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Residents learn to live out organic lifestyle - Jakarta Post
Last modified: 2010-08-05 21:43:13

Spurning the plethora of fast food outlets in Jakarta, some residents have started to adopt healthier lifestyles by purchasing organic food products even if it means spending more money.

"I started to eat organic brown rice last year after realizing I had gained weight," Bagus, 20, told The Jakarta Post after the launch of "Green and Fair Products" campaign in the city on Thursday.

He bought several packages of organic rice at a booth run by the WWF. A kilogram of organic rice sells for Rp 20,000 (US$2.22), almost double the market price of non-organic rice.

The university student said organic product was available at certain supermarkets and shops in the city, but did concede they were dear.

"If organic product was wide spread prices would come down and more people would surely choose the healthier products," he said.

Bagus added that he used to suffer digestive problems, such as stomachaches and constipation, but they were now a thing of the past.

Organic food products are made in a way that limits the use of synthetic materials, including pesticides and chemical fertilizers.

One speaker at the event, the author of Hidup Organik, Panduan Ringkas Berperilaku Selaras Alam (Organic Living, A Simple Manual to Live in Harmony with Nature), Bibong Widyarti, said that "besides being free from chemical substances, food produced organically has about 20 percent to 40 percent higher nutrients than non-organic products."

She used organic food since 1997 and has now adopted organic methods throughout her daily life.

"Now I use coffee powder to expel rats from my house and I wash my dishes using lemon grass and limes," she said, underlining that using organic methods was more environmentally friendly.

The campaign launched by the WWF, a global environmental conservation organization, aims to promote eco-friendly consumption and enhance "fair value".

Explaining the meaning of fair value, Nazir Fuad, the policy director of WWF, said his organization supported people living on the outskirts of eight national parks across the country with training in ways to grow sustainable organic produce and providing them with marketing support.

Their products include robusta coffee, forest honey, red and black rice, aloe tea and cajuput oil.

"We are currently in discussions with three big retailers in the city about supplying them with organic products produced by these people," Nazir said. (JP/rch)

Jakarta Post

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