Peace group has big plans for Black Dirt

They own their own city, have their own government and print their own currency.

Times Herald-Record/May 21, 2005
By John Sullivan

They want to make people physically and spiritually healthy by feeding them organically grown food.

They believe Transcendental Meditation and flying yogis can promote world peace.

Town of Goshen residents, welcome your new neighbors.

Global Country of World Peace, the international nonprofit organization founded by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the spiritual leader who taught the Beatles how to meditate, recently bought 818 acres of Black Dirt farmland in Goshen from three local landowners.

The group plans to use the rich black soil – some of the most fertile in the region – to grow organic vegetables in greenhouses, said Richard Quinn, the group's representative in New York.

The sale also includes a cropduster airport, administrative and storage buildings, packing facilities and a work camp for about 300 workers.

Quinn said his group plans to build an institute to teach organic farming techniques to local and foreign students as part of the enterprise.

Steve Perfit, the Kingston real estate agent who brokered the deal, said Global Country paid $4 million in cash for the 42 parcels of land located west of Pulaski Highway and the Wallkill River and between Pumpkin Swamp Road and Indiana Road.

Perfit spoke on behalf of onion farmers and land owners Harold and Raymond Utter and Charles Gratz, who declined interviews.

"They're just old, and (farming) is a tough business," Perfit said.

The tax-exempt group would not likely pay property taxes, Quinn said. Exact tax figures for the parcels could not be acquired yesterday.

Headquartered in Vedic City, Iowa, Global Country had $2.9 million in assets in 2001, according to the group's public tax records. However, the group has multitudes of affiliated nonprofits that generate millions of dollars for the organization's mission of achieving world peace.

Maharashi Vedic Organic Products, the group's agricultural arm, will start with 75 acres in Goshen and work up to full production in phases, Quinn said. The nonprofit has a similar farm in Vedic City that serves the Chicago metro organic food market, he said.

The Goshen farm would sell to the New York metro region while acquiring machinery, construction materials and labor locally, Quinn said.

"The present food supply has become very polluted with lab chemicals and genetic manipulation," he said. "These things hinder the physiology from having profound experiences."

Quinn said his group educates people on ways to improve their health and reach enlightenment through proper eating, meditation and other techniques. By practicing TM-Sidhi, a form of Transcendental Meditation, yogis can leave their bodies and tap into a higher plane of human experience that reduces conflict, he said.

To bring about world peace, the group hopes to create a legion of yogis who would transmit their transcendental energy from spiritual locations across the globe. The group, which promotes its beliefs through an international satellite network, does not proselytize, however, Quinn said.

"We are not religious," he said. "We are not even a philosophy."

Global Country of World Peace

Q: What is it, and what is its mission?

A: It is a borderless country that promotes enlightenment and world peace through healthy living, Transcendental Meditation and flying yogi techniques.

Q: What is the RAAM?

A: Global Country's currency, which has an exchange rate of 1 RAAM to $10.

Q: Who founded the country?

A: Maharishi Mahesh Yogi of Beatles lore.

Q: Who is the current ruler?

A: His Majesty Raja Nader Raam.

Q: What is the Vedic City?

A: It is a city near Fairfield, Iowa, that is owned by Global Country. Incorporated in 2001, the city has hotels, spas, hospitals and universities dedicated to promoting healthy and spiritual living according to the teachings of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

Q: What is Transcendental Meditation?

A: It is a form of meditation that helps achieve a state of consciousness apart from waking, dreaming and sleeping.

Q: What is the flying yogi technique?

A: It occurs when a yogi leaves his or her body to reach a transcendental state of consciousness. Global Country citizens believe that if enough spiritual leaders tap into this plane of experience, a calming effect occurs over the community, thus reducing violence and conflict.

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