The Under-tapped Power of Veggies in Remote Island Communities

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Photo provided by Armawait

Just over the hill from world-class wave Lakey Peak, on the island of Sumbawa, high levels of maternal and infant mortality and malnutrition are pervasive.

Meet Ibu Ani, mother of 8 children. Ani and her kids live in Paradowane village in Parado sub-district, where just last year, more than 1 in 4 children under 5 were underweight from poor nutrition.

Ani was inspired to create her own nutrition garden by a SurfAid-trained community health volunteer, who provided coaching in permaculture techniques including compost making, seed saving, garden design and organic pest control. When Ani decided to start her own nutrition garden the health volunteer shared seeds with her. After Ani learned to manage her own nutrition garden, she learned how to make her garden sustainable by producing her own organic seeds from her harvest – seeds that can be planted the next season or shared with friends.


“I am really grateful to have this little nutrition garden… I don’t need to spend any money on vegetables anymore. We have what we need for our daily consumption. We have tomatoes, bok choy, eggplant and chilies. Saving the seeds has also reduced our food expenditure because buying seeds at the market is expensive. I am happy to be able to feed my children more varieties of nutritious foods to make them healthier.”

With the help of SurfAid supporters, Ani and her family are just 1 of 150 households in Parado that have their own nutrition garden! Alongside gardening and permaculture, community members are also trained in cooking and the importance of nutrition, especially for children and pregnant women.

SurfAid’s tools and training have seen a dramatic reduction in the rate of children under 5 who are underweight, falling from 27% to 20% in the last year. We still have a long way to go, but with your help, we are improving health and nutrition in Sumbawa, one family at a time.