Adiraja Dasa, a Hare Krishna cook who authored 1989’s The Hare Krishna Book of Vegetarian Cooking and managed soup kitchens in Geneva, Paris and Detroit is planning to launch the first in a nationwide chain of healthy vegan fast food restaurants called “Peacemakers” in summer 2011.
If the Detroit, Michigan prototype—subtitled “Healthy, Affordable Food for Everyone”—is a success, then two others will follow in the same area in 2012.
Adiraja’s plan is to have at least one farm in each U.S. State directly supplying local restaurants with fresh, organic produce.
He has already acquired a seven-acre farm in rural Pickney, just twenty minutes drive from the Detroit Metropolitan area where the first Peacemakers will stand, on which he is growing over forty types of heirloom vegetables and feeding seventy-five families—mostly locals including customers from the upperclass Grosse Pointe area.
This, however, is only a temporary basis on which to build: In Adiraja’s final business plan, Vedic Village Educational Farms of at least 100 acres each will supply the Peacemakers chain.
“This business model of restaurants and farms working together to minimize production costs, while educating and empowering people to make smart food choices, will enable Peacemakers to provide healthy meals at current fast food prices,” Adiraja says. “And it will be great food, too: We’ll offer vegan burgers, sandwiches, soups, salads, fresh juices, smoothies, desserts, freshly baked goods, and ethnic meals, including raw/living-food options.”
Eventually, Adiraja says, dairy options will also be introduced at Peacemakers, but they will be made only from raw milk from lovingly protected cows fed with organic green grass.
It’s certainly a gulf of difference away from the mainstream fast food industry, and playing the opposite game is essentially Adiraja’s business plan—he wants to tap into the appeal of a 110 billion-dollar a year industry, but with none of its negative points.
“We, America, have been called a fast food nation eating ourselves to death,” he says. “But Peacemakers will be a fast food chain helping people to restore their health. Fast food restaurants typically make their profits largely at other peoples’ expense—damaging health and the environment, and creating jobs the average person stays no more than four months in. But we’ll get away from tractorization by using oxen to plow the fields, preserve farmland, provide the healthiest, organic, locally grown, ultra-fresh food at affordable prices, and create careers with longevity and purpose.”
Both the Peacemaker restaurants and farms will also be designed using green technology and will further drop their overhead by attracting plenty of volunteer help, according to Adiraja.
“They will also be educational centers that teach about restoring our physical health and the health of the planet,” he explains. “At the restaurants, people will be able to learn how to prepare healthy meals in their own homes; and at the farms, there will be facilities for people to stay over so that they can learn how to grow and sell organic produce for a living, eliminating the middle-man.”
And the project is for everyone: although some have dismissed Adiraja’s decision to launch his first restaurant in Detroit, a city not exactly famous for its vegetarian population, he says that this is missing the point. “This is not just for vegetarians,” he says. “The vast majority of meat-eaters will also be attracted to healthy, fresh food, even if it’s vegan—and our special diet menus for people with obesity, diabetes, and high-blood pressure will provide added value.”
Attracted by the idea and its gentle spiritual overtones of peace, helping the planet and self-realization, many have already stepped forward to help: experts in building with green technology, restaurant designers, cooks, and farm workers are waiting on the sidelines for the business plan and financing to come together.
Meanwhile, researchers and business students from Wayne State University are helping to finish the business blueprint, and various companies are showing interest in financing the project.
Adiraja feels that Peacemakers is coming at perfect time, when people are aware that something has to change in the world.
“From a spiritual perspective, to heal this planet we have to stop killing animals, treat the earth like our mother, and and get back to eating a spiritually supportive diet,” he says. “And what does it support? The realization that we’re eternal, that we have a loving relationship with our source, that we’re all related and connected, and that we all have the same purpose.
“And that’s a vision that people are really ready to hear right now.”
For more information or to get involved, email Adiraja Dasa at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 313 434-5121.