Essai Ini Tak Berjudul…

Essai ini merupakan tulisan hasil pemikiran dari seorang mahasiswa yang berpikir kedepan tentang “bagaimana merubah mindset dari suatu masyarakat tentang diversifikasi pangan, yaitu dengan kepopuleran media sosial”. penulis ini adalah mantan Direktur Eksekutif CADS (Center for Agriculture Development Studies) pada tahun 2013. Selamat Membaca guys :D


Ali Akbar Hakim

What we face today as a human race for the future is food. All that we know about food is grains. We have mindset in our deepest mind that we have to eat, and what we eat is always from grains like rice, corn, or wheat. In Indonesia, there are so many sources of food besides grains. Just like sweet potato, sago, banana, sukun, etc. All those kinds of food sources are the answer of what we really are facing today. The problem is we don’t see any potential source of food besides grains. I mean the public or the government have little attention for any other sources. In this essay, I elaborate most tropical country like Indonesia can offer on how to feed the hungry world based on the local eating-culture for the world. But, the offers are not sufficient to answer the problems. Then here I also elaborate some action we can do without forgetting the power of social media.
Factors of Food Insecurity
To the points, factor which may affect food insecurity, especially in Indonesia is the culture. I wrote that because, in Java there is some popular statement which is said like this, “If we do not eat rice, then we haven’t eat yet. For anything what we eat before beside rice is only considered as snacks”. So, when Javanese eating French fries, burgers, buns, they only consider those foods as snacks. They reason that their stomach can’t full just only eating that, to fulfill the stomach they have to eat rice! Really weird but it happens in Indonesia especially in Java and this is really popular among students from playgroup to college for your information.
How this could be happened I still don’t know yet! But all I know is to change the mindset of the people about what they eat. Indonesian is society which is just like a follower to trends. I said this not because I don’t love my country but this is the fact! When there so many fast food restaurants like KFC, McDonalds, etc opened around 90’s where the food served by them popular with fried chicken plus rice. The public perception about it was “Good and prestigious food are made by those restaurants”. Another example for this weird was trends about pastry. In Indonesia around 2010 the pastry industry has rapid growth around big cities; there are BreadTalk, Bread Story, Talking Bread, etc. With those weird name with almost of them served the same kinds of buns with little modification of each, but them still popular among students and public! They (public and the students especially)
always make use of their break times to eat at those pastry then shot their camera to their food to show off to another friends. But they still have to eat rice three times a day with super high volume (Indonesian eat rice with the highest consumption among the ASEAN!). What a diabetes potential.
Public mindset about food correctly wrong! They hate to eat sweet potato as the food just for poor people in Indonesia. They hate to eat sago, cassava, sukun, anything beside rice and wheat. This is irony when people in the west appreciating food like cassava and sweet potato, proved by the highest price tagged to those food sources. Even Oprah really loves sweet potato!
The culture of eating in Indonesia shifted from local-based food which is the best ever food sources to rice oriented food. The dependence to this one single food source is a risky point to food insecurity. Indonesia, for a time can’t achieve self sufficiency in rice production because of the infrastructure haven’t finished yet, also education to peasants—not farmers—are very lack. Young people are now interested to urban life with its glamorous lifestyle than have to be a farmer far away from modern lifestyle. This also the main problem why in recent years there is so little innovation in agriculture.
The Global Connection
The effects of cultural problems simply like a domino. When the culture lacks of improvement for the challenging answer of what people facing, then it will destructs economic-political situation. Fears of the condition here have been expressed by public figures, teachers, activists, critical students, religionist, and so on. The root bases of this problem should be eradicated from the youngest to the older.
The world has millions of scientist from many fields, we also knew about the warning several decades before. Now a day, we have so many movements from around the world, declaring “Go Green” activities and poverty alleviation. All that we know so far are those movements do not attach key point about movement itself. What we call about the key point of movement is “word”. Everything firstly began with word(s). Anything that we can feel, hear, know, understand, anything that we knew only and only can be expressed by word(s).
When we intend to have a great movement such the movement from industrial based life to environmentally friendly life with equal distribution of welfare and enough food for all, all we need is attaching the major root which may affect all those movements from any single little parts of it to the major parts of the movement. That is word. And eventually, when we concern about word, then we also concern about culture. Human civilizations are created by their own culture, their own knowledge. And those are expressed by their own language, then their own words.
History has been proved the power of words to national movements. I here can say that Indonesia’s independency was the results of words awareness of the youth. The independency which Indonesian gathered is a manifest of spirit to learn more and more then it accumulates into national awareness. The youth learnt from vernacular newspaper which was brought to the Hindia by the Dutch colonialization. They (the youth) didn’t only learn about ideas which were popular in Europe at that time, but also they served as editor, and any other parts of newspaper-making, just like an internship before the youth gained momentum to aware. The momentum to aware about nation also gained by open education to local youth gave by the Dutch government. The youth were now really can access Europe’s books, anything popular in Europe. Lifestyle which was brought by the Dutch also affected the local youth. Those lifestyle are hang out in café, discussing about ideas to people there which were conglomerate, politician, student, etc. So with those accesses, education, and lifestyle, the local youth fell about their own identity was in shade. That what we call later as nation-awareness.
Words to education, then education to lifestyle (culture) are the key of Indonesian self-awareness about their own nationality, independency. Those examples are great study case that we can learn and mimic to gain youth awareness about how to feed the hungry world in the future.
The next problem is how we can ignite those kinds of momentums? Firstly, we need to mimic the concept about national youth movement. All we need to prepare are accessibility and persuasion or maybe we called spirit summoning. We need to prepare accessibility to any cultural resources. You may ask why in this millennium we still have to give accessibility to public, because in this millennium almost people have access to internet? I mean here is not that kind of accessibility, but accessibility to resources. What kind of resources? It is resources that potentially igniting the youth about food concern. We can ignite their spirit to
concern about food problem by attaching their mind about what popular now. Example, this is an era for Instagram, a social media which every users of it can share their own photos simply from their smartphone with quickly cool photo’s effects. Why we don’t use that technology to attract youth. We can share cool farm photos just like one of Intagrammers used to do like @farmert (Tucker Taylor) who is sharing his own farm activities with cool object photos.
In Indonesia, effects of social media like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are really great. Once the public share something about what popular such as K-POP etc then the public in some areas (usually in metropolitan like Jakarta, Bandung, and Surabaya) can accumulate into K-POP communities or anything about Korea’s bands! The interval of times they need to create the community really fast, thanks for the help of social media. One great thing about Indonesian youth is their willing to not eat rather than they have to lose access to social media. Really weird but it’s a great momentum too. Community’s concern about this firstly created by Ridwan Kamil, an architect alumnus of Bandung Institute of Technology. He created the community called Indonesia Berkebun (Indonesian Farming) in Jakarta as a solution of his fidgety where so many useless land in metropolitan whom public do not open its potential for farming. He successfully created the community and now the community has spread in the entire country from west to east far. And again thanks to the social media, especially Twitter and Google+.
The movement community like Indonesia Berkebun created by Ridwan Kamil is not sufficient against poverty and food problems. But, it may promote a new lifestyle of “Back to garden” as they only do the activities for hobbies orientation. The action created by Ridwan Kamil interesting for the youth, they now creating farm in cities that we know as urban farming. He created lifestyle of new farming model, in the city, by youth, and the activities intended to replace existing lifestyle where many Indonesian youth always spend their weekend in malls. It is brilliant!
Ridwan Kamil ideas and his actions have positive impacts for Indonesia. But we can still focusing the movement to the real problems, feeding the world. We need to collaborate each other from any parts of the world to learn more and creatively solve problems we are facing together. In one goal where we can share for the entire world inhabitant. Creating a better education of food, from the youngest or even from the playgroup stage to college students. We need to let the public contribute to the actions, from public to public. Spreading
new mindset about food. Telling them that eating sweet potato is not a bad thing. Of course not directly telling them. But how we—the international youth who care about the future of the world—package the goal into something interesting for the public. Creating festivals each period to create basic steps of restoring culture. Where the festival is a harvest moon from the school students who are planting their own vegetable, public’s own orchards, or maybe a farmer market too can be included. A festival where together we can sharing happiness in cultivating foods—local foods like cassava, sweet potato—then making it as a perfect food which can be enjoyed by many people. And also a festival which is including an education of food diversification based on local wisdoms. A festival collaborated by each elements of the society even the international citizens as this is our togetherness.

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