Indonesia, being an agrarian nation, requires eco-friendly agricultural innovations. Astungkara Way has taken the initiative, and its efforts have been recognized through the Satu Indonesia Award 2021. The Satu Indonesia Award 2023 is now open, offering opportunities to individuals and community groups to develop environmentally friendly innovations that benefit society.
Tim Fijal, who relocated to Bali in 2012, spent nine years at Green School Bali. During this time, he founded Kul Kul Connection, a recycling program that engaged students in creating costumes from discarded materials. Simultaneously, he collaborated with local farmers to address environmental challenges.
Bali has been losing one percent of its agricultural land annually over the past 25 years, largely due to tourism-related development. The introduction of GMO seeds and chemicals for higher crop yields and pest control, as part of the green revolution that started about 50 years ago, has further complicated the situation.
Fijal’s response to this problem was the adoption of regenerative agriculture, a pesticide-free farming approach that aims to restore soil fertility, enhance water absorption, and reduce carbon emissions. However, the majority of Bali’s farmers are elderly, and farming is less appealing to the younger generation.
The Astungkara Way hike, primarily targeting tourists, is associated with an initiative designed to draw young Balinese individuals back to farming and educate them about regenerative agriculture.
Participants in the Astungkara Way hike are captivated by the island’s natural beauty. What sets this pilgrimage apart is its focus on enabling tourists to engage with Balinese society in a genuine way, away from the artificial environments of hotels and restaurants.
During their journey, participants learn directly from local residents in the intimate setting of their homes and farms, staying in simple yet comfortable homestays. This approach contrasts with mass tourism and provides tourists with insights into the concerns and challenges of local communities, all of which are intricately tied to agriculture—a profession that has lost its appeal among Bali’s youth but is being revitalized by Jalan Astungkara.
The ultimate goal of Astungkara Way is to ensure that their activities contribute to the regeneration of Bali’s soil and the restoration of its ecosystems. While visiting Bali, tourists are encouraged to explore beyond the luxurious resorts and experience the island’s true essence as a valuable asset.
Writer: Deska Yunita