Astungkara Way, Indonesia
- DefinitionDevising project idea, defining the aim and main components
- DesignSpecifying details such as time-frame, budget, target indicators, project partners and relevant steps to reach the project objectives
- Open to FinancingSearching and securing funding and investment, setting up relevant financing partnerships, and discussing payment modalities
- ImplementationExecution of feasibility studies, context analysis, plot design, planting and setting up facilities and starting with potential capacity-building
- MaintenanceOperational phase (monitoring and evaluation, impact assessments and adjustments, execution of educational programmes and long-term capacity building)
- Scaling UpScaling up phase is when the project it has already shown success by obtaining impact as well as economic results and it's ready to become replicable.
Bali is in direct need of a reinvigorated and more resilient agricultural sector. The heavy dependence on the tourism industry eroded resilience and local food production. Astungkara Way and reNature will implement a Model Farm and Model School to showcase regenerative agroforestry practices to inspire a next generation of farmers.
The regenerative agroforestry practices will increase climate resilience and biodiversity of farms for a future-proof food system. Participants will be taught to grow a wide range of tropical fruits and medicinal plants in harmony with nature and gain entrepreneurial skills to better market their produce. These activities will build on the established training centre and agroforestry plot which will increase impact in the long and short term.
A first-of-a- kind coast-to-coast walking trail across the island has launched recently to connect all agroforestry plots of participating farmers in the area, which will help to maximize visibility and inspirational impact. In order to already initiate the transition one farmer at a time during the pandemic, Astungkara just launched the Healthy Rice Campaign, a whole movement around the selling of non-chemical rice from early adopters farmers. This initiatives launches the project in the right direction, gathering a community of farmers and raising awareness around organic farming, which is the very first step toward regenerative.
13 farmers are already committed for the Model Farm. There is also a potential to grow to another 100-200 farmers.
Inspiring Bali’s youth
Overall, the goal of this project is to establish a Model Farm to showcase regenerative agroforestry by re-engaging the Balinese youth in agriculture, with the objective to scale in a Model School.
In Bali, the local economy has become heavily dependent on tourism for economic activity and most young people enter the tourism industry after finishing their education. As a result, Balinese agriculture is slowly disappearing, agricultural land is sold for real estate development and the island is becoming increasingly dependent on food imports.
The Astungkara Way project will adapt the established 0.3 hectare agroforestry demonstration plot, and onboard 13 participating farmers with their own plot (total 4 hectares) to create a Model Farm. This will showcase regenerative agroforestry, conducting capacity building among local farmers to implement regenerative agroforestry systems on their own farms.
The projects prior results provide an excellent basis to build a successful Model School with more farmers in a second step. Astungkara Way is currently discussing the financing of a tree nursery with potential funders, which would not only secure supply of tropical fruit tree seedlings for participating farmers, but could potentially create an additional revenue stream.
The regenerative agroforestry Model Farm will have the potential to inspire Balinese youth to take on neglected family farms and transform them into biodiverse, resilient and aesthetically attractive farming systems. Astungkara Way is already engaging local youth in the Sekolah Subak program and providing courses in regenerative agriculture with oriented programmes for mostly long-term international residents of Bali and their children.
Astungkara Way is expecting the program to have a high level of exposure amongst international visitors and travelers which will support growth. One potential avenue is through collaboration with a large resort chain that intends to bring their guests to learn about regenerative agriculture through half-day farm tours.
A viable alternative to deforestation
The regenerative and diversified agroforestry system will foster biodiversity in and around the plots. By omitting agrochemicals, soil life has a chance to grow and farm land will be able to facilitate insects, birds and other animals.
Integrating trees in farming systems will sequester carbon and mitigate human-induced climate change. Many green plots are currently at risk of being cleared for tourist-oriented real estate development. By providing a viable alternative, we can prevent additional vegetation from being cut down and ensure the maintenance of tree cover in the area.
Astungkara Way will expand its already huge impact on Balinese youth, by developing career pathways in agriculture. As part of the Sekolah Subak program, Astungkara Way employs small groups of local youth, teaching them about agro-entrepreneurship and management strategies for agricultural projects.
To maximise ownership of regenerative teaching programs and facilitate co-creation with local youth, every future Model School will be connected to a Sekolah Subak group. On a bigger scale, the diversification of cropping patterns will benefit the whole island by spreading risks for farmers, increasing agricultural climate resilience and boosting the local food economy.
Reconnecting people with nature
Aside from a focus on regenerative agroforestry practices, the Model School will also teach entrepreneurial skills. This will help farmers to explore the agribusiness aspects of their farm and profit more from market opportunities, leveraging new economic impact.
Farmers are organised in cooperatives (Subak) with which the Astungkara Way is already connected. These would provide a very good entry point into upscaling impact. Once the first batch of farmers has been successfully involved in the project, this may inspire other Subak to join. Many opportunities of off-take agreements for organic and regenerative food crops at a high market price have already been identified with local hotels and restaurants. As expected, providing market access has proven to be key and more and more farmers are joining the transition already.
Astungkara Way is financially sustainable, with its multiple activities, all centered around reconnecting people with nature and the source of their food. These activities include 3 to 6 month experiential courses for on-island kids and adults, Farm Tours, the Astungkara Trail and selling Healthy Rice. Additional support is however needed to leverage the existing brand, customer base and know-how to bring agroforestry practices to the island and related products to market. The partnership with reNature will help in scaling the impact and leverage existing initiatives.