I was sitting in the Kafe having my lunch after a Forrest Yoga class. An older lady smiled and sat next to me and started talking about the heat. She said that Julia Roberts and the rest of the crew was in town to shoot the movie of the “Eat, Pray Love” and she was at the scene of shooting. I asked if she was a member of the crew, but she wasn't. However she knew a lot about the cars they drove, the hotel they stayed in, what they did last night so I was amazed. Either this lady is so well connected with the Ubud social scene or I am totally clueless... I learn that her name is Diane and she is an academician in one of the US Universities and she is very passionate about the environment. She gathered most of the UN leaders sometime ago to sign one of the environmental treaties. She's been visiting Bali over 20 years and been living in Ubud for the last 6 months to implement some environmental programs. I was very interested and Diane invited me to one of the farms same afternoon to see her work. Wow, of course I jumped at the opportunity.
As we were walking towards the farm, Diane explained to me that farmers in Bali burn the falling leaves or leftovers in the farms after harvest time. Diane is trying to implement a program where that organic material is turned into topsoil or humus through mulching and other methods. She is in close cooperation with some farmer families since the 80s. She said that in the 80s, over 70% of the families were self-sufficient in terms of food production,now this ratio is 0. We have already reached the farm by that time and Diane shows me the piled-up humus on the rice paddy as well as the other site where they are burying the fallen leaves to build up some heat to prepare it for mulching. She visits all the family farms several times a week to monitor the progress closely. I admire her enthusiasm and we agree that next time she's visiting another farm she'll give me a call so I can join with my camera.