Image by/from Gaura
Food for Life Global is a non-profit vegan food relief organization founded in 1995 to serve as the headquarters for Food for Life projects. Although Food for Life Global has roots in ISKCON, it is a completely independent non-profit organization that supports the work of Food for Life projects under the management of ISKCON as well as many other non-profits that are not. Its network of 211 affiliates span the globe, with projects occupying over 60 countries. Volunteers provide up to 2,000,000 free meals daily. Food For Life engages in various sorts of hunger relief, including outreach to the homeless, provision for disadvantaged children throughout India, and provision for victims of natural disasters around the world.
With roots in India, the Food for Life project views itself as being a modern-day revival of the ancient Vedic culture of hospitality and service to those in need. It was conceived of and began in 1974 as local food relief in Mayapur, India as part of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. In 1995, the headquarters was established in Maryland, USA to help support the expansion of the project.
Food for Life as a project was initially inspired by an elderly Indian Swami, known as A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Founder-Acharya of ISKCON. In 1974 when watching a group of village children fighting with dogs over scraps of food, the Swami became upset and told his students, “No one within ten miles of a temple should go hungry… I want you to immediately begin serving food.” In response to his plea, members of ISKCON and volunteers around the world were inspired to expand that original effort into a global network of kitchens, cafes, vans, and mobile services, all providing free food, and establishing daily delivery routes in many large cities around the world. Since that day, Food for Life has grown into the world’s largest vegan/vegetarian food relief program. The distribution of sanctified plant-based meals has been and will continue to be an essential part of India’s Vedic culture of hospitality from which Food for Life was born.
With volunteers serving up to 2,000,000 free plant-based meals daily to schools, as well as from mobile vans and to disaster areas. FOOD FOR LIFE is now the largest food relief in the world, eclipsing even the United Nations World Food Programme.
Food For Life volunteers have provided food for the poor and homeless during several recent disasters.
In total, Food for Life Global has distributed more than 5 billion meals since its inception.
Food for Life has expanded its reach to include, eco-projects such as Working Villages International; as well as orphanages such as Gokulam – Bhaktivedanta Children’s Home Gokulam in Sri Lanka, a refuge where needy children receive food, shelter, medical care, education and loving care.
In the war zone of Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, volunteers visited orphanages, homes for the elderly, hospitals, institutes for handicapped children, and basement shelters on a daily basis throughout the three-year conflict; an estimated 20 tons of food have been distributed since 1992.
In a New York Times article dated (December 12, 1995) volunteers in Chechnya were described as having “a reputation like the one Mother Teresa has in Calcutta: it’s not hard finding people to swear they are saints.”
Food for Life was the first food relief agency to respond to the tsunami disaster of December 2004. On the same afternoon the great tsunami hit, Vaisnava monks at ISKCON’s temple in Chennai, India were preparing their weekly Sunday vegetarian feast, when they heard of the disaster. They immediately raced to the most affected areas on the southeast coastline of India and began serving thousands of people with their preprepared vegetable curry. Over the following 6 months, Food for Life Volunteers in Sri Lanka, India, Europe, USA and Australia provided more than 350,000 freshly cooked meals, along with medical care, water, clothing, and shelter for children at ISKCON’s orphanage in Colombo, the Bhaktivedanta Children’s Home.
Food for Life Global Volunteers responded to the Hurricane Katrina disaster in late August 2005 by providing vegan meals to families relocated to Mississippi and Texas. Up to 800 meals were served daily.
Volunteers from Udhampur, Jammu, Amritsar and Haridwar under the guidance of His Holiness Navayogendra Swami Maharaj, a prominent disciple of A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, came together to provide relief for victims of the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan. Working from an ISKCON temple in Udhampur, which was within the earthquake-affected region, the volunteers loaded trucks with drinking water, rice, bread, and blankets.
Food for Life Global’s principal affiliate, the Food for Life Annamrita program, was founded by ISKCON Food Relief Foundation (IFRF), believes in providing children with the right nutrition to support their education. IFRF’s Food for Life Annamrita program is based on the belief that “you become what you eat.” The nutritious meals this program serves daily encourages over a million children to attend school. One of their goals is to help every child in India get a full education by providing wholesome meals. They are currently serving 1.3 million meals daily from dozens of high-tech kitchens across 10 states.
Food for Life Global (FFLG) was founded in 1995 in Maryland USA but closed its offices at the end of 2014. It re-established its offices in Slovenia in 2015 where it continued to serve as the headquarters and coordinating office for all Food for Life projects worldwide. In 2017, the Slovenian office became the European headquarters and a new US office was established in Delaware, to serve as the headquarters for the Americas. The European office is currently registered under the name: Humanitarno drustvo FFL Global in Kamnik, Slovenia with registration number 4077911000 (maticna stevilka), TAX ID Nr. 28209397 (davcna stevilka).
Food for Life Global – Americas
3911 Concord Pike #8030
Wilmington, DE 19803
Humanitarno drustvo FFL Global
Usnjarska cesta 9,
Registration number 4077911000 (maticna stevilka)
TAX ID Nr. 28209397 (davcna stevilka).
USA: +1 202 407-9090
EUROPE: + 386 70 333 108
AUSTRALIA: +61 2 8006 1081
SOUTH AMERICA: +57 320 485 5971
Paul Rodney Turner, also known as Priyavrata das or the “food yogi,” is the international director. Along with Mukunda Goswami and Rukmini Walker, they co-founded the original Food for Life Global charity in 1995. The new executive committee for Food for Life Global offices in USA and Europe can be found here:
In the early years of Food for Life Global, Paul Rodney Turner aspired to find a way to fulfill the vision of A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami who stated that “everyone should get a chance to take prasadam.” Figuring that it was impossible to reach everyone with the small number of volunteers that serve in Food for Life, Turner realized that the solution was to teach people about prasadam, empowering them with the knowledge of spiritualizing their relationship with food. His book, FOOD YOGA – Nourishing Body, Mind, & Soul was the culmination of many years of research and meditation and serves to directly educate the public about how to become prasadarians.
Food Yoga is a completely new approach to holistic living. Until now, philosophies on healthy living and nutrition have focused on the mechanics of health and happiness, exclusively focusing on the body alone. In doing so, these philosophies have promoted practices and diets that in one way or another have alienated vast numbers of people. As a result, despite volumes of literature and research, there is no consensus on what diet or mode of living is best. What they have all failed to identify is one underlying truth that connects us all and from which all health systems can be reconciled and/or elevated to their ultimate stature. That truth is: our constitutional nature is spirit and we are all spiritually equal. Any healthy living program, therefore, needs to address the “nutritional” needs of the body, mind, and spirit.
Although Food for Life started out as a vegetarian food relief, in 1998, a policy was adopted by Food for Life Global that it would only financially support Food for Life projects that served vegan meals.