Composting & seedling bamboo development, controlling, irrigation, empowering the local community and farmers
“Our commitment to the environment and the people of Bali is not just in a message, but in action as well” – Kadek Gunarta, Festival Co-Founder and Cultural Liaison
Bali Regreen is a sustainable environmental project aiming to fight land degradation in the island’s driest areas while also educating and training the people who inhabit the land. It is one of the most exciting projects in the region, with an emphasis on long term economic benefits for some of Bali’s poorest people.
Although Bali seems incredibly lush and vibrant, there are huge tracts of the island, specifically in the East, that suffer from extreme dryness and as a result, little to no vegetation. Due to these conditions, the communities inhabited in these damaged areas are of the poorest in Bali.
BaliSpirit Festival and Yayasan Kryasta Guna have partnered with the Environmental Bamboo Foundation (EBF) in an effort to help poor communities in Desa Songan, East Bali since 2011.
Desa Songan is located in the caldera of Batur volcano and is one of the 82 poorest villages in Bali, with almost 35% of it’s 8,000 people living below the poverty line. Not only do these people have to overcome the daily obstacle of a harsh environment with land degradation, but also have a lack of economic opportunity.
At BaliSpirit, we believe regreening is more than looking after and giving back to the earth; it is also about looking after its people.
So how do we help?
BaliSpirit, Yayasan Kryasta Guna, & EBF have planted 4,300 seedlings to help these poor and arid villages, helping to bring water to the arid land and rehabilitate it. But we don’t stop there. Our extended team of staff and volunteers also train village farmers to care for the soon-to-be bamboo forest on their previously unproductive land, while simultaneously developing a small-scale micro-economy in these affected communities.
Bamboo makes great water catchment area protection.
Because of the wide-spreading root system, uniquely shaped leaves, and dense litter on the forest floor, bamboo greatly reduces rain run off, preventing massive soil erosion in the water catchment area and retaining up to twice as much water within that soil. Songan lies in the water catchment area that flows into Batur Lake, the second largest water reservoir for the entire island of Bali. Water from here feeds huge tracts of Bali’s famed rice fields, so this project will have a big impact.
Bamboo is great for fast regreening of dry and unproductive areas.
Bamboo is the fastest growing canopy for the regreening of degraded lands. Bamboo has been measured shooting skyward at two inches (5 centimeters) an hour. Some species grow 5 feet (one and a half meters) a day!
Bamboo is a high yield crop for farmers to grow.
Bamboo is a high-yield renewable resource. Bamboo can be harvested in 3-5 years (versus 10-20 years for most softwoods). Some of the largest timber bamboo can grow over 30 m (98 ft) tall, and be as large as 15–20 cm (5.9–7.9 in) in diameter. One clump can produce 200 poles in the three to five years. Bamboo generates a crop every year for farmers to sell, either as poles or in the form of handicrafts used by the Balinese community, providing even more job opportunities in Batur as old traditions and skills are revived and sustained.
Balinese use a lot of bamboo.
Bamboo is the traditional forest of Bali. Bamboo is an integral part of every Balinese person’s life. From birth to death, each religious rite involves bamboo in some form. It is used island-wide for scaffolding, baskets, offerings, food preparation, livestock shelter, homes, furniture, boats, in vegetable gardens as stakes, and handicrafts for the tourist market. If farmers have this crop on their land, they don’t need to spend precious cash to buy bamboo.
After the planting…
It’s more than just planting bamboo seedlings. Bamboo needs basic maintenance and the farmers need training to know how to do this the right way. Right now, the focus is on ensuring the bamboo seedlings make it to the crucial 3 year ‘safety zone’ and the first year of harvest. Bamboo is low maintenance, but, like any crop, it needs fertilizer, water and human attention to thrive.
The project will use the next three years to focus on farmer bamboo care and harvest education, developing an irrigation system, and post harvest processing to add value to the bamboo crops.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
You can support this initiative in the following ways:
PURCHASE TICKETS – $10.00 from every BaliSpirit Festival 2016 Full Festival or VIP Pass Purchase will go to support the Bali ReGreen program in 2016. Go here to buy your ticket now
MAKE A DONATION – Festival Guests can also make private donations of onsite at the Festival’s venues, or through PayPal (contact email@example.com to donate).
TAKE INITIATIVE – Visit the EBP website at http://www.bamboocentral.org/index1.htm and find out how to get more involved.
For more information about this essential environmental project, watch the Bali ReGreen documentary video at http://youtu.be/Cxf5PJ-myBk.
WHAT SUCCESS LOOKS LIKE
Bali Spirit estimates that it will take another 3 years of support (total 5 years) to make this project self-sustaining. By 2018, we hope to leave behind a 10,000 strong bamboo forest – producing poles for harvest every year – 300 educated bamboo farmers, a better irrigation system, a healthier water catchment area in Bali’s second biggest water reservoir, and jobs and economic opportunities for 8,000 villagers.
Project details from 2012-2014:
Phase I covered the hamlets of Alengkong and Bukit Sari of Songan B Village, Bangli District, with 390 seedlings, and training 5 farmers from each hamlet.
In December 22, 2013, Phase II included planting 4,000 more seedlings, donated by KTI (John Hardy Jewelry) and training a further 310 farmers.
After seeing the success in the two hamlets where Bali Regreen already works, 12 other hamlets in the village have asked us to expand the program
include them in 2015.
Phase III will include planting another 5,000 seedlings in Meyeh hamlet and ongoing work with farmers until the crucial first harvest.
We plan to continue Bali Regreen development programs in Desa Songan until 2017. Our main sponsor, Teh Kotak, and several other supporting partners assist our sustainable program, in order to keep the focus on the education, such as; compost making, cultivation of bamboo seedlings, irrigation system, and implementation of Bamboo and livestock farmers group. Furthermore, also focusing on empowering local communities, economically and environmentally.
Read more about Bali Regreen in recent interview with founders of the BaliSpirit Festival; Meghan Pappenheim and Kadek Gunarta Click here to download
Through its Karma (Giving Back) programs, since 2008 the BaliSpirit Festival has helped to raise over USD $75,000 for its annual outreach initiatives, including children’s programs, multi-cultural collaborations, HIV & AIDS awareness and environmental programs.