Earth Day is one of the many global celebrations Jakarta Intercultural School (JIS) highlights each year as an engaging service-learning opportunity for students to strengthen their environmental stewardship.
This year, members of the JIS High School YUM Farm Project combined their passion for promoting sustainability and their multimedia skills to create a documentary project in support of organic farming communities.
The YUM Farm Project was started by four passionate JIS high school students, Sheina, Minjeong, Irene and Chloe, at the start of 2021. They bonded through their interest of spreading ethical farming practices and supporting those affected by the pandemic, as well as the ultimate goal of creating a more sustainable planet by finding alternative farming and consumption methods to enhance diets. So, they decided to work with Yayasan Usaha Mulia (YUM) by selling their vegetables.
For Earth Day, April 22, they were inspired to create a four-episode documentary series and sell fresh cooking boxes from YUM Organic Farm, the social impact arm of YUM aimed at raising awareness about various social issues, including sustainable farming, stunting and elderly well-being.
The series follows celebrity chef Max Mandias, the cofounder of popular plant-based restaurant Burgreens and its sister company Green Rebel Foods, YUM executive director Vanessa Reksodipoetro and YUM head farmer Oleh as they discuss sustainable practices, cooking, business and farming techniques.
In the first episode, the club members interviewed talented celebrity chef Max, who has made it his mission to spread the knowledge of sustainable eating practices around Indonesia. They got an insight into his background before cooking, what inspired him to start, the challenges he faced along the way, the importance of eating sustainably, his partnership with YUM Organic Farm and much more. Max also provided some noteworthy advice for those interested in taking that step to eating more sustainably to help ease their transition.
“For me, sustainable eating is a way of eating like our grandfather, our grandmother, our ancestors, which means mostly plants. [But] it’s modernized,” he said.
In the club’s episode with Vanessa, she introduced YUM and shared the experiences and challenges the organization has faced throughout the years, especially during the pandemic. She also highlighted the importance of sustainability through businesses, farming and investing in our planet.
“Investing in our planet means investing in our own future. I feel it’s unreasonable and unkind for future generations if we don’t invest in our planet because they will be paying the price — they are already paying the price,” Vanessa said. “It’s how you can save sustainable agriculture, how you can have less plastic; it’s the little things you do. It’s also about buying organic, buying local.”
The third episode of YUM Farm Project’s documentary series featured pak Oleh, who explained different farming techniques and factors that may affect farming. He also shared his experience working with YUM Organic Farm and how it has personally helped him.
“We [YUM Organic Farm] work together with local communities, and I find joy in teaching local farmers and teenagers who want to learn about farming,” said pak Oleh. “I enjoy working with YUM because it has very good values — it’s not just a business.”
For their fourth and final episode, titled “Let’s Get Cooking,” they wanted to create something that would educate and entertain the viewers but also help them start their sustainable-eating journey. So, they asked Max and Vanessa to make a fun, easy-to-follow cooking tutorial on how to make delicious, healthy meals and also allows the audience to learn about organic and sustainable farming. Then, with the help of YUM and Green Rebel Foods, the club was able to put together and offer accompanying Cooking Boxes containing organic vegetables and plant-based meats to be used in conjunction with the tutorial.
One Cooking Box cost Rp 250,000 (US$17) and had enough ingredients for four Rebel Tacos and four glasses of green smoothies. They were sold on the JIS campus during Earth Day, as well as on YUM’s official website. All the proceeds went directly to the farmers at YUM Farm and Burgreens to help support their mission.
It is the club member’s hope that this project can continue to inspire others to practice sustainable eating and farming habits and encourage them to support local businesses so we can save the Earth — one meal at a time.