We went to meet the people at the NGO Emas Hitam in Ubud. Their site is north of Ubud in the middle of the jungle, to get there you have to drive through narrow dirt roads, to the end of the road you enter this little green paradise, full of fruit trees and tall grass.
There we are greeted by a very friendly Argentinian woman, that offers us ginger tea and some fried cassava and jackfruit. She tells us everything comes from their garden, that a Saturday a month they organize a “pick your own food” lunch, it consists of an intro to permaculture where people can then pick some fruit and veggies that they later on prepare together and eat.
The Yayasan Emas Hitam is a grassroots permaculture NGO that aims to promote, support and develop regenerative solutions to poverty and development across Indonesia. In particular the NGO arose to address the problems of limited access to funding and assistance by rural populations.
Their objectives are to train and empower farmers in regenerative agriculture techniques, to assist communities to adapt to climate change and the Bali water crisis and to apply permaculture ethics and principle in our work that align with the Balinese Tri Hita Karana philosophy, inspiring the community to redistribute, recycle, reuse or return surplus and waste to the soil.
Besides training and educating farmers they have also been involved in consulting and speaking engagements including Ubud Food Festival, Slow Food Bali events, IDEP’s Introduction to Permaculture Course, and Udayana University’s Earth Day student workshop.
After chatting and eating the delicious snacks we get a little tour of the installations.
First stop is a little hut that they are building thanks to crowdfunding they had, their plan is to have a few little rooms to offer accommodation and be the first to offer a permaculture bed and breakfast experience. Next to it there is a small bamboo building where they do trainings and teach courses. On the top there is a cute bedroom with views to the rice fields and the jungle. We then walk into a cute little green house full of baby plants. If you keep walking you get to the garden, it´s distributed in different beds where they combine multiple greens with trees and palm trees. Next to it they have a couple of very happy looking cows, that they feed elephant grass and use their maneuver for compost. Lastly, they have a composting facility, that they plan on expanding by collaborating with local restaurants to pick up their food waste, the goal is to commercialize it.
If you are ever in Ubud we recommend 100% that you stop by for a visit, if you can make it to the lunch they do once a month it is super worth it. You can find them on facebook, where they also post other events they host.