What is 5 eyes farm?
“5 eyes” (translated mata lima) is the name for an ancient planting pattern used in Indonesia. The name has agricultural meaning and we have adopted it for our project.
The 5 Eyes Farm has started from a blank canvas in January 2017. Half a hectare of beautiful soil with a river running across the top of the property and irrigating the whole property as needed. About half of it used to be rice paddy’s and more recently they have grown sweet potatoes there. We are hoping to use some of our Melbourne 5eyes garden experiments and implement them in similar ways on 5 Eyes Farm.
Our main purpose is to create a large scale aquaponics model to use for training purposes so communities can learn the system. We would love to help create small systems in local communities everywhere to help with food security and teach people how to grow super healthy food 100% organic and very fast.
We are looking for partners, investors, more workers and interested parties to expand our vision. If you know someone or would like to find out more please contact us.
We have a mens team working on the aquaponics set up, making the tanks and beds, doing the roofing and building the infrastructure. There is a womens team of workers growing organics on the spare land – growing organic produce in the ground.
In our aim for integrated farming, we will also breed quails and chickens up for eggs as well as growing some exotic and wonderful foods like coffee, chocolate and pepper, keep making compost and natural pesticides from plants and grow food to feed the animals and to sell. We hope to start an organic restaurant and grocery store in Bogor where people can eat fresh cooked organic food or buy their own organic produce to take with them.
See our setup progress here
Vision: To produce high quality organic food using aquaponics and other integrated systems to enhance local farming practices, offer practical education and empower communities.
Mission: To develop 5 Eyes Farm as a show case for training & education, enterprise, empowerment and development through partnerships and the use of innovative growing techniques.
Values: Shared learning – Empowerment through inclusion – Integrated systems – pioneering spirit
Focus: Aquaponics and other integrated organic production systems
5 Eyes Farm (Kebun Mata Lima) is an ambitious project for us. We have found land in west Java in a small village 16KM South West of Bogor. It is perfect for farming at about 375 meters above sea level, very stable temperatures, volcanic soil and abundant water. The systems we are creating require a lot of initial infrastructure but once they are in place they need much less ongoing maintenance than traditional farming.
Aquaponics: Imagine growing super healthy organic fruits and vegetables 3-6 times faster than traditional methods without the need for compost, fertilisers, tilling soil or weeding. In fact, without using the soil at all and with only 10% the amount of water used in normal farming. This method is called Aquaponics and is relatively new, especially in South East Asia where we are establishing our first prototype on a medium to large scale.
Our project also focuses on “integration” as a guiding approach.
Integration is about how systems, people and communities work together for one ultimate purpose with each part helping each other part.
Integrated farming is an holistic model that seeks to incorporate the main elements of organic farming with all the related environmental, social and economic considerations in place. This is widely used throughout Europe.
People as partner integration:
Most models operate on an owner employing workers to create a profit. The workers are often not invested and not considered as partners of the the vision or project and usually do not have the resources to establish their own version of the project with the skills they learn. Owners keep a monopoly on the market and often exploit workers.
With people as partner integration, people and communities invest their paid labour to make the project work and while working they can learn to establish organic systems for themselves through knowledge sharing and incentives. Among the skills they learn is the ability to establish their own versions of the model on small budgets. Valuing people equally and creating opportunities for practical education, sharing local knowledge, gender equality and empowering specialist skills is part of the people integration cycle.
Integrating people as partners is vital for the growth and shaping of our projects. One person can be a leader but needs to be a worker to model the leadership and can also be a designer for example depending on their skills. Another person might be gifted at marketing but they also work with planning and development because these areas are inseparable. And apart from individual skills, integration also means ‘respect for the other’ regardless of gender, religion, class status or cultural back ground.
Integrating women into the workforce and giving women responsibilities, opportunities and equal status is an important social integration and an important focus of our vision
Our farming system integration:
Integration also means ‘to unite and combine’. This is where different strengths or abilities work together to create better outcomes. It can also be where someone or something has a main purpose but also has a second or third purpose. For example, chickens lay eggs but can also be used for food, for breeding and for improving the soil (chicken tractors). So the chicken has various integrated functions depending on how we focus them.
The main integrated farming system we are using is called ‘aquaponics‘.
We will also use other examples of integration including:
- The use of recycled materials (innovative re use and cost savings)
- Companion planting by growing plants together that compliment each other
- Choosing animals that compliment the systems we are establishing for organic food production
- Worm farming to both recycle organic wastes and create fertilisers (for non aquaponics growing) and produce worms (for adding to existing aquaponics systems
- Planting trees that are used for natural pesticide but also create mulch, can be used to make soap, facial products
- Borrowing some of the integration principles from permaculture and bio dynamic farming.
The productivity of aquaponics is 3-4 times higher than growing in the ground. Plants can be closer together and grow faster and with more health, taste and vigour.
If a house hold has a small scale system they can produce all their green vegetables easily. This is cost effective and once the system is established production takes care of itself. If local farmers learn how to build and manage a system it will be a revolution in agriculture, food security and healthy produce.