Lesmahagow, a quiet village founded by monks in the 12th Century is again home to monks but of a different order. In 1987 Hare Krishna monks moved into a humble property in Lesmahagow not far from Glasgow. With the motto ‘simple living, high thinking’, they began to develop an ambitious program and turned the site into a state-of-the-art Eco-Farm. East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow MP, Michael McCann, opened the Farm’ this week. Michael was guest of honour at the event, which was also attended by Margaret Morton and Susan Haughey, Deputy Lord Lieutenants of Lanarkshire, local councillors Alec McInnes and George Greenshields and many local and national guests.
Environmentalists along with devotees from Bhaktivedanta Manor and Hindus community representatives also attended the event and saw demonstrations of various sustainable technologies including Solar Thermal Panels, Air source Heat Pumps, Wind Turbines, and Biomass Energy Centre. The site also includes a walled garden where the monks grow vegetables and fruits, as well as greenhouses for cultivating ceremonial flowers and a play garden for children.
The site has received a Scottish Government Community and Renewable Energy Scheme grant of nearly £87,000 and a loan of £100,000 for the two turbines, funded by Energy Saving Trust Scotland. The eco developments provide around 40% of the small community’s energy requirements.
Scots born, head of the centre George McMullan (aka Prana das) said: “We try to live simply and in harmony with nature. The technology can be used to reduce your carbon footprint, and that’s part of our philosophy. We are committed to helping people find peace, through meditation and taking care of the earth—and it’s all here at the Eco-Farm”. “It has been a rewarding day, “ added George about the official opening ceremony, “We had traditional Indian dance and cuisine blended with Scots bagpipes and banter. The level of interest in our environmental technologies and the presence of the various dignitaries has been inspiring.”
“I was extremely proud to be the guest of honour at the opening of the Krishna Eco-Farm,” said Michael McCann MP. “The devotees live in the Lesmahagow community in the heart of my constituency in peace and harmony not only with nature but with the local community.
“The work that they have done on this Eco-Farm has many lessons for us not least of which is that with proper planning, renewable energy sources can make a valuable contribution to our communities.
“Most importantly, as a member of the International Development Select Committee the Krishna Eco-Farm project demonstrates how local communities in the developing world could benefit from this type of project.
“I thoroughly enjoyed my visit. It certainly won’t be my last because after the trials and tribulations of my work in the House of Commons and the constituency office visiting the Eco-Farm and meeting the wonderful people there was a great opportunity to stop, take a breath and enjoy an alternative style of life,” Michael concluded.