Agricultura Sostenible

Organic Vegetable Farming for Nutrition and Eventual Income from Sales

The mountain land in Desa Ban is so steep, dry and sandy that it can only support cassava and corn, the staple for the majority of the 2,500 families who have almost no alternative source of food supplies apart from a remote market that is up to 5 hours walk on steep mountain tracks. Following our philosophy of teaching the people how to feed themselves for life rather than giving them free food for a day, we introduced organic vegetable learning gardens near all schools as an integral part of the children’s education programmes. Primero, vetiver grass (zizanioides) is planted to conserve soil and water and initiate natural terraces. Vetiver roots can penetrate 2-3 metres below ground in their first year and act almost like an underground dam to store water, making it available to plants over a longer period. The terraced planting beds are then improved with organic compost and cow manure. Organic worm farms provide the natural organic fertilisers needed to nourish the soil directly before planting potato and vegetable seedlings. No chemical fertilisers or pesticides are ever used.

We piloted our first organic school learning gardens in December 1999 and March 2001, kindly funded by the British Women’s Association (BWA) of Jakarta. In the first season, we successfully grew 20 types of nutritious vegetables: a welcome addition to the children’s daily school meals. Los jardines han introducido toda una nueva gama de alimentos nutritivos para los niños y sus familias que antes sólo conocían yuca, maíz y gandules. Ahora hay huertos escolares ecológicos en todas las escuelas de PBE. Aparte del resultado directo de ofrecer buena comida para la comunidad, este proyecto ha mejorado significativamente el medio ambiente local.

Los niños en todas las escuelas de PBE van a sus huertos orgánicos diariamente como parte de su educación integral, teoría que viene después de la práctica! Ellos aprenden cómo mejorar el suelo con estiércol de vaca que traen de casa, vigilar el estado y el progreso de las granjas de lombrices para fertilizante orgánico premium (gusanos certificados comprados a especialista granja de lombrices, Dr Kartini en Denpasar), preparar los semilleros para la crianza hasta la época de siembra, check for insects/pests and record progress daily. All activities are overseen by EBPP’s education, agriculture and health teams, with regular input from Indonesian and foreign volunteer advisors. Children take all reports home to explain the processes and progress to their parents who are keen to study with them. By late 2002, parents in all hamlets asked to learn how to improve their family land on condition their children in EBPP schools taught them. This request formed the foundation for the now successful community learning gardens, initiated in November 2002 with a 3-year grant from British Embassy Small Grants Scheme.

Potatoes, carrots, tomatoes and many green vegetables are now the vegetables of choice for future economic development by all farmers. Why? Porque saben que a través de sus hijos que su alimento básico actual de la yuca (un bociógeno) contribuye a la deficiencia de yodo mediante el bloqueo de la absorción de yodo – el mineral esencial para el cerebro sano y el desarrollo del cuerpo, que el contenido de la nutrición de las patatas muy superior a la de la yuca, y que no es un buen mercado para las ventas futuras en Bali y más allá.