Crafting Nusantara's New Heritage Cuisine

Nutrition + Sustainability

Cultural Creativity + Evidence-based Science

Community Service

from APRIL 2020 to MAY 2023 the community in and around Ubud, Bali was supported by Nusa Tonic during the 3 years it was most vulnerable to food insecurity from the start of the pandemic through one year post-recovery.

over 6500 FREE midday meals for supplemental nutrition were delivered to community elderly and infirm -- nutritionally balanced and complete using plant-based and whole-food ingredients.

3 years subsidized meal service of the same nutritionally balanced and complete meals were made available to anyone in the community via home delivery and later on site at our kitchen.

over 50 planetary nutrition recipes were created using local ingredients and flavors, local cooking techniques, and local household kitchen equipment to support the transition to sustainable food practices.

Together these services responded to the community's acute food security crisis during the pandemic along with longer-term chronic public health and food sustainability challenges.

About Nusa Tonic

Nusa Tonic began cooking with love and wisdom for the Ubud community at the start of the pandemic.

We began in April 2020 as a project to serve free nutritious midday meals to the elderly in the community, and we continued to deliver this service without pause for 3 years.

In 2021 our community kitchen became a community café when we opened our doors to the general public to expand our services by making subsidized nutritious meals accessible to everyone in the community.

In 2022 Nusa Tonic hosted a creative collaborative knowledge exchange with ViaVia Jogja and Janti Alterjiwo to further enhance knowledge and skills for Indonesia's contribution to planetary nutrition.

In May 2023 when the contract on our kitchen expired we completed knowledge transfer to Bumi Sehat Foundation so the accumulated knowledge and skills we had developed over the 3-year project would continue to benefit the community into the future.

Local Food Security, Public Health & Sustainability in Indonesia

The Nusa Tonic Community Kitchen was spontaneously organized as a grassroots project to provide immediate support to a community in crisis during the pandemic while simultaneously contributing solutions to longer term chronic public health and sustainable food challenges.

The island of Bali was among the most severely impacted by the pandemic in Southeast Asia: 92,000 people lost their jobs and many more lost work in the informal sectors, contracting the island's economy by 10% and leaving households vulnerable to food insecurity.

The elderly and infirm, especially those lacking strong social support, were especially vulnerable to hunger and the psychological effects of isolation, as households prioritized children and youth when food became scarce.

Besides the immediate socio-economic shock of the pandemic, Indonesia as a whole has been suffering from public health trends of increasing chronic disease and unsustainable food practices due to changing patterns of food production and consumption.

Our contribution to the solution: Creative collaborative knowledge exchange and community support using local networks for food security, community nutrition, and transitions to sustainable food practices.

Mobilizing Community Networks

Nusa Tonic worked within multiple community networks to cook, pack, and deliver the nutritious midday meals to the community's most vulnerable. 

Through regular meal delivery the community's most vulnerable received supplemental nutrition along with regular health checks and a feeling of care and solidarity to combat social isolation throughout the pandemic.

To distribute the meals and identify those most in need we collaborated with village heads (klian) and the Bumi Sehat Foundation, an acclaimed local birthing and community health clinic.

In addition, financial and in-kind support came from networks of family and friends of Bali both locally and abroad. For example, the Suvarna Dharma Chakra Loka Foundation regularly sent bags of fresh produce from its mountainside gardens in Taro.

Everyone who contributed to these multiple community networks shares in Nusa Tonic's achievements for the community.

Crafting Indonesia's "New Heritage Cuisine"

The Challenge: Delicious, Nutritious & Sustainable Food
The immediate need to supply the community with nutritious meals in line with local culinary tastes presented an opportunity to introduce innovative cooking technique and recipes that addressed the longer-term chronic public health and food sustainability challenges.

The Method: Creative Collaborative Knowledge Exchanges
To that end Nusa Tonic organized creative collaborations with experienced chefs who were challenged to use favorite local recipes together with the EAT-Lancet Commission's evidence-based guidelines on nutrition and sustainability to produce new recipes and cooking techniques that could be prepared in everyday household kitchens. 

The Result: "New Heritage Cuisine"
From this exercise in cultural creativity we developed over 50 nutritious, delicious, and sustainable plant-based, whole food recipes using local ingredients, flavors, and cooking techniques. We call this the beginning of Indonesia's "new heritage cuisine"--the region's rich culinary heritage creatively renewed to incorporate up-to-date health and sustainability knowledge.

*Many thanks to our collaborating chefs including Mamih Nonon, Mak Yayah, Janti Alterjiwo, Mas Dayat and Mas Deny from ViaVia Joga, and the Nusa Tonic team.


Nusa Tonic x Community Elders: 1 Project, 3 Impacts

Nusa Tonic Kitchen grew out of a community-driven kitchen initiative, called the Nusa Tonic project, organized to help address the community food crisis during the pandemic. From the project’s inception we had three aims: (1) provide supplemental nutrition to at-risk community elders in the form of gifted weekly meals, (2) provide transferable skills training and employment for community youth by employing them to prepare the meals, and (3) contribute to developing a repertoire of plant-based, whole-food cuisine based on favorite local recipes, flavors, and ingredients. 

Nusa Tonic x Bumi Sehat: Community Support through Nutritious Cuisine

Nusa Tonic Kitchen’s community meal service, called the Nusa Tonic project, has run since the start of the pandemic in collaboration with Bumi Sehat Foundation. The founder of Bumi Sehat, Ibu Robin Lim, explains the impact of this project, especially for at-risk elderly members of the Ubud community. The positive impact linking food and health was only possible because we worked together collaboratively. 

Nusa Tonic x ViaVia Jogja:  Experienced Chefs Cook Up Planetary Nutrition

NusaWise held a two-week creative collaborative knowledge exchange workshop to contribute to Indonesia's new heritage cuisine. Using local ingredients, local flavors, and favorite recipes combined with evidence-based science, experienced chefs worked together to develop plant-based, whole-food recipes that are nutritious for people and sustainable for the environment. Nusa Tonic Kitchen collaborated with ViaVia Jogja and Janti Alterjiwo. 

* Sincere thanks and deep appreciation to all of the generous supporters, family and friends of Bali who contributed to this community service project during its three years of operations, making possible all of the community benefits showcased here.