Updated: Aug 8, 2022
The ways we grow healthy food to feed our bodies have evolved tremendously over the past century. One thing is crystal clear though: Without healthy soil, no healthy humans. Let's turn Bali into example of how to do things right!
Bali is known for beautifully shaped, lush green rice terraces all over the island. How can we make sure we can still enjoy these views in the centuries to come? How do we protect diversity, clean water and nutrient dense soil?
“The greatest change we need to make is from consumption to production, even if on a small scale, in our own gardens. If only 10% of us do this, there is enough for everyone.” - Bill Mollison
The problem with chemical farming
The use of chemicals within farming has been an agricultural practice for thousands of years, starting first with the use of sulfur compounds as insecticides to preserve plants. Over the past several centuries, this use of chemicals has expanded throughout the agricultural industry, initiating both higher yields of produce and simultaneously contaminating soil, water, and vegetation. These pesticides, which linger in soil for years or even decades after application, have been shown to degrade and damage the microbial communities within the soil. Environmental changes, such as erosion and flooding, have only contributed to this issue; in fact, research shows that 98% of sprayed insecticides reach a destination other than their target, due heavily to runoff and pesticide drift. Despite attempts to regulate the impact of chemicals in farming, pesticide use continues to pervade, leaving degradation and loss in its wake.
Permaculture as a healthy alternative
Permaculture offers an alternative to destructive chemical farming in which agricultural ecosystems grow in a manner that promotes sustainability, regeneration, and self sufficiency. This form of agricultural growth draws inspiration from the natural order of the environment to develop a cooperative system based upon crop diversity and natural productivity. Beyond this, permaculture seeks to adhere to three basic principles: care for the Earth, care for people, and taking only one’s fair share. In following these ideals, permaculture attempts to redefine how humans view their place on the planet; rather than pursuing mass production at the cost of quality, sustainable farming offers direction for living an eco-friendly lifestyle.
Organic Farms in Bali
Jiwa Community Garden, in Canggu, Bali, employs these permaculture tactics to engage with the public in teaching the methods of sustainable farming. Through hosted events and outreach, Jiwa Garden aims to lead by example in demonstrating that an alternative to chemical farming exists, and it can be profitable. Similar to Jiwa Garden, Sandan Natural Farm, Island Organics, Temuku Pupuan, and Bukit Mesari Farmer Group are local organic farms which serve Bali in promoting the benefits of permaculture. Through the collective efforts of these organizations, permaculture is steadily gaining recognition, and the constructive impacts of regenerative farming are becoming achieved.
In accordance with the practices of permaculture growth, Jiwa Garden’s sustainable garden possesses a variety of plants and produce, designed in a way that permits future growth to occur. The chickens, cows and dogs that reside on the farm, as well, serve to eat invasive pests, all the while contributing to soil nutrients in the form of excrement. In addition to the fruit and vegetable growth within the garden, Jiwa Garden has developed a strategy for developing compost from scratch, made possible by the donations of expired produce from local stands. The goal of permaculture – to enhance the environment and community of territory – is at the forefront of what Jiwa does. To take only what is necessary and give back more than what has been taken is the mentality that has guided, and will continue to govern Jiwa Garden, and the broader permaculture community.