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In Conversation with Yoyo Yogasmana, Winner of the First ECO Coin Award

In 2015 we handed our first ECO Coin Award to Age of Wonderland fellow Yoyo Yogasmana for his work in Indonesia to preserve more than 130 existing rice varieties without any use of insecticides and transfer his knowledge to the digital domain. Two years have passed, reason enough to catch up with Yogasmana and discuss the Kasepuhan community, global food networks and winning the ECO Coin Award.

In his acceptance speech on the occasion of the award, Yoyo modestly referred to the Ciptagelar Kasepuhan community by thanking them for their generous contribution to the project. “The community was very pleased to receive the Award” Yoyo says. “This was an important token of appreciation that presented our work to a large audience around the world. Our community performs a far-reaching body of work to conserve nature and culture, and strives to balance and harmonize our relationship with all living creatures”.

It is important to transmit nature, culture and traditions to successive generations

The Kasepuhan community is a traditional Sundanese community that counts around 5.300 people living in the foggy mountains of West Java, Indonesia. Its name comes from the Sundanese word sepuh, which means “old” and refers to a way of living based on ancestral traditions. Such traditions laid the foundation of the local community, whose main subsistence depends on the cultivation of rice.

Ciptagelar village view
The village is 1400m above sea level; it is always surrounded by mist.

In 2015 Yoyo was among the Age of Wonderland fellows, that year they addressed the complex issues ingrained in our global food system together with the local community of Eindhoven. “What we did was introduce our local wisdom and ancestral value to the project” Yoyo explains. “This led our community to live consciously, take care of nature and taught us how to live in togetherness”.

Food is the primary medium through which we express our humanity

Yoyo was invited on behalf of NNN fellow Arne Hendriks, who curated Age of Wonderland 2015: Balancing Green and Fair Food“Food is the primary medium through which we express our humanity. Food production, its distribution and preparation, and its symbolic strength in times of crisis as well as abundance, is the main influence on how we experience and give shape to our culture” Arne elaborates.

Rice plantation. The rice sprout will grow within 4 to 6 weeks, after that period of time, they transfer the sprout to a bigger wet field.

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