You may think of greenhouses as merely a place to grow flowers or vegetables, but some people have more purposeful plans for them. A greenhouse is a peaceful place by nature, and some enthusiasts are taking that perception a step further, transforming greenhouses into venues for promoting their visions of World Peace.
Organic Greenhouse Farming for Peace
In the middle of Iowa farm country nestles a small town with the incongruous name of Maharishi Vedic City. The town itself was incorporated only a decade ago, and its architecture (as well as its name) reflects an ancient style inspired by spiritual Sanskrit texts, designed to promote prosperity and peace among its residents. This little village stands out from surrounding farm towns with its architecture and its unusual philosophy and practices.
Citizens engage en masse in transcendental meditation, and the city owns an astronomical observatory for the study of the suggested relationships between heavenly bodies and human happiness. The town runs almost entirely on power generated by renewable resources, and the city-owned organic farm prohibits use of any synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. Sales of non-organic foods are banned in town, and the city’s Constitutional goals center on ensuring the nourishment and satisfaction of its citizens, as well as celebrating the variety of religious, cultural, and social traditions.
This unusual approach to city planning is the foundation for the town’s primary project: promoting World Peace through the practice of “Greenhouse Organic Agriculture.” Proceeds from the city-owned organic farm, described as a hundred-acre operation of timber greenhouses, support their organization GCWP (Global Country of World Peace), which is headquartered in town.
A Greenhouse Café as a Gathering Place for Peace
In Sherborn, Massachusetts there stands another greenhouse that serves as a focal point for peace. The Peace Abbey, located in the picturesquely named Strawberry Fields, is a Center that promotes the practice and study of Pacifism. Some of its offerings include:
· Pacifist Memorial to people who have made a stand against war
· Life Experience School for teens and young adults with physical or emotional challenges
· VeganPeace sanctuary for animals that would otherwise be destined for the slaughterhouse.
· Vegetarian Resource Center provides educational materials to assist and inspire people adapting to life as vegetarians.
· Pacifist living history museum, housing many manuscripts and relics of the Peace Movement.
And of course there’s the central focus: the Greenhouse Café. Housed in an actual greenhouse, this gathering place hosts environmentalists and idealists, artists, dreamers, and activists for social change.
Promote Peace in Your Own Garden Greenhouse
Greenhouses seem like natural places to contemplate peace. People use them as sites for yoga and meditation, or even informal contemplation of nature and beauty. Some folks add a small water feature for its soothing sounds, or even use a small speaker-system to play soft background music.
Greenhouses can also utilize renewable resources and provide herbal and vegetable resources for a family or neighborhood. Given that “limited resources” often lead to conflict, greenhouse gardening can actively promote peace at a local level. You can use your own greenhouse to cultivate some personal peace, right alongside your vegetables!