Sustainability, farming and forest protection in North Sumatra

We're working with women, farmers and villagers to save the Leuser Ecosystem. We’re proud to have supported the Sustainable Green Sumatra Foundation in North Sumatra since its beginnings at the end 2019. This small foundation is delivering a large impact for a number of communities, farmers and women living on the edge of the Gunung Leuser National Park. Their key aim is to reduce human-wildlife conflict by enhancing agroforestry, which improves productivity on existing farms. The foundation and its many projects are an excellent demonstration that actions that benefit wildlife and the forest are also very good for the people. 

Organic farming practices provide multiple income sources

Through their community work, the foundation aims to discourage and halt new forest clearings, develop alternative sources of income in the villages, and engage the local communities with forest restoration. One of their main objectives is to increase the income of 200 villagers and rehabilitate ten hectares of agricultural land by implementing sustainable organic farming in three villages. They’re developing a growing pattern of organic farming practices that keep farmers on their land and provide multiple income sources, including for local women. The team estimates that community income has increased by 10% as a result of the various initiatives, with the community very grateful for this support.

One simple but effective effort is to educate and support villagers to create and use organic fertilisers, with the aim of reducing chemical fertilisers by up to 20%. This not only improves soil health and reduces organic waste, but it also increases productivity of community agricultural land. Another project they’re focusing on is environmentally friendly businesses that provide work and income for locals, including women. One of these is an exciting new initiative training women and other villagers in how to make chocolate bars from cocoa and palm sugar, sourcing these raw products from trees planted on community land. 

Another initiative is working with women to create natural remedies, which are created from products in the forest, packaged up locally, before being sold in markets and cities. They’ve also created a demonstration plot with 15 types of spices and medicinal plants and have produced a number of different medicines. In addition, the team has also supported 173 housewives to use their yards to grow vegetables, generating even more income for families and the whole community. 

In the photos below you can see household gardens, women applying organic fertiliser to their farms, and women sourcing and creating natural medicines from their farms and nearby forest.

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