Sustainable Agriculture in Bali: Environmental Justice and Social Equality

Sustainable Agriculture in Bali: Environmental Justice and Social Equality

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Abstract

Yayasan Konservasi Sawah Bali (Sawah Bali), an Indonesian NGO, established a social enterprise in 2015 to promote farmers’ crops and support the NGO’s mission “to conserve and sustain a working landscape in Bali and to restructure agricultural production to secure greater economic equality and wellness for Bali’s farmers.” Sawah Bali’s social enterprise, Green Dream Products, sold its primary product, heritage brown rice, with 100% of the wholesale price going directly to farmers and further profits from other products shared between the NGO and farmers.

Green Dream Products are organic, premium, and more expensive, but they are not sold simply as food products. Sawah Bali sells them with the story of gaining economic parity for farmers by collaborating with them to transition to organic practices, growing indigenous crops that ensure the retention of their rich Balinese culture and identity. The NGO initially positioned their products for sale to the tourism industry, the mono-economy of Bali, but their locally grown products have not been able to compete with cheap imports or greenwashed substandard products. Issues of neo-colonialism, globalization, and late stage capitalism have hampered the success of the local and fair economic model. The NGO faces a critical problem: How can Sawah Bali sell its products without selling out its farmers by reducing prices? How can it support the economic development of farmers and their families, prepare farmers with tools to ensure food security in the face of climate change, and help reverse the resource depletion for Balinese people on an island rife with corruption and in a transnational corporate landscape?

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