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Growing Vegetables Over the Sea

Posted On: May 11, 2023
Nurmi stands next to numerous plants on shelves
Nurmi with some of her plants. The shelves on the wall expand her gardening space.

ANAMBAS ISLANDS REGENCY, INDONESIA – To grow vegetables, you don’t need farmland, or even a garden plot. In Indonesia, innovative women are growing vegetables over the sea. 

Most of the houses in the Anambas Islands are located on the seacoast, and some people’s houses are completely on the water. These villagers have adapted home gardening and vegetable production to fit their unusual circumstances.

Nurmi, who is 33 years old, lives with her husband and three children in Payalaman village. Her house sits on stilts over the sea, and her yard consists of planks of wood above the water.

Toward the end of last year, Nurmi learned about vegetable seedlings, transplanting, and plant care from Yayasan Bina Tani Sejahtera (YBTS), EWS-KT’s sister organization in Indonesia. She had never grown anything before, and she was very excited to try her hand at gardening.

The whole family got involved with mixing the seedling medium and planting the seeds.

When the seedlings were ready to be transplanted, Nurmi moved some of them to long wooden planters and others to larger bags.

Nurmi transplants pepper seedlings into bags of soil

By the time she was transplanting her second batch of chili seedlings, the kangkong in the wooden planters was ready to harvest.

Nurmi and one of her children hold harvested kangkong

While Nurmi started small, her garden has rapidly expanded. In addition to kangkong and chili, she grows caisim and cucumber. She is now repurposing plastic cups and other containers to hold even more plants.

Nurmi’s garden feeds her family, increasing their consumption of nutrient-rich vegetables. As her vegetable production has grown, she has also begun to sell some of her produce to neighbors for extra income. What she has been able to accomplish in just 6 months is quite impressive! 

This is part of the Anambas Food Security Program, which focuses on increasing food security in the Anambas Islands through home gardening and vegetable farming.