Reconnect Urbanites with Nature through Permaculture in the Outskirts of Jakarta

Kebun Kumara

11. Sustainable Cities and Communities 12. Responsible Consumption and Production

Overview

Hands-on and sustainable, Kebun Kumara is an urban learning-farm for all ages. Located on the outskirts of Jakarta, Kebun Kumara is aiming to support and empower the inhabitants of urban society to learn and rediscover their roots as earth keepers.

Authors

Elfin Prayogo

Elfin Prayogo

Dhimas Utomo

Dhimas Utomo

School

TIAS School for Business and Society

TIAS School for Business and Society

Professor

Mirjam Minderman

Mirjam Minderman

Innovation

"To forget how to dig the earth and to tend the soil is to forget ourselves", Sandra quoted Mahatma Gandhi. She later raised her deep concern that urban life is dangerously disconnected from nature.

Rarely are urban peoples habituated to think about the interconnectedness between their life and the life of countless other living beings with whom we share our soil, water, and sky.

In just a few seconds, Siti Soraya Cassandra (Sandra) could list every plant growing in the front yard of Kebun Kumara (Kumara Garden), a gardening-study facility on the outskirts of South Jakarta. The facility, a plantation complex, which she built together with her husband Dhira, her sister, and her sister’s boyfriend in July 2016, offers gardening workshops for the general public.

Kebun Kumara is permaculture-inspired hands-on educational initiative with a vision to create a society where earthlings live in balance with nature – harvesting, utilizing and nurturing simultaneously. Kebun Kumara is currently cultivating fresh vegetables for a healthy diet, nourishing flowers for our insect allies, growing medicinal herbs to strengthen both human and ecosystem, and transforming trash into treasure for compost and creating Ecobricks from plastic bottles.

They aim to create awareness of the interconnectedness of our life and the earth and promote sustainable living through a fun learning process customized for individuals and institutions, whilst running the business of vegetables, flower, compost, and Ecobricks as their main profit-making business.

By doing so, Kebun Kumara actively contributes to achieving UN Sustainable Development Goals 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities; Strengthen efforts to safeguard natural heritage) and 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production; Substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse; Ensure that people everywhere have the relevant information and awareness for sustainable development and lifestyles in harmony with nature).

Reconnect Urbanites with Nature through Permaculture in the Outskirts of Jakarta

Inspiration

Kebun Kumara was founded by Sandra and her husband Dhira in 2016. They are both city kids, born and bred in the bustling Jakarta. By education, Sandra was graduated from The University of Queensland Australia and the University of Indonesia, majoring in Psychology. Prior to Kebun Kumara time, she worked for a Dutch multinational oil and gas company in Jakarta, while Dhira is an activist, researcher, and expert on Indonesian herbal plants, with the specification in cannabis.

After completing a Permaculture Design Course at Bumi Langit Institute in Yogyakarta and Mahayana Permaculture in Salatiga, they came to the realization of how disconnected urban lives are from nature. They decided to bring their knowledge to the urban zone through Kebun Kumara in hopes that the urban society and our future leaders can experience a meaningful relationship with nature.

Overall impact

Through its activities, Kebun Kumara reconnects urbanites with nature through hands-on permaculture workshops. Sandra and Dhira have also become a role model for Indonesian millennials who are mostly middle-class living in Urban Jakarta to reinvent themselves, to actually do their calling and impact society. They also send a strong message to the broader audience that becoming a farmer is a "sexy" profession. Currently, Indonesia loses 500k farmers per year due to changing profession and most of the current farmers are above 55 years old. We need young people like Sandra and Dhira to set a living example for other young people to get their hands dirty and back to agriculture. Their strong message has inspired the couple Diego and Marlies to cycle from the Netherlands to Indonesia: they traveled more than 12,000 km, 23 countries, and 11 months to raise funds and awareness for people, animals, and trees ( http://everythinginbetween.nl/why-this-is-my-last-blog/ ).

Business benefit

Kebun Kumara is designed to be a self-sustained social enterprise, which requires a robust revenue model. Their core products and services are:

1. Permaculture workshops:

● Basic gardening

● Urban home composting

● Little farmer nature play

● Self-made kombucha

● Natural building workshop (Ecobricks)

2. Consultancy:

● Permaculture curriculum design for schools

● Home gardening

● Urban farming

3. Products:

● Organic vegetables and salads

● Organic seeds and transplant

● Farming starter kit

● Compost

Until now, they have served regular clients which consists of 7 schools, 3 universities, 3 interest groups, 1 NGO, and 2 multinational corporations.

Social and environmental benefit

From Kebun Kumara, we can see clearly how they implement a circular economy. For example, with their Ecobricks, they collected plastic waste from the people in the surrounding area and also have installed a collection point where people can drop their plastic waste to be further transformed into Ecobricks. The land that they utilize for farming at the moment was a dumping ground full of plastic trash but successfully restored into productive urban farming land. “We are a place of magic and miracles. We are an intersection - a unique space between the natural ecosystems and the social environment - where one can learn about the relationship between the work of humans and the complexities of the natural world", Sandra said.

In the future, Kebun Kumara aims to become a hub for urban farming in the greater area of Jakarta and to be replicated and scaled-up in other major cities in Indonesia.

Interview

Siti Soraya Cassandra, Co-Founder

Photo of interviewee

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Kebun Kumara

Kebun Kumara

Jakarta, DKI Jakarta, ID

Business Website: https://kebunkumara.wixsite.com/indonesia

Year Founded: 2016

Number of Employees: 2 to 10

Kebun Kumara is a learning farm dedicated to helping urban dwellers of all ages to achieve a sustainable lifestyle. As a social enterprise, Kebun Kumara aims to create a lasting and meaningful impact for a better planet.