Wise Food and the Youth in HoB | WWF
Wise Food and the Youth in HoB

Posted on 30 January 2019

In the Heart of Borneo, food production for sustaining its population especially in areas of the interior has been based on environmentally and socially sound practices of de facto organic and traditional agriculture.
By: Cristina Eghenter

Surveys and studies suggest that the youth are the constituency most invested in environmental issues and most concerned about biodiversity loss. Youth are an important voice for nature and the future. A clear indication of this is the enthusiasm with which every year in March, communities of young people around Indonesia participate and make Earth Hour a success. The engagement of the youth through education and campaigns is critical to raise awareness around the importance of biodiversity for life and small actions we can all do to change and stop the destruction of nature. 

We are living beyond the earth’s means. Globally, humanity is already using fifty per cent more natural resources than the earth can regenerate in one year. Moreover, not only are we living beyond the earth’s means but we are also distributing resources in ways that are not fair. These conditions need to be tackled and unsustainable consumption curbed if we are to meet the development needs of current and future generations. Food and agricultural production depend on the sustainability and resilience of natural resources. As population rises, urbanization increases and incomes grow, the agricultural sector will be under mounting pressure to meet the demand for safe and nutritious food. 

In the Heart of Borneo, food production for sustaining its population especially in areas of the interior has been based on environmentally and socially sound practices of de facto organic and traditional agriculture. This production system is based on family farming. It helps maintain permanent soil cover and diversification of plant species. It enhances biodiversity and natural biological processes, which in turn contribute to increased water and nutrient use efficiency and hence to sustained crop production. It is a kind of agricultural system that preserves traditional food products, contributing both to a balanced diet and the safeguarding of the world’s agro-biodiversity.  Moreover, this farming system is embedded in territorial networks and local cultures, and with the appropriate economic investment, can also be an opportunity for economic development and generate agricultural and non-agricultural jobs. 

What is the link with the youth? How can the youth become part of a virtual community of actors of change to preserve and support traditional food systems that are local, environmentally-friendly, fair? How can the youth raise awareness around local food systems as pathways to sustainable future in the HoB? Can choosing to be a farmer be a cool job again? Not any kind of farmer, but a sustainable and environmental farmer of the future. Some premium products and traditional food crops (traditional varieties of rice; sorghum, millet, tropical fruit and mountain salt and others) have a great potential for local and national markets as a niche product with high cultural, nutritional, environmental values. 

Food production and food services (restaurants, café, specialized shops, etc) can become an interesting business opportunity for young entrepreneurs from the HoB. 

Moreover, they can become lead agents of change for sustainable and equitable consumption by choosing products that are local, green, fair and healthy. They can become ambassadors of food products that have a conservation story to tell and a cultural identity. The youth in the HoB and all over Indonesia can help shift consumption towards more sustainability and equity by buying wisely and choose local, green, fair and healthy products from the HoB. Let’s make this commitment part of the next Earth Hour celebration: Wise Food for the Earth (#panganbijaknusantara).
Agustinus Husin, Heart of Borneo, Panda CLICK, HoB, WWF-Indonesia
Youth in the HoB
© WWF-Indonesia/Panda CLICK!/Agustinus Husin
Pangan Bijak Nusantara, WWF-Indonesia
Pangan Bijak Nusantara
© Pangan Bijak Nusantara
Data Dian, Malinau, North Kalimantan, Heart of Borneo, HoB, WWF-Indonesia, Krayan, FORMADAT
Food production and food services (restaurants, café, specialized shops, etc) can become an interesting business opportunity for young entrepreneurs from the HoB.
© Data Dian
Cristina Eghenter, FORMADAT, Krayan Highlands, North Kalimantan, Heart of Borneo, HoB, WWF-Indonesia
Local food in Krayan Highlands, North Kalimantan
© WWF-Indonesia/Cristina Eghenter
Desfari Christiani, Krayan, Malinau, North Kalimantan, Heart of Borneo, HoB, FORMADAT, FOMMA, Heart of Borneo
This farming system is embedded in territorial networks and local cultures, and with the appropriate economic investment, can also be an opportunity for economic development and generate agricultural and non-agricultural jobs.
© Desfari Christiani