Begawan, nestled in the heart of Bali, recently showcased its commitment to sustainable practices and environmental stewardship by participating in the esteemed Ubud Food Festival. Founded in 2015, the Festival is a major annual project of Yayasan Mudra Swari Saraswati. The event has a vision of enriching the lives of Indonesians through community-building and cultural programs.
The Ubud Food Festival is a three-day cross-cultural culinary adventure with Indonesian food as the star. Showcasing Indonesia’s diverse cuisine, innovative chefs and extraordinary local produce have always been at the heart of UFF. Each year, the festival welcomes audiences and chefs from near and far to learn about Indonesia through its cuisine. Despite the rain, the enthusiasm of visitors was still high.
Soil Health: The Foundation of Sustainable Farming
This year’s festival centred around the importance of soil as the origin of our food chain. Begawan, with a strong focus on soil health and regenerative farming techniques, exemplified the importance of nurturing the earth for bountiful harvests. By cultivating nutrient-rich soil and avoiding harmful chemicals, Begawan, with its farmers, is not only promoting the well-being of their crops but also contributing to the overall ecosystem.
Additionally, Begawan’s dedication to Bali Starling conservation signifies its efforts to protect and restore the island’s unique biodiversity. By intertwining soil health, regenerative farming, wildlife conservation and community education, Begawan exemplifies how interconnected actions can create a thriving ecosystem, ensuring a better future for all of us.
Bali’s Agricultural Tapestry: Challenges and Complexity
Begawan also participated as a panellist in Food for Thought: Champions of the Rice Paddy, where we were joined by The Learning Farm from Cianjur, West Java. Through this opportunity, Sintia, the Managing Officer at Begawan, conveyed the importance of farming in Bali and discussed the multifaceted, context specific challenges in preserving an agricultural legacy. With rice fields standing as the island’s time-honoured heritage and a major draw for tourism, Begawan emphasised the critical need to protect these invaluable resources and the local heritage grains that thrive within them. Balancing preservation with modern demands has posed an intricate puzzle that Begawan has been determined to solve.
A Journey Towards Regenerative Farming
Immersing itself in the very essence of Bali’s agricultural landscape, Begawan embarked on a transformative mission – a community-based regenerative farming initiative. Sintia shared Begawan’s arduous yet exhilarating journey, working hand in hand with local farmers in their shift towards sustainable practices to breathe new life into heritage rice cultivation. Through their efforts, the organisation has sought to bridge the gap between tradition and profitability, making rice farming a thriving and dignified profession for the farmers.
Raising Awareness: From Cheap Produce to Heritage Pride
Rice, often associated with being a humble and inexpensive staple, took centre stage at the Ubud Food Festival. Armed with an important message, Begawan ignited a movement, encouraging audiences to celebrate their heritage food and embrace sustainable practices. By highlighting the profound impact of our consumption activities on the earth and its people, the organisation inspired a sense of pride in Bali’s cultural heritage and the urgent need for responsible choices.
In the sprawling rice fields of Bali, a remarkable tale unfolds of Begawan’s unwavering determination to cultivate a sustainable future rooted in ancient traditions. Through their community-based regenerative farming initiative, Begawan has not only revived heritage rice but also breathed life into the agricultural landscape, empowering local farmers and captivating the hearts of those who cherish Bali’s rich heritage. With its message resonating far and wide, Begawan beckons us all to embrace our responsibility towards the earth, savour the flavours of the past, and shape a future where sustainability and cultural pride intertwine harmoniously.