Photo courtesy of Achmad Solikhin and Indonesian Green Action Forum.
Achmad Solikhin works at the nexus of agroforestry, environmental conservation, local food production, and youth and community development in Indonesia. In collaboration with researchers Ayu Oktavia Riwayanti and Amallia Puji Nabila, Solikhin developed the Go Tropical Agroforest Foods project, a finalist in the 2015 Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition YES! Competition.
Go Tropical Agroforest Foods addresses three fundamental issues—degraded land restoration, local food availability and diet diversification, and local and tribal community livelihoods. The project links agricultural professionals with local smallholder farmers to provide education and training in tropical agroforestry land management and food production techniques. This sustainable agriculture method restores soil fertility and enhances native biodiversity while producing tropical fruits, wood, and non-wood products for local consumption and sale.
Go Tropical Agroforest Foods has since merged with the Indonesian Green Action Forum’s (IGAF) Carbon Farming Schools initiative. The initiative educates students and local communities on climate change and hunger issues, as well as promoting agroforestry practices and other ecological solutions. Children are engaged in a range of climate-smart farming activities both in and out of the classroom, from creative art projects to planting trees. IGAF has developed and implemented more than 30 eco-projects, engaging more than 30 universities and 25 schools across Indonesia.
Solikhin believes that merging with IGAF will ensure the long-term sustainability of the Go Tropical Agroforest Foods project. “By embedding the core values and understanding [of the project] into education for local farmers’ children or students, they learn the importance of food and agriculture for a better future,” he says. “Youth can devote their understanding and passion to several beneficial actions, such as entrepreneurship, research, diplomacy, and so forth. These actions are central to achieving a sustainable food system.”