Blog, John's Green World, Kul Kul Farm

Permaculture solutions for Bali’s coconut problems

Jaggery by Suzi Mifsud

A permaculture story by Orin Hardy

There are lot of coconut trees in Bali and they’re a very important part of Bali’s culture and life. Coconuts are an incredible food source and they are disappearing because people don’t know how to climb trees any more, or how to manage the trees in increasingly populated areas where the coconuts actually become dangerous to people walking around underneath them.

Flower by Orin Hardy

Coconut flower by Orin Hardy

At Green School, The Kul Kul Farm has been working to find ways to ensure the long term productivity and ongoing management of the existing trees on the campus. Before the school existed the land was used as a coconut plantation, so now we look for ways to keep the trees productive and the school safe. It’s actually even more productive than it used to be as a coconut plantation because we are increasing the yields and we’re producing added value products like coconut sugar.

The high quality sugar we produce is also supporting the development of a small industry in the area. The coconut climbing tool in the video above is a way of bringing appropriate technology to meet the needs of young people in Bali. Kadek, the man in the video, is from the village and is not only helping to maintain the trees, but is also learning how to make good coconut sugar and use new tools.

Cooking coconut sugar by Suzi Mifsud

Cooking by Suzi Mifsud

This is just one of many permaculture solutions we’ve developed at The Kul Kul Farm. The three ethics of permaculture are earth care, people care and fair share. Developing the sugar business ties into those three principles by helping to make sure the Green School land is more productive now than it ever was (earth care) and ensuring a fair income for coconut climbers and providing them with knowledge and skills so they can better at what they do (fair share). People care is about creating good quality product from the ‘Tree of Life’ that is good for your health.

Coconut sugar by The Kul Kul Farm

Our sugar is probably one of the highest quality ones out there- it has no aluminum in it, no formaldehyde, and it’s not cut with other types of sugar.  We have developed better testing of  the nira, or coconut flower nectar, developed better stove quality for the cooking process, created high hygiene standards, and test the sugar PH levels and quality with refractometers.

Kul Kul Farm Coconut Sugar

Each function above supports many elements within the school environment- not only in terms of production but also providing education opportunities for the students and community. Permaculturists believe if you have land you must grow food on it, so our coconut trees can help feed a whole community. As Bali urbanizes it’s really important to start thinking about who feeds us and supporting our farmers. If you have land in Bali, think about keeping your coconut trees alive and pest free– they will thank you for it. Or think about planting coconut hybrids- you can harvest the coconuts at around 2 meters, so in a few years the kids at Green School will be doing the harvest themselves. Not only are hybrids easier to harvest, but they eliminate the safety concerns and are actually more productive! The challenge of dealing with our coconuts has led to a whole new conversation and opportunity. 

If you’d like to learn more about permaculture solutions like these,  join our next Permaculture Design Course. 

Pick up your own jar of The Kul Kul Farm’s delicious coconut sugar at the following places in Bali: Alchemy Ubud, Watercress Ubud and Batu Belig, Kafe Ubud, Ubud Deli,
Casa Luna Cafe and Cooking School, Milk and Madu Canggu, Ulekan Canggu, Malaika Secret Moksha Sanur, Satvika Bhoga Denpasar, Club Sehat Sanur, Earth Cafe Seminyak, Earth Express Seminyak, and Bambu Indah Sayan.