Holopis: Let's Eat Some Wild Foods!

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Holopis: Let's Eat Some Wild Foods!: Preserving Biodiversity through Wild Food Consumption

Surabaya, IndonesiaSurabaya and Jombang, Indonesia
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
Project Stage:
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

We work together with rural women to develop the method & technology to identify, cultivate & promote edible wild plants not normally considered as food crop. These information & products are then promoted online & offline to build links between growers & their consumers and increase market access.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if you can eat healthy seasonal food from villages, learn food-growing skills, empower rural women, and help conserve our environment?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Indonesia owns 17% biodiversity on earth, yet is rife with poverty (1/2 of population) & malnutrition (1 in 3 children). Since the intensification of large-scale, closed system monoculture during the New Order “Green Revolution”, we’ve become distanced from this rich biodiversity and become dependent on a limited selection of food crops & produce, cultivated with questionable chemicals and distributed through an increasingly monopolistic market.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

We work closely with village women to identify edible wild plants species, cultivate them in an organic way & then process them to healthy and appealing food products. We create equal partnership with village women where all process is open & transparent, using fair trade scheme to market the products to people in the cities. We hope this can be a sustaining source of income for them while they can preserve biodiversity around them. We also only use eco-friendly packaging and emphasize seasonality of our products to match with the seasonal growth of plants. We plan to have workshops to encourage people in the cities to grow their own food, and have repositories of open data about the food and plants in our website.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Our first product is clove basil syrup, made of clove basil plant that grows wildly in village. We've done market trials in the last few months & sometimes we bring along some village women to promote their own product. Many people love the taste and the idea and has shown strong interest in purchasing. This has given confidence to the village women because they can witness how people appreciate their product. As a result, they have now become researchers, eagerly collecting different kind of edible wild plants, cultivating these plants in their own land, and experimenting in making different food products from them. This activity has pique their neighbours' curiosity who also want to imitate them and make the food for their family.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

- Wild plant is being identified & cultivated; its health benefit is being shared to many people - Mendiro village is the poorest village in Jombang, Indonesia. The women now have a potential source of income and feel empowered from these activities. Fair trade system is used to compensate their work fairly. - The people in Indonesia (in this case, Surabaya) can enjoy delicious & nutritious beverage, as well as being educated about our rich biodiversity. - Many of these “wild plants” or “weeds” used to be cultivated and eaten by our ancestors, but these knowledge and skills have been lost through decades of privatisation and dependency on large-scale monocultures. This project can help to empower growers & consumers in learning & sharing about our (long eroded) local food knowledge, and to feed ourselves while regenerating landscapes, biodiversity, and ourselves.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

- Providing delicious healthy food, while educating & empowering both rural and urban populations about the richness and the potential of biodiversity in Indonesia. - Mendiro Village is our pilot project and we are planning to make few artisanal food products in here. After the production is stable, we can work with other villages, utilising our know-how & facilitating collaboration with our ever-growing networks to develop & market distinct food products from these villages. - We emphasize seasonal products to ensure freshness and to promote the value of food seasonal harvesting.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

We plan to market the food products via e-commerce as well as selling it to cafes, restaurants and health stores. Our system will be fair trade, with a fair profit between the village woman and our organization. Our marketing focus at the beginning will be in Surabaya and its surroundings. We also have built networks with other organizations in other cities and countries who are willing to help with our product distribution.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Organic stores have been increasing in Surabaya & other Indonesian cities, but most of the products sold are imported & expensive. We want people to realise & develop the potential health & taste value of local food. We try to achieve this by creating food products that are delicious and unique and based on locality & seasonality. Similar activities (organic market, permaculture, etc.) are cropping up in Yogyakarta, Bandung, and other cities, but we place importance in recognising and developing local wild plants, utilising traditional recipes & creativity in creating unique food products.

Founding Story

Mid-2014, we were a part of a workshop that discussed ideas for our home town, Surabaya, 20 years from now. Throughout the workshop, themes that were discussed passionately are biodiversity, urban farming, and education. During break time, all four of us stayed close to the snack table and in the process discussed how healthy food are usually imported and expensive and how people in Surabaya lack of knowledge and appreciation to local food. Hayu, who does researches on biodiversity in the villages, invited us to Mendiro village. We went there and were amazed by the abundant edible wild foods. We decided that we would like to help preserve it as well as sharing it to people in Surabaya and elsewhere. This is how Holopis was born.


We’re still at a start-up stage, we currently have four board members: Hayu, a biodiversity researcher, focuses on research on edible wild plants, biodiversity, and rural development; Helmi, a designer and technologist, focuses on appropriate technology and alternative education; Debrina, a graphic designer, focuses on design and business; Erlin, a web designer and an ex-consultant (of Deloitte), focuses on program management and IT.