At the beginning of the month I have had the opportunity to visit Bali and participated in the Green School’s annual Sustainable Solutions Festival.
Prior my visit I have already heard so many good things about Bali – the amazing architecture, friendly people, tasty food and the beautiful nature – and was really looking forward to the visit.
Together with one of our CSA member and friend Emily (who is an education expert) we spent a short but inspiring 3 days in Bali near Ubud.
The Green School
This eco-festival was organized by the Green School. For those who has not heard about the Green School – it’s a G12 private, international school situated in the middle of Bali. It’s classrooms has no walls and is built entirely out of bamboo (these are some of the most stunning architecture I have ever seen), and their curriculum emphasizing on sustainability, environment, community-integration, entrepreneurial learning are also very much practical project-based and student-led.
Inside the school there were organic food gardens, chicken roaming, and composting toilets. We saw some of the very cool student-led projects such as a beautiful bamboo bridge across the Ayung River linking the main campus with the student village. It is a very interesting school and I strongly advise you to visit them if you would like to find out more.
Connect. Respect. Protect.
These are the main themes of the Sustainable Solution Festival in Bali this year. As the name of the festival suggested, it’s a gathering of solution-makers from different backgrounds together to connect, inspire, educate and empower the community to live more sustainable through a series of events such as talks, panel discussions, documentaries screenings, performances, hands-on workshops, art and music etc. The festival also focuses a lot on Indigenous wisdom and indigenous knowledge.
We attended a number of talks and documentary screenings and participated in a few of the workshops. Some of them are quite memorable: we made traditional Balinese herbal scrubs; learnt about the disappearing Leuser Ecosystem on the Sumatra Island, where elephant, rhinoceros, tiger and orangutan are being threatened by a dam project and the palm oil industry; We heard about Agroforestry, and how an organization called reNature is aiming to regenerate 1 million ha of land by 2030 through a system that’s inspired by traditional indigenous knowledge.
We learnt about vegan leather developed from mushroom-waste, took zero-waste quiz, saw kids making their own recycled paper with a bike blender. Talking and making friends with other fellow festival attendees. We also watched performances by young school children with goose bumps.
It was an inspiring experience, being at the festival inside the green school and in Ubud.
I noticed how little plastic I saw the whole time. Banana and palm leaves are used to make food/snack holders in abundant, our receptionist’s breakfast rice bought from the local market was wrapping in leaves too. We heard that the island is going to ban single use plastic entirely starting from June. This is something we definitely want to see in Myanmar too.
The Kul Kul Farm and more
One place I should not forget to mention is the Kul Kul Farm. The farm is a 2 minutes walk from the Green School so one afternoon Emily and I sneaked out of the festival and went exploring the farm on our own. It was such a great farm even when nothing was going on that afternoon.
The beds are full and green with lots of flowers, germination looked 100% (much to my jealousy as in our own farm it’s been affected by the heat and doesn’t look half as good… ), tool sheds, seed bank and compost piles all are very organized, beautiful bamboo structure all around for different uses and some ladies were setting up the table for a private farm-to-table dinner at the time of our visit.
Apart from growing vegetables, the farm also offers Permaculture courses and bamboo building design courses. It is also very closely linked with the Green School and collaborates with many of the students’ projects too.
Kul Kul Farm is a great example for us to see how a great organic farm could be like.
The rest of my trip outside the festival and the Green School was also fun-filled and inspiring. We visited a few vegan/raw/farm-to-table restaurants and they are all very, very good. We visited the colourful local (but a bit touristy) local market and were thrilled to visit a local farmers market on Saturday morning. I enjoyed driving the motorbike through Balinese countryside, sometimes on lanes that are only about 2 feet wide. I also enjoyed observing the traditional Balinese architecture, admiring their superb craftsmanship of wood craving and stone craving which you see on every corner in Ubud. Everything there is smaller but beautiful.
Bali is like a magnet that pulls a lot of good energy into one place, I left feeling very inspired and recharged. I think I will go back again in the future. :)