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Reforestation Field School: A space for inspiration and sharing to build Young People who care more about the Earth


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Nursery activities by Reforestation Field School. (Yayasan Tanah Air Semesta)

When I went to the Reforestation Field School, I immediately knew this school was the school I had always wanted to attend. I wanted to go to a school where I could be outdoors; I wanted to study directly in the field and get practical experience, not just read books and theoretical materials in the classroom.At the reforestation field school, we study the material, then immediately put it into practice in the field. I find that really stimulating”. Adam|Student of Sekolah Lapang Reforestasi Jurusan Budi Daya Kopi

That is one of the happy expressions of one of the Reforestation Field School Students, on his graduation day. Adam very proud to be a student of the Reforestation Field School and urge other young people to participate in field schools like this one, so they can be part of a new, modern generation that proudly takes care of its own lands. Adam hopes that in the future field schools will grow beyond the grassroots level, and spring up all over Indonesia.

Adam is one of the offspring from a coffee farmer, a member of The Classic Beans Cooperative comprises more than 3,000 coffee farmers from West Java, who are also members of the Sunda Hejo Farmers Association. Founded in 2009, this cooperative brings coffee farmers and producers together, so they can gain a share of the European export market. Today, the Classic Beans Cooperative regularly produces coffee for export to Europe and the United States.

Many coffee farmers who are members of this cooperative feel that coffee farming is a promising source of income. Over the years, these coffee farmers have worked hard and are committed to producing high quality coffee beans to meet export demands. This coffee farmer also only picks the red coffee beans, and has become a major supplier to a large coffee retailer that operates not only at the national level but even internationally. This promising income makes the coffee farmers hope that their children can be the successors of their coffee business.

Following on from this farmer's ambition, the Tanah Air Semesta Foundation (part of the Sunda Hejo Cooperative) established the Reforestation Field School. The establishment of a reforestation field school under the auspices of the Tanah Air Semesta Foundation is a collaborative effort, geared towards helping the children of coffee farmers to become more knowledgeable and prevent the urbanisation of the younger generation, many of whom are lost to cities and leave agriculture behind.

“According to data from a survey conducted by Papandayan University in collaboration with Paguyuban Sunda Hejo, farmers still working today have an average age of more than 50 years. That is also part of the reason we formed the Reforestation Field School”. Said Eka Yudagarmana, Head principal, Sekolah Lapang Reforestasi.

Planting trees, planting goodness, restoring Earth

The Tanah Air Semesta Foundation runs a variety of activities that focus on conservation and education. In 2020, we established a reforestation field school, to provide learning facilities for young people who are the descendants of farmers in forest areas. The purpose of this field school is to facilitate knowledge sharing through local cadres, thereby forming a bulwark against the urbanisation of the agricultural sector.

“In the beginning, the Reforestation Field School was set up for the purpose of replenishing sustainable forests. But, after seeing the talents and budding aspirations of the field school students, the Field School for Reforestation diversified its syllabus to include majors in coffee cultivation, barista training and various other traditional arts that complemented the original reforestation major programme”. Said Ani Hanifah, Head of Yayasan Tanah Air Semesta.

From this Reforestation Field School, the young people of the next generation of coffee farmers are taught that the Earth is not only a provider of natural resources, but they also taught to protect the mother earth and its sustainability. Planting trees not only planting goodness but also restoring the earth for our next generation.

The Samdhana Institute under the CLUA-Grants project in 2020, has supported the Tanah Air Semesta Foundation for the establishment of the Field School for Reforestation and Social Forestry, congratulates all the students graduating from the Reforestation Field School. After attending classes for around a year, it’s time for the students to graduate. The inaugural graduation ceremony was held at the Reforestation Field School on 29 August 2021. The first graduating class of the Reforestation Field School comprised a total of 60 students, 58% of whom were male and 42% were female. All were descendants of coffee farmers.

“I prefer to take classes in reforestation, because for those of us majoring in this, we get to go out into the mountains to practice. I never used to go into the mountains, but now I go there all the time to plant trees. Reforestation is a way of regreening, whereby we learn to do the little things, such as repairing the damage done to forests by landslides or illegal logging”. Said Sri Utari, a student majoring Reforestation.

Hendah, as one of the children companian as well as the Chair of the Griya Bukit Jaya KTH, expressed hope for the children of the reforestation field school to go to the mountains and check the endemic trees that have been planted, because there are some farmers there who cut down the trees that have been planted by the children of the Reforestation Field School. She repeatedly gave advise to the children, no to oversee the mountains as a place to make a living only, but also as a place that requires protection.

At this school, the children of coffee farmers can support their parents, while also developing their own business interests. These children bring insights home to their parents, who are coffee farmers, about how to grow good coffee.

The Reforestation Field School is not just a nursery for local cadres, facilitating knowledge sharing and helping to prevent urbanisation in the agricultural sector; it also fosters a younger generation who are more concerned about the Earth.


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