In our ignorance we gardeners have taken ourselves rather seriously. We thought it our job to feed our plants, and to protect them from their predators and as a result – unaware of the elegance of the web of life destroyed the soil ecosystem with toxic chemicals.
We thought we could improve on Nature and create order out of chaos. But Nature is already ordered and perfect, and plants already know how to take care of themselves.
In ignorance – and some say arrogance – the human species has devastated the planet’s natural vegetation and soils – its life support systems – to the point of possible self-destruction.
It is even more humbling to realize that on our own we are powerless to repair what we have destroyed.
It is not our task on this planet to capture carbon and nitrogen from the air, and gather the minerals from the soil and turn them into organic form. That is the domain of the plants and the soil-based web of life.
At best we can support them, to help them do their jobs as efficiently as possible.
What is 5 eyes farm?
“5 eyes” (translated mata lima) is an ancient Indonesian name for a planting pattern used for big farm plantings. Our goal is to produce integrated organic food and to create a model that can be reproduced on a smaller scale to help local communities with food security, easy growing of excellent quality and abundance at their door, on the terrace or in any spare space. Imagine 1000 villages and urban households having chemical free fantastic vegetables and fish to eat year round at low cost and with little maintenance.
We are here… Kampung Situ Uncal, 16 KM from Bogor, West Java. We also have a place in Melbourne where we design and create unique aquaponic setups for households.
Our first project – fixing the road!
Our current projects – building the aquaponics setup – the seed house and compost area
A blank canvas
When we started 5 Eyes Farm it was a blank canvas. Half a hectare of beautiful soil with a river running across the top of the property and irrigating the whole thing as needed. About half of it used to be rice paddy’s and more recently they have grown sweet potatoes there. We are expanding on some of our Melbourne experiments and implementing them in similar ways on 5 Eyes Farm – large scale. We need to adjust to different fish species, different bees, many different plants but we can operate the same systems – aquaponics – chickens for free range eggs as well as growing some exotic and wonderful foods like coffee, chocolate and pepper.
This is a big mission and we have already built one of the biggest aquaponics infrastructures in Asia. We invite you to come with us on a journey as we try to learn to make a new kind of farm through trial and error and from the wisdom of many others who have been there before us. We anticipate mayhem, successes, adventures and disappointments but we have a good idea how we want the whole thing to start taking shape and which direction to head in.
Jonathan was a kid when he started tinkering around in the garden…it was in Africa and he was in the garden with John Boy, the Zulu gardener who worked for the family. John Boy lived on the property with the others and Jonathan used to spend time with him… that was the first experience of having his little 5 year old hands in the earth, planting and weeding. Later, in Sydney as a teenager Jonathan would help his mother in her garden and learned some skills in organic fertilising and plant care.
As an adult, in Asia Jonathan worked with permaculturalists and bio-dynamic gardeners and practiced lots of different gardening experiments. Planting and growing rice, veggies, composting, worm farming, layer gardening, hanging gardens… these where all good exposure for him. He is qualified in permaculture and is currently formally studying aquaponics and continues to learn everyday. Jonathan is also a registered bee keeper.
Danti is a natural gardener and farmer. She grew up in agriculture in a world where it was absolutely important, subsistence farming. No super market just around the corner. Farming is in her blood. She comes from the Karo-Karo high-lands in North Sumatra and from the time she could walk she was planting, harvesting, preparing… her greatest skills are instinctive and she knows not only how to grow things she also knows what to do with them once they produce.
This is a really important aspect of farming. Rotating seedlings and harvesting so you don’t have too much or too little of everything and knowing how to prepare it, store it, cook it, collect and save seeds for the future and how to distribute excess and abundant produce … oh we love to learn!
We have a great team working on the infrastructure of 5 Eyes Farm. We are attempting one of the biggest aquaponics farms in Asia and also including integrated farming methods of traditional organics, chicken raising and free range eggs, natural composts, worm farms and teas, mulching methods from recycled fibrous crops nearby, companion planting and growing our own stock food.
Contact us if you are interested in being connected with what we are doing or if you would like to get involved