Planting the seeds: Kitchen Gardens empower women, supports families

Kebun Keluarga (Kitchen Gardens) is one of ASRI's conservation programs, focusing on alternative livelihood development. This program works with women who live around Gunung Palung National Park, teaching them how to cultivate the small plots of land they manage next to their homes.

In 2017, there are already 60 housewives who have become part of the program. Among them are women from the villages of Belerang, Tanjung Gunung, and Pembinaan Kesejahteraan Keluarga.

In October, the ASRI staff was very happy to visit several members of Kebun Keluarga in Tanjung Gunung.

We traveled 15 km from ASRI and were met with rows of greenery inside the black polybags lined up neatly in the front yard of the homes.

The first house we visited was the home of Mrs. Wina, who has been part of the program since 2016. The various kinds of plants in her garden include mustard greens, white turmeric, scallions, and chili. Her family consumes most of the produce grown in garden, while the rest is sold to their neighbors.

Next, we met with Mrs. Kimah and Nurhayati. They sell produce from their garden to the Palung Market four times a month. With the profit they earn, they have increased their overall family income, and are purchasing items like snacks for their children and additional kitchen supplies.

"The money from selling produce from garden can help support us - surely I can help my husband! Women should be able to support themselves and be independent," said Mrs. Kimah when we visited her house.

Another woman we met was Mrs. Nurhayati, who said of the program, "I've gained more experience and knowledge. Now I  know how to manage manure properly and how to care for my crops naturally. "

The program has grown considerably since it began. When the program started, ASRI provided them with seeds for mustard greens, kale, chili and eggplant. Now for other seeds, they go to their friends in the program or buy them using the group's earnings.

Last but not least, ASRI also provides training to the women. So far, many of them have been trained on how to make organic fertilizer, how to take of their gardens, and how to manage their finances.

"I hope that this program will not only teach these women how to manage household gardens, but will also help them manage their household finances." said Fitri Suryani, facilitator of the program.

We hope that through this program, we can help increase household income and so that community members no longer need to turn to logging to support their families.

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About Oka Nurlaila | View all posts by Oka Nurlaila

Oka Nurlaila is ASRI's Communications & Marketing Manager. She is based in Sukadana, West Kalimantan, Indonesia.