The baduy people are an indigenous tribe from West Java, often called the original Sundanese people. They have a strong culture, tradition and religion unlike any other in Indonesia. Living in harmony with nature and meeting all their needs from the rich natural resources around them.
The land of the Baduy is a most beautiful landscape; lush, green mountains. No motorbikes, cars or push bikes ever enter. The only form of transport is the one we are all blessed with from birth, two feet. Natural stone paths link all the main villages and make for a lovely walkway.
All houses are traditionally built entirely out of bamboo, except for the roofs which are made from palm leaves. They build special buildings just outside the main housing area to store all of the rice for the year. One of the most stunning and impressive features of the Baduy is their long bamboo bridges, which cross the main river at various points.
The river flows down from the mountain and cuts right through the land of the Baduy, it is constantly crystal clear the whole way. No soap or chemical cleaning products are allowed and each village has a separate area for going to the toilet and washing and for drinking. The water carries the energy down from the mountain and washing in it is incredibly refreshing and rejuvenating.
The baduy have been practising the same form of agriculture for a very long time. The farm quite extensively and have large areas which are left alone as natural vegetation. They never cut down down any “weeds” that grown on their land and have almost 100% ground cover everywhere. They practise crop rotation, completely leaving alone one piece of land for a number of years before returning to it to farm again. The result of this is a very rich, bio-diverse environment that produces all their food needs with no pest or disease problems.
The baduy tribe are divided into two sub-tribes – Baduy Dalam and Baduy Luar. Baduy Luar allow visitors to enter their village and have started to accept and integrate a few elements of the modern world. Baduy Dalam maintain a completely traditional lifestyle and shun all elements of the modern world. Camera’s, phones and electrical equipment cannot be taken into their village. It is difficult for a foreigner to enter the village of Baduy Dalam, however they are very friendly people and happy to stop and say hello when walking by. By restricting visitors and modern technology they have successfully managed to maintain their culture and traditions. In the modern world this is quite some feat and long may it remain this way.
Staying with the Baduy is a reminder of all the happiness and success that can be achieved by living in harmony with nature.
In the future when we run out of oil and the modern world crashes it is to people like the Baduy we will have to turn to, to remember how to live in harmony with nature.
Konser Kampung Is a community of cultural arts that was born in 1986 in the village of Jatitujuh located in the north of Majalengka, West Java. Members of this community group share different talents ranging from art and music to dance and writing. This year they have focused on the creation of new experimental instruments made from bamboo. Their talents and various other acts connected with community art are often combined with events and social activities within and outside of this village.
The village of Jatitujuh need a space for creation, exploration and collaboration, to promote art as a way of life. For the past years they have been using temporary studio spaces, friends bamboo shacks, local coffee houses and their own lounge rooms to produce, discuss and practice their art and music. By building a central hub in this village for education and execution of creativity, it will provide easier access to art materials and space, therefor encouraging both the young and old in this village to play more of a participatory role in art creation and experimentation. Konser Kampung have been making music, events for the community, art and experimental instruments since 1986, touring, collaborating and inspiring many. Art is indispensable in their lives and the lives of the village.
This new space is now being built with the foundations for the main building already laid. The people behind the project have experience of permaculture and want to set up a demonstration garden around the new art centre. It will provide organic food for all visitors and demonstrate how effect permaculture can be in the local area. The village is full of create open minded people who would be willing to practise permaculture on their own land once shown a successful example and given a little guidance.
I am planning to go over to Konser kampung next February to help set up the permaculture project. Art, music and permaculture is such a great mix and i look forward to working alongside such creative people.
The project has been funded entirely by donations generated by the hardwork of Ellie Hannon and Rizal Abdulhadi. For more information please watch this short video about the project down below. Anyone interested in helping out this project please donate whatever you can via this link:http://www.gofundme.com/charitykonserkampung#description
I am currently working on a project in Malaysia and will be offline for the next few months. I will be back blogging again next year when i hope to be visiting a new village project in Indonesia and some of the permaculture activities happening in Australia.
3 months living in a small village in Malaysia, with no agricultural shops or garden centres gave me an opportunity to get back to basics.I wanted to create a small garden around the outside of the fish farm i was living on with the main goal being long term fruit production.
Over the first couple of weeks i prepared the soil and started collecting seed. I collected the seed from all the fruits and vegetables i ate. Being in the tropics i could dry the seeds in a day or two. I collected pumpkin seeds, bitter melon seeds, mung beans, red kidney beans, peanuts, chickpeas, papaya seeds, jackfruit seeds, rambutan seeds and cempedak seeds.
I had no pots so everything was planted directly in the ground. I dug a series of trenches, loosened the soil and planted them with a lot of legumes and a few fruit seeds. The legumes would fix nitrogen in the soil whilst providing some shelter and protection to the emerging fruit trees.
I found some old bamboo and used it train up a bitter melon, with an existing papaya tree providing another support for a bitter melon plant.
Within a week there was 100% ground cover from the various legumes especially the mung beans which grew really quickly. Over the first couple of months i planted ginger, galangal, turmeric, lemongrass, lemon basil and Asian parsley in between the legumes. I also acquired a couple of small banana trees and a sprouted coconut. The first few weeks there was no sign of any fruit trees. After 4 weeks there were baby cempedak, ramubtan, jackfruit, sapote and durian trees all sprouting.
After just 8 weeks i started harvesting mung beans and adzuki beans. By the time i left at the end of the 3 months there was an abundance of bitter melons and baby fruit trees all looking happy and healthy.
It was a lovely, natural feeling to take a seed straight from a ripe fruit and plant it. There was no need for fertilizer, mycorrhizal starters or pots, just sunlight and rain. When starting a garden, there are many things we can do to speed up the process and increase the chances of success but sometimes it's as simple as planting whatever you have available.
Samlor prong is traditionally prepared by the Tampuen people when they are going to stay in the forest or at their farms. It is a mixture of different vegetables and herbs mixed with fresh fish, packed into bamboo and roasted over the fire. Samlor ProngIngredients
- 300g fresh catfish
- 4 cups young pumpkin shoots
- 5 birds eye chillies
- 1 1/2tbsp sawtooth coriander
- 5 stalks lemongrass
- 2tsp sugar
- 2tsp salt
- small piece banana leaf
- 3ft piece of big, fresh bamboo
- Cut the catfish into small chunks
- Cut the pumpkin shoots, herbs and chilli into small pieces
- Add to a bowl, add salt and sugar and mix thoroughly
- Pack the mixture into the bamboo
- Seal the top with a small piece of banana leaf
- Roast over the fire for 40 mintues, turning every 5 - 10 minutes.
At Tien village the Tampuen people have a community forest area which is 105 hectares of primary forest and contains an abundance of food.
Within 5 minutes of entering the forest we found 3 different wild fruits. There was 2 different red berries that were both very sour and a really tasty fruit that looked like an organge mangosteen. Throughout the forest there was a constant supply of different fruits.
The Tampuen know a vast number of medicinal plants and mushrooms. We stopped to collect the bark from many different trees, one to treat pain and another just because it was the chief's favourite! There was a very small, peculiar, translucent mushroom which they said could help with any disease.
The Tampuen still use a traditional crossbow and various bamboo traps for hunting. The only wildlife we saw on our visit was lizards and frogs both of which were taken for dinner. We could hear monkeys and many different birds but they are mostly left alone now that they only have a small area of forest.
As we left the main forest we walked straight into a bamboo forest. The Tampuen are real masters of utilising bamboo. Their traditional houses are made entirely out of bamboo. The Tampuen women can always be seen wearing a Kapar (bamboo backback). They make a number of different traps out of bamboo for hunting fish, snakes and pigs. When they go to the jungle they carry only a knife and use bamboo as a cooking pot for whatever they find.
The Tampuen seemed perfectly at home in the forest, moving with ease. They know their forest incredibly well and demonstrated the abundance it offers. It is a great shame that so many people in Cambodia do not recognize the real value of the forest. When we returned in the evening a couple of elders in the village were reminiscing of the good times when the whole area was covered with healthy forest. Deforestation is a big problem; thankfully Ockenden is doing what it can to preserve 1,000's of hectares by creating community forest areas like this.
During my brief 5 day stay on the farm we completed 3 main projects. We set up a dragon fruit plantation, created a model, multi-layered garden bed and mulched lots.
On the way to Katch Phkar we stopped off at an organic dragon fruit farm. They were growing 4 different varieties: purple,white, red and yellow. The yellow variety is worth 5x as much in the local markets. It is actually a different plant; Selenicereus megalanthus, whilst the other 3 colours are different varieties of Hylocereus undatus. It is half as thin as Hylocereus undatus and the fruit is covered in spikes.
We bought a lot of small plants and after enjoying some fresh dragon fruit set off for the farm.
The next day we dug 30 holes 1/2 a metre deep and installed 30 2 metre logs. We planted all the seedlings which came with a clear waning to plant them very shallow in the soil. To give them a head start we mixed in some mature cow manure and mulched the whole area. Within 2 years they should start fruiting.
When i arrived at the farm the first thing i noticed was the bare ground everywhere. I made it a priority to mulch as much as possible during my stay.
On day 6 we returned to the office to discuss some short term goals. We decided on the following priorities:
- Plant in and around the ponds
- Plant mulch plants around the farm
- Plant some ground cover / green manure crops on unused land
- Continue mulching around the farm
- Plant some hardy nitrogen fixing trees
I really enjoyed my time at the farm and at the main office. Ockenden Banteay Meanchey have a really great team that have been working together for years, and they have achieved many great things.
During my stay at Daruma Eco-farm an opportunity came up to spend a day preparing jams and fermented foods, something i really enjoy. We had a great range of ingredients, many of which have not been available to me before.
I was very excited when presented with a few kg's of very ripe passion fruit and 2kg of Durian.
Passion fruit jam
- 3 cups passion fruit pulp with seeds
- 3 cups sugar
- Heat the passion fruit pulp and bring up to a boil. Cook this whilst stirring until most of the water has evaporated or for approximately 30 minutes.
- Add the sugar and cook over medium heat whilst stirring constantly.
- Pour the jam into sterilised jars.
Tempoyak (Fermented Durian)
Whilst travelling in Malaysia i had been offered Tempoyak or fermented Durian. Durian is my favourite fruit and possibly food so i was really excited to have a go at fermenting it myself:
- 2kg Durian flesh
- 2tsp sugar
- Simply seperate the seeds and mix the flesh with the salt and sugar
- Add this to a jar and cover with cling film. Do not fill the jar to the top as it will expand a lot over the next 24 hours as it ferments.
- Ferment at room temperature for 1 - 2 days minimum and longer if you prefer a stronger flavour.
- It will keep best if refridgerated but as a fermented food it can keep a long time outside of the fridge, one friend in Malaysia had a seriously good 4 month old jar that was left at room temperature.
IMO stands for indigenous microorganisms and is a great way to improve your soil and prepare any kind of natural insecticide / pesticide you may need. In some countries IMO starter cultures are available from the government / agricultural unviersities. Many people prefer to collect the IMO's in their local area / forest and use these. IMO's in your local area have evolved over thousands of years to survive and adapt to the conditions in the local environment.
In the morning on my first day at the farm we got busy cutting down four large neem trees. With an abudance of neem leaves Neil decided to prepare a fermented IMO insect repellent / insecticide. We gathered around 10kg of Citronella leaves and a large steel drum. The recipe was:
- 20kg neem leaves
- 10kg citronella leaves
- 10kg molasses
- 10 gallons water
- IMO starter culture
To speed up the process and to add some extra nutrients we added 2 large buckets of a finished fermented IMO fertiliser (pictured above). The IMO starter we used was supplied by the Thai government. It will take around 3-4weeks to ferment into a useable product.
The IMO fertiliser is simple to produce and very easy for an Asian farmer to make. The recipe is:
- 20kg mangoes
- 10kg molasses
- 10 gallons water
- IMO starter culture
On the second day I discovered two big boxes of seeds and realized i had all the materials needed to get growing. I decided to repair the raised beds that were already in place and get them ready for planting.
The raised beds needed to have the sides nailed back together to create a more solid structure. They were completely overgrown with weeds which had done a nice job preparing the little soil that was there. I chopped and dropped all these weeds on the 4 main raised beds, it took a little while and was a little fiddly but keeping the roots in the ground is just so beneficial to the soil structure.
The main goal was to build up the soil, i wanted to change the 2 - 3 inches that were there into 5 - 6 inches. I spent the best part of a day going around the farm collecting mulch, i found lots of straw, dead grasses and cut down some fresh reeds / grasses. 40 acres contained a lot of tall grasses, old dying leaves and weeds, all very valuable resources.
I collected some fresh manure from the cow and diluted it with some water to create a little liquid fertiliser. Although not necessary to create healthy soil i like to use whatever local materials are available and the farm had a healthy, traditional breed of cow.
I built layers using the chopped and dropped weeds, more green choppings, straw mulch, liquid manure and soil collected from around various places on the farm. This was all topped off with a final layer of straw / grass to keep it all covered and in a few months it will be well on its way to being 5 - 6 inches of healthy soil.
I also built one more raised bed and chopped and dropped some weeds in some of the tyres to give even more planting space.
In the meantime i got busy sowing lots of different seeds in seed trays filled with coconut fibre. I planted 15 - 20 different types of seed and also set up a small fruit tree nursery. I bought up a soursop and custard apple to the farm and after we had enjoyed eating them we dried the seed and planted it along with some papaya seeds in polythene pots.
Ladia returned from Japan with many new seeds of different Japanese herbs and vegetables and i was glad i hadn't put much into the raised beds yet. Im sure in the next few weeks the seedlings can be transferred and many more new seeds planted to create 5 very productive raised beds.