MEDICINE MAN: Gede Robi Supriyanto

By Gede Robi Supriyanto in Bali - musician, farmer and co star of Metro Tv's Viva Barista (

Generations ago, my grandparents would collect what local harvest was growing on their land and offer these fruits and grains to the Gods in the form of penjors, gebogan and banten, the beautifully constructed and woven structures that are made for the temples. With modernization, Bali now has imported fruits like apples from Australia, pears from New Zealand, and Blood Oranges from China to decorate these offering piers, often wrapped in foam or plastic. Bali’s farming culture is dependent on balance and the increase in development and tourism has rocked this balance, like a penjor overladen with imported fruit.

While healthy minded yogis from around the world flock to Bali to find their spiritual ‘home’ and choose to eat organic foods, dehydrated raw grains, and fresh blended green juices –they often forget that eating local is best.

One way to eat really organic in Bali can be by choosing traditional local fruits and vegetables that have not yet been tainted by Monsanto’s genetic mass produced seeds. They will not have certification they don’t need it and they will be sold by the roadside, or a local village warung. Here you can try ferns collected from the riverbanks, pare or bitter gourd, it looks like a bumpy cucumber, pumpkin leaves and flowers served in vegetable and curry dishes and try too bongkot a healing ginger-like root used in many traditional sambal dishes. Bali’s under-exposed super-food, the Moringa tree leaves, can also be found in abundance – so much so, that they are more commonly fed to goats than to Ubud’s health conscious hippies.

Ask questions at your local warung, the medicine cupboard of Bali is found in its food.

All about the rice….

The Balinese day, diet and desire is all about rice, the most important component of any Balinese meal. Back in the so-called Green Revolution Bali became something of a victim to the larger chemical companies that introduced a very intensive rice production system that was dependent on the modified strains of rice and a lot of pesticide. Talks on the future of Bali are often centered on development and infrastructure but the real future of the island lies in the strength of its farmers and their products, for ultimately the health of a nation depends on the health of its farmers.

Recovery from this revolution as been slow but with UNESCO ( the heritage of the Balinese irrigation system, called Subak ( the future of Balinese rice farmers is looking healthier, just like the rice. Beautiful rice fields and terraces carpet much of Bali, but aside from taking photographs there are initiatives undertaken by Balinese communities and farmers that welcome visitors to experience their daily life, and rather than ‘model’ farms are working farms that are providing employment for the area and opportunities through their Eco and Agro-tourism to gain support for education and health programs for their communities.

Side by Side Organic Farm ( near Tirta Ganga,

Sudaji Village ( near Singaraja

The Organic Farm ( near Jati Luwih.

Sari Organic Café – Jalan Raya Tjampuhan, sells a small amount of organic rice (

About the writer: Gede Robi Supriyanto is a Balinese activist, farmer and musician. He is passionate about securing a healthy future for Bali and Indonesia through holistic improvement to education and farming practices. Follow Robi on Twitter

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