Sticking ‘Wise Food’ in People’s Minds and Becoming a Lifestyle

By February 16, 2022 No Comments

Inviting people to make wise choices on their food, both for consumption and production is not an easy thing. Although many things must be immediately improved in our food system, but it seems that getting used to the term ‘wise food’ can still be a long journey.

Consumers’ demand can drive what will be produced by food producers. More promotion is needed – more massive and consistent one, to build perspective and to encourage real actions in society.  In this case, the role of the media is very important in helping public awareness about sustainable food systems through the Pangan Bijak Nusantara movement.

The word ‘wise’ summarizes four important principles of a good food system, namely local, healthy, fair and sustainable. Practices and products of wise foodways system can be found in many places in the archipelago, and this needs to be highlighted to the public.

There many community food products that are considered to adequately represent the four principles, for example virgin coconut oil produced by community in Nias island, forest honey produced from West Kalimantan, coffee from Toraja/Enrekang in South Sulawesi, Adan Krayan rice from North Kalimantan, coarse salt from Central Java, sagoo from Sungai Tohor in Riau, and palm sugar from Southeast Sulawesi

Awareness is Growing

Thanks to the role and involvement of the media, public awareness on the current unsustainable food system has been growing and strengthened. Many stories have been raised from the figures and groups of community producers and indigenous peoples who have long practiced wise food patterns as a tradition or food system at the local level.

Various initiatives at the community level emerged as a partial response to the concept of  sustainable food systems, such as organic and permaculture, urban farming,  community gardens, community markets, local food tourism, and also now more choices on local food products available.

Media alignment on the principle of wise foodways (i.e. local, healthy, fair and sustainable) and the transformation to better food system (which is ethical and sustainable) shown by inclusion of those pointers in their news agenda related to national food system, policies and food systems in general will largely contribute to stick wise foodways on top-of-mind in society and further encourage sustainable lifestyle.

Media Visit to VCO Producers in Nias

In November 2021 several national media offices were invited to visit Nias island in North Sumatra to take a close look at the VCO production process carried out by the local communities, facilitated and assisted by ASPPUK (Small Business Women’s Association), consortium member of Wise Foodways project. The visit covered three places, namely Gunungsitoli City, Tugala Oyo and Hinako Island.

Getting ready – boat trip to Hinako island
Photo: (c) Hartaty/ASPPUK

Nias Island surrounded by the Indian Ocean is a coastal area, so it is very common that the vegetation is dominated by coconut plants, being the main source VCO production which has now become one of the livelihoods of local people.

Berliana Purba at Pesada Nias
Photo: (c) Hartaty/ASPPUK

Media people met several important figures from local NGO, local customary figures and most importantly women groups in villages. Berliana Purba from Pesada, local NGO part of ASPPUK working groups in Nias, accompanied the visit in all three places and set out the context for media.

In Gunungsitoli, the media met husband and wife Eliakim Telaumbanua and Murni Telaumbanua who have experienced many health benefits from regularly consuming VCO. However they are not only regular consumers, they are important local customary figures. They actively support Pesada works from the beginning in strengthening Nias women and the development of VCO as a source of household economy.

Elisabeth Diana Supit at consortium of Local Harvest presented ‘Pangan Bijak’ goodie bag to Telaumbanuas
Photo: (c) Hartaty/ASPPUK

In Hinako and Tugala Oyo, the media were invited to witness firsthand the process of VCO home production by women in the village, interviewed house-wives on the benefit of side income from VCO, and to see women group mentoring on household economic management. With credit union ASPPUK local network helps local women to have the capital to start building their VCO business production.

Credit union is a community financial cooperative offering saving and business loan. To access the services, women are trained and assisted on financial literacy including routine saving, investment and foundational knowledge to better run and grow their own local business.

Learning to produce VCO while doing domestic activities (drying harvested cloves)
Photo: (c) Hartaty/ASPPUK

Media visit to Nias VCO production aimed at showing to public that wise food plays an important role in producers’ welfare, strengthening local economy, individual health and environmental sustainability. Similar efforts like Nias VCO need to be replicated and highlighted massively all over the archipelago to finally become a great power to transform the national and global food systems.:

Media posts in Bahasa: Bertahan Hidup dari Buah Kelapa Seharga Seribu Rupiah
Lewat VCO, perempuan di Nias mulai berdaya
Penggiat harapkan pemerintah dorong penguatan VCO di Nias
Memetik Manfaat dari Minyak Kelapa Murni
Perempuan desa terluar Hinako mulai bangkit berdaya dengan VCO
Cerita Perempuan Berdaya di Nias dengan Produksi Minyak Kelapa Murni
Ekonomi Perempuan Desa Terluar Hinako Mulai Bangkit Dari Hasil Olahan VCO

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