New Leaders in Indonesian Small-Scale Farm Development
In 2011, ECHOcommunity members Mr. and Mrs. Kusnadi were involved with a local household biosand filter water project in their hometown of Medan Indonesia. This project was supported by Samaritan’s Purse Canada and facilitated by a local organization called Yayasan Abdi Satya (YAS). At that time, YAS was also involved with disaster response and child development, and was interested in growing its capacity for community development programs to support local rural communities in the area of agriculture.
YAS Project managers Hermansyah and Anthony, along with Mr. and Mrs. Kusnadi, attended the 2011 ECHO Asia Agriculture and Community Development Conference in Thailand. Their purpose was to network with other individuals and organizations like theirs, and to learn about techniques that could be implemented in their area. During the conference they were particularly impacted by a trip to Maejo University vermicomposting facility, which focuses on using worms to break down organic food waste in order to produce high-quality compost and worm juice. Inspired by what they saw during the field trip, the team went back to Medan and began experimenting with various vermicomposting systems.
Today, YAS work has expanded and developed into a Small Farm Resource Center (SFRC) that demonstrates techniques such as urban farming through vertical gardening units, aquaponics, and free-range chicken production. The YAS farm teaches agriculture practices that focus on less/zero harmful chemical fertilizers and pesticides, demonstrates effective ways of managing water resources, and promotes nutritious underutilized vegetables such as Chaya and Moringa. They have also begun supporting a local Bible School by teaching seminarians agriculture and livestock subjects. In the past four years the staff of YAS have transitioned from conference attendees to hosts. In March, YAS staff and ECHO worked in partnership to host the first ECHO Indonesia Sustainable Agriculture Workshop.
Upcoming Event: 2015 ECHO Asia Conference
ECHO Asia is hosting another Agriculture and Community Development Conference this year!