Farm Communities in Indonesia

Published: November 2010

During the 18th century, the Dutch introduced coffee to the fertile Lake Toba region of northern Sumatra. All photos by Noah Jackson.

Lake Toba marks the site of the largest volcanic eruption in the last two million years. The area's rich volcanic soil produces noteworthy coffee.

Coffee in Sumatra, Indonesia is primarily grown by smallholders, such as this couple, who typically own just over a couple of acres (one hectare) of land.

This community elder was instrumental in building support for the adoption of sustainable farm practices.

Twenty percent of the 13 million people living in northern Sumatra live below the poverty line. By earning Rainforest Alliance certification, farmers can earn a premium for their sustainably cultivated coffee beans.

Farmers in the Lake Toba region share a communal nursery to cultivate coffee seedlings.

While children are prohibited from working on Rainforest Alliance Certified farms, they do participate in various animal husbandry tasks.

Bees promote the pollination of coffee plants and their honey provides an additional source of income for local farm families.

At a local coffee market, beans are inspected for quality. Methods promoted by the Rainforest Alliance often lead to higher quality beans.

Rainforest Alliance auditor and freelance photographer Noah Jackson attends a community festival with farmers from the Lake Toba region.

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