The Jakarta Post
Listen up, kids: Illona sings “Habiskan Makananmu” (Finish Your Plate) at the launching of compilation album 2500 Kalori at Sangkring Art Space on Dec. 10. (JP/Bambang Muryanto)
When Shoppinglist music group vocalist Dwi Rachmanto was presenting “Lagu Ibu Tani” (Song of Farm Women) at Sangkring Art Space in Nitiprayan, Yogyakarta, theater actor Gunawan “Cindil” Maryadi made a surprise appearance on stage to read his poem.
“While women serve as living hedges, they should become shields for our land plots, our farms, our rice fields [...] what will you eat, my son, as women have to grow steel on our land plots, our yards [...] Yogya is in an agrarian emergency, my son,” Cindil recited.
“Lagu Ibu Tani” and Cindil’s poem were met with a roaring applause at the event — the launch of compilation album 2500 Kalori, which was produced by Yayasan Kampung Halaman, a youth empowerment foundation, on Dec. 10. The collaboration of songs on the album voices concerns over rising agrarian conflict in Yogyakarta.
The most recent dispute involves the eviction of farmers from fertile lands they owned in the coastal area of Kulonprogo regency.
The government plans to construct on the fruit and vegetable farmland a new airfield to replace Adisutjipto International Airport, which is overwhelmed by an increase in flights to and from Yogyakarta.
“Indonesia was an agrarian country, often talking about food self-sufficiency, but its agrarian policies never resulted in achievements,” Dwi said.
The first of the two-volume album contains 15 songs of various genres, including rock, ballade, dangdut and pop, with stories conveying three themes: diversity of flavors, food resources around village homes and the importance of not wasting food.
The other bands featured on the album are Merah Bercerita under Fajar Merah, the son of missing poet Widji Thukul, Tiger Paw, Holiday Anna, Gamelan Mben Surup, Kopibasi, ROBBERS, Setu Bengi, Umar Haen, Bumi & Kedjora, Dharma, Orkes Kodok Ngorek, Farinela, Afapika and Illona ATSP. These groups regularly participate in the Minggu Pagi (Sunday Morning) program organized by the foundation.
Yayasan Kampung Halaman director Rachma Safitri said 2500 Kalori began as there was a sense of urgency over informing the youth on food-related issues.
Teenagers in the country rarely engage in discussions over problems related to food and marketing from food companies only ensures that today’s youth are unaware of what they consume and how it can affect them negatively.
“Through 2500 Kalori, we wish to encourage teen participation so that they will be more sensitive and critical of their basic needs — foodstuffs are sources of energy and nutrition,” Safitri said.
The name 2500 Kalori was chosen because, according to nutritionists, Indonesian teenagers, both male and female, require a daily average of 2,500 calories.
To promote the album, Yayasan Kampung Halaman has also been holding Minggu Pangan (Logistics Sunday), discussions inviting 53 teenagers from 14 junior and senior high schools. Minggu Pangan, which involves musicians and nutritionists, has been held three times and deals with the album’s themes.
Dyah Soemarno, who manages Warung Kita, attended the second Minggu Pangan, which was themed Gizi Ndeso (Pristine Nutrients), and took participants to her eatery in Nitiprayan on Nov. 12 to introduce various edible plants mostly found near village homes.
Although the rain fell that Sunday, the young, eager participants were not discouraged from visiting Nitiprayan village.
“Many school students didn’t know that the plants within the vicinity of their homes were safe to eat,” she said at Sangkring Art Space.
Dyah cited the seldom eaten kelor plant as an example. It is a super food packed with vitamin A and more vitamin C than oranges.
Raisya “Rere” Kanaya, a teenage girl who participated in the Minggu Pangandiscussion, said she gained a lot of knowledge and made friends.
“I’ve become acquainted with many more edible plants near my home, so I need not buy them from the market,” said the first-year student of Sekolah Anak Alam High School.
Rere also became aware of the dangers of junk food, which is seen as trendy in Indonesia but is seldom consumed by those from countries in which the food originates.
Natalia “Nane” Renane Anak Pungkasasi admitted on the occasion to having occasionally eaten unhealthily.
“I’m better informed of the benefits of vegetables, which contain various vitamins,” Nane said.
Rachma said there were several important conclusions drawn from the three discussions, namely that most people preferred to eat food at home, food diversification was important for a balanced diet and teenagers lacked an understanding of the General Guidelines of Balanced Nutrition (PUGS).
Illona ATSP vocalist Illona Acyintia Jovita expressed satisfaction over the inclusion of Habiskan Makananmu (Finish Your Plate) on the album. The song calls on youngsters to be responsible for the food they consume by avoiding wastefulness.
“Indonesia was found to rank second for countries that discard food the most after Saudi Arabia,” she said.
Musician Umar Haen, who contributed with Kisah Kampungku (The Story of My Village), said music could serve as an effective medium to introduce food issues to teenagers, entertain and convey messages all at the same time. “Through music, messages can be repeated and more broadly disseminated,” he said.
Food issues are important as they can be linked to climate change, population increase and agricultural land shrinkage for development, among other issues. From an early age, current and future generations need to be familiar with these issues so that they develop a habit of making smart decisions over the food they consume.