~ Description of the trip to the Gita Nagari Eco Farm in Port Royal by active member, Audrey Gabrys ~
On Friday, October 26th, a couple of Eco-Actioners decided to escape the Penn State campus atmosphere and experience life on the Gita Nagari Eco Farm and Sanctuary. The farm is the only certified organic slaughter free dairy farm in North America, and all of the local animals as well find refuge within its borders.
When we arrived, we were greeted by the wandering peacocks and affectionate barn cats that call this place home. We then were welcomed into the dining hall by Parijata, one of the owners and operators of the farm, and made connections with each other as we enjoyed a homemade meal. Although we at first thought it was just going to be a “normal” farm, we later realized it is far beyond that. We were given a tour of everything that the farm has to offer, from a spiritual center, to a summer retreat hosing center, to a yoga center, and learned about their mission. “Spirituality, Sustainability, Community. Simple Living. High Thinking”. Everything on the farm was connected in some way, and we explored how this helps them with reaching their goal of sustainability.
Every person who helps out at the farm has their own unique personality and they all share their inherent gifts that help make the farm successful. We later learned that this is also true for the cows. Spending the time with the cows, like Tammy, Dennis, Sparkle, and Daring Denise, made us realize how similar they are to dogs and other animals. Each cow demonstrated their own personality during the milking process and when they were free to roam the pastures.
With all of the connections we made with each other, the cows, and the earth, we found it to not only be a sanctuary for animals, but also a “sanctuary for humans” that we hope to return to in the future.