Entering Bumi Langit: ‘In designing permaculture, it is important to create a long-term strategy as we are dealing with space and time,’ Iskandar says. From atop the Bumi Langit organic farm, Iskandar Waworuntu said that the best way to remain independent was to be a farmer.
‘Here we underpin the need for a balance in the human-nature relationship through permaculture,’ says the half Indonesian-English founder.
Located in Imogiri, Yogyakarta, the farm is just a short distance from the royal cemetery. While Iskandar named it Bumi Langit (earth and sky), the locals are more familiar with its Javanese name, Songgo Langit (sky pole).
The farm is divided into five areas. At the very top, Iskandar and his wife have an organic restaurant called Warung Bumi Langit, while below he has built eco-friendly houses. Underneath, he has an organic plantation spread out along with a water filter system, biogas system, solar panel, animal farm and a bamboo house for visitors to stay.
Iskandar was introduced to different cultures from an early age – his mother was English and his father was Indonesian; yet after years of soul-searching, he surrendered himself to the guidance of nature and settled down in Java where he dedicated himself to Islam.
His farm follows a permaculture model (permanent agriculture) – a science developed in the 1970s by Bill Mollison in Australia in which systems are designed that mimic the patterns of nature – enabling communities to live sustainably, while at the same time preserving natural ecosystems.
‘In designing permaculture, it is important to create a long-term strategy as we are dealing with space and time,’ since he established the farm in 2003, his 15-year plan is to incorporate hundreds of plants to create a forest ecosystem so as to create a self-sustained food supply.
Iskandar says Bumi Langit also employs locals and distributes their harvest to local markets. The institute is a foundation he established to promote Islamic etiquette, also known as adab, which focuses on good manners and humanity. Not long ago, it held the International Conference Toward Environmental Islamic Village, during which volunteers and experts from Europe, Africa and Asia were welcomed.
‘Imagine being able to pick what you want to eat from your own yard, that is freedom,’ Iskandar says everyday he harvests different types of vegetables and fruits for Warung Bumi Langit as well as for his daily needs.
This unpolluted air and zero-waste neighborhood is surely not an overnight sensation. Even it was difficult in the early years, Iskandar remarked the heard-earned rewards gave him sufficient success. Pak Iskandar and his family are certainly worried about the Earth’s future, but they are one of the few families that have actually dedicated their lives to doing something about it.
Sustainable living could be the answer. For Pak Iskandar this is also a spiritual journey – to help restore sunnatullah – a sustainable, balanced lifestyle in accordance with natural laws. There was something magical about Bumi Langit which means Sky Earth – it is a place where even the clouds have roots.
How to get there: Address: Jalan Imogiri-Mangunan km 3, Desa Giriloyo, Wukirsari, Imogiri, Bantul.
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