Chapter 1:
Bali and Lombok – Exploring: Community, Culture & Country

An inspiring graduation day at the Green School in Bali and a warm-hearted welcome from Kadek, the farmer of Ancut Garden were the best fitting kick-off events for our reNature team, blessing us with a network of amazing people doing amazing work to regenerate this planet. And there our journey began.

Arriving at the Green School in Bali’s jungle neighborhood Ubud felt like stepping into a well-imagined utopia, but with the big difference that all of it was real, and it felt real. The Green School was founded in 2006 and has grown to 400 students since then, following an education concept, which supports the children in their development as individual, but at the same time as global citizens who act in favor of humanity and nature.

A true Green School

The impressive bamboo and permaculture-based complex is a place where children grow up with the awareness of today’s environmental challenges in a world of consumerism and a diverse fast-changing culture. The construction makes it a true green School. When we became witness of the inspiring presentations of the graduation class, our initial thoughts got confirmed that today’s youth must be a key actor in this project and therewith, for the global transition towards agroforestry.

The network of the Green School led us to the amazing people we mentioned before. Among these was Sanne, a genuine and beautiful woman who won an award for her project Mother Jungle – an initiative that conserves traditional and indigenous knowledge by recording the stories told by the mothers of the jungle. We are looking forward to listen to these stories and to see you again, Sanne!

Lunch at Kulkul Farm

Besides, we got invited to a delicious lunch at the green Kulkul Farm where reNature will be leading a 1 day agroforestry workshop on July 4th, during their Permaculture Design Course. The last day on Bali we met the popular old new farmer Kadek who realized that his family practiced farming according permaculture principles for generations and who is now spreading his knowledge as fast as he can. We will never forget that magic moment, sitting in a circle in the wooden garden house surrounded by the deep green of the rice fields, the strong corn and cayenne pepper, crossed by beans, ginger and banana trees, where the light of the dawn climbed down our faces letting our eyes even more sparkle while we were absorbing Kadek’s and Silmaica’s incredible stories.

The two did not only organize a big event, the JAGA – Celebrating Agroecology and Seed Freedom – where lots of farmers were coming to exchange their knowledge, followed by a large online farmer community. They are also creating a community village with eco-lodges for local people, which can serve as a gateway for sharing or spreading the important message of agroecology through its strategic location next to populated Ubud and the surrounding countryside.

Visiting professor Indri at University of Mataram

After arriving in Lombok, we were welcomed by Indri, a renowned forestry teacher of the University of Mataram. Him and his truly kind wife Sri are real role models for the students and the community with their peaceful permaculture farm, recycle initiatives and organic soap making workshops. Their little paradise will serve as another reNature Agroforestry workshop site for the Mataram students in Mid-July.

The degraded fields of South Lombok

Finally, we could settle down in the South of the island at reNature’s partner Dome Lombok, an eco-resort, where we already designed and planted the first Agroforestry. Our home sweet dome is a true source of inspiration where we fall asleep under a unbelievably beautiful sky counting shooting stars and wake up with the warm sunlight and the delicious fruits the island is offering us. But as much as we can glorify Lombok’s “natural” beauty, the truth is – the South is dry and the land degraded by burning down the yearly corn plantations and the lack of water. Nonetheless, the seemingly impossible will be the project’s success by proving that the chosen 1,2ha can provide abundance in form of healthy food, fiber and medicine while protecting the soil’s fertility and water storage capacity. That is our goal of the Dome Lombok Project.

Lessons learned from Lombok Organic’s market-oriented agriculture

The farm Lombok Organic was a true contrasting experience. Our stay in the lush green North first pulled us down, not only because of its more favorable vegetation conditions, but also when we were listening to the farm’s knowledgeable manager Martin who described the region’s reality with its market-oriented agriculture. But on the other hand, the reality Martin created on his farm while facing these challenges, just enforced our motivation and strong belief in the possibility of a better future. This was also confirmed by the 80ha agroforestry site initiated by the University of Mataram in 1998 where professor Indri showed us around, stopping at an impressive waterfall where we just got reminded what we are doing – we are planting water.

More to come.

Categories: Journal

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