree flock of about 40 peacocks, Gita Nagari Organic Farm of 350 acres of rolling green hay fields, pastures and diverse woods engages in compassionate farming, above all its other activities.


We at Gita Nagari Organic Farm have understood that as an intentional community, we can be profitable and sustainable. This is because our core values rest on community and compassion where we are stewards of our people, land and animals. This is exemplified through our Organic Systems Plan, Forest Stewardship Plan, Conservation Plan, Nutrient Management Plan, Community Activities and and Cow and Ox Protection Plan.

Our goals are to balance lifestyle and agriculture through organic farming integrated with renewable energy sources. While our current practices are not there yet, we are making significant progress towards this. We would love to share with you our various projects in this regard such as biofuels, green buildings, and ox power.

Core to the above are people - people make things happen! Personal and community values are rooted in love, care, respect, compassion, and above all, engaging the talents and hearts of each other in loving service - service being a word we deliberately use to describe our daily activities as opposed to “chores” and “tasks”.

Given this backdrop, we offer to our qualifying interns the opportunity to:
  • learn the fundamental principles of organic farming side by side with us - the format is theoretical input and conversations accompanied by hands on farming. This begins with understanding the natural elements used to grow wholesome food, planning your season, to germination techniques to planting techniques and up to harvesting, followed by preparing your garden for the next growing season
  • learn the fundamental principles of caring for and protecting cows and oxen - their value, how to engage their gifts of milk, manure and urine, and training oxen
  • learn core leadership competencies including planning, organizing, leading, managing self, others and tasks/services, business planning and strategic planning through real Projects as case studies
  • become Project Team members on Agriculture and any Project of interest for you here on the Farm - we have many Projects in progress, constantly. This is underpinned by the principle that farming is not an isolated activity but rather the heart beat of the community, with active inspired people being the heart of our farm
  • lead any community event/activity regarding the youth, festivals, cleaning, re-organizing, introducing enhanced systems, and much more
  • learn diverse vegetarian cooking, yoga, meditation, and broaden your knowledge on applied wholesome lifestyle

The above is structured into the daily activities of the Farm.

You can apply to intern for one month up to one year - a duration that meets your needs and that of the farm. We do request that there is consistency please so as to enhance your learning experience and meet the needs of an active and developing farm.

Our core value proposition to you is compassionate farming coupled with empowerment and zero bureaucracy to lead and/or participate in the multitude of development Projects.

Being a compassionate farm, our residents and guests while on our Project practice vegetarianism and intoxication-free habits.


Please apply on-line at - submit your biographical details, a brief background, your goals regarding sustainable farming, your needs and expectations to and call 717 527 4101 to chat further!

Let’s partner for a compassionate and sustainable future together.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Labor Day Weekend Japa Retreat

Japa Retreat

with His Holiness Romapada Swami & His Grace Bada Hari das

Enlivening Kirtans
Enriched Japa
Empowering Lectures
Enthusiastic Association
Enchanting Location

Experience the ecstasy of your relationship with the Holy Name!

Dates: Fri, Aug 31st  6:00 pm to Mon, Sept 3rd 5:00 pm
Retreat starts Friday evening and ends Monday evening.

******** SPECIAL ********
10 Hour Kirtan

Registration fees
$25/day for partial attendence
$25/child Ages 6-12,
No charge under age 6

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Hello Friends! For everyone who is taking this year's CSA on the installment plan, it is time for your next payment. We have made it easy for you by adding a payment button to the Gita Nagari website. You can pay securely with Paypal. ys, Ortrun Gates

Country Style Festival of Chariots - July 28th!

Come one, come all to the 36th Annual Festival of Chariots at Gita Nagari Farm just about 7 miles south of Port Royal, PA! The festival is scheduled for July 28th from 11 am to 6 pm on this 350-acre organic farm in the heart of Pennsylvania.
Start the day by browsing the vendors where you can find everything from Indian clothing to t-shirts, from books to jewelry as well as delicious vegetarian specialties. Tour our organic garden, check out a milking demonstration. Take a carriage ride through the farm. Tour our temple and the newly built and renovated Guesthouses.
At 12 noon take part in the parade, where we will take Lord Jagannath on a tour of the farm. Help pull the Rath cart to the top of Govardhan Hill. Afterward relax on the lawn while listening to music, observe a play or dancing. A free vegetarian feast will be served at 3 pm.
This is a wonderful opportunity for the whole family to relax and enjoy the bucolic Pennsylvania countryside. Bring your lawn chairs or blanket and prepare yourselves for a great day!
What: Festival of Chariots
Date: Saturday, July 28th, 2012
Time: 11 am to 6 pm with free vegetarian feast at 3 pm
         Food and other vendors open all day
Parade: 12 noon
Directions: Can be found on our website:
Parking: Is plentiful on the farm
Cost: Free and open to the public
More information: 717-532-5331 
ACCOMODATIONS: Plan to make a weekend of it and contact M. Anasuya at 717-527-2780 for reservations. Our Goloka guesthouse has eight spacious motel style rooms, nicely furnished, shared bathrooms- three of them are set up for famlies. The Vaikuntha guesthouse has six rooms (slightly smaller), all of which sleep four with shared bathrooms. Temple Annex has standard smaller rooms with shared bathrooms. Our Block House has two levels with various accomodations; and last but not least the second level of our Yoga Studio has five rooms with shared bathrooms, all of which can sleep a relatively large number of people (family style with bunkbeds).  This year we have a special rate just for the Ratha Yatra because we would like as many folks as possible to come and spend the weekend with us. (2-3 sleeper: $20; 4 sleeper: 30; 6 sleeper: $35; 10 sleeper: $45). We also have outdoor tent space available for $10/space. Bring your own tent and bedding. 

VENDORS: This year for the first time, aside from t-shirt, clothing, books, etc. vendors we are also accepting food vendors.  You must supply your own tent, tables and chairs and will be assigned a space. Flat rate is $25 per vendor. For more detailed information please sontact M. Ortrun at 717-532-5331 or mail to

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Jewels of Gaura Lila - 2012 June Retreat

Join us for a weekend of enlivening sanga, kirtan and katha with HH Radhanath Swami and HH Devamrita Swami. These two esteemed speakers will unfold and reveal the beautiful pastimes of Lord Caitanya and His intimate associates. Emulating the mood and flavor of the world famous Pune Yatra held yearly in India, there will be nonstop, free-flowing mellows of sweet, humble offerings of the heart during this weekend of joyful personal transformation. The retreat will be nestled in the charming forests of Gita Nagari Dhama in the intimate association of Their Divine Lordships Sri Sri Radha Damodara and Their servants.


The retreat begins at 1:00pm on Friday June 29th and ends at 3:00 pm on Sunday July 1st. More details of the schedule coming soon.


Please click HERE (will open another page) to proceed with the retreat registration. Payment can be made using your credit card or via check at the venue.


Please register and book your accommodation.

In addition to accommodation on Sri Gita Nagari Dhama, we have arranged discounted rates at the following Motels:

Econo Lodge - PHONE: (717) 436-5981
US 322/22 AT SR 35 2 STOP 35 PLAZA MIFFLINTOWN, PA, US, 17059-9056
Group Discount Code: GNJUNE29 - BOOKED OUT!!!
Budget Inn- Ph: (717)436-2127
Mifflintown Old Us 22 And 322 RR 4 Box 142 Mifflintown, PA 17059
$65 for two people additional $10 each for up to 2 more persons
Group Discount Code: GN June29 - BOOKED OUT!!!
Relax Inn- Ph: 717-248-3921
Lewistown 767 Us Highway 22, Lewistown, PA 7044
Rate: $65 per night
Group discount code: Gita Nagari Retreat - BOOKED OUT!!!

13015 Ferguson Valley Road (US 322), 
Burnham, PA, US, 17009-1892 
Group Rate Code: GNJune29      
$99 for 4 people


12886 Ferguson Valley Rd, Burnham, PA 17009-1839 US 


Transportation  Costs

Harrisburg Airport pick-up  - $50
Harrisburg Bus stop pick-up  - $40
Harrisburg  Amtrak pick-up - $40 (same as bus - same location)
Lewistown Amtrak pick-up - $20

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Bhakti Yoga Retreat with MD & VA College Students!

We had loads of fun hosting 35 vibrant, enlivening College Students from MD and VA 2 weekends ago.  What started of as a day trip for 5 students turned into a full on Retreat of 35, with comfortable overnight stay; delicious meals; an exciting tractor ride tour of our Farm; a humorous cooking class on how to make Agnihotra's Peach Cobbler; a deep and creative slide presentation of themes of the Bhagavad Gita by Visakha devi dasi; sweet kirtans with Syam Kisore, Haripriya, Saci, Sivam, Ramdas and others; connecting with the earth by transplanting seedlings alongside our Organic Growers; and starting with Phase 1 of the landscaping around our up and coming Wellness Center!  We even had a great turn-out at our first spiritual gathering of the day at 4:30am!

A huge thank you to each of our newfound friends for an enriching time, and special thanks to Devaprastha, Padma-malini, Sankirtan Yagna and Danielle for bringing the students out to GNYF!