How Made met LittlePod

Over the last year I have been introducing LittlePodders to our friend and vanilla farmer, Dr Made Setiawan. I do wish that environmentalists like Made could become the new celebrities. Perhaps after the Olympians, the unsung environmentalists will become the people everyone would like to know.

Whilst the world is trumpeting about uncertain times and economic upheavals there are people and projects around the world that are working against time to replenish the earth.

I have met many of these wonderful people since starting LittlePod. However, Made has really become a special friend. People often ask me how did you meet Made? Well, if you watch this short film which was produced by our other LittlePod friend, filmmaker Will Halfacree, you will find out. 

As you all know Made has been working for the last year on a programme to clear ground in Indonesian Borneo with the Katingan Project. This is a long project of clearing and planting which will enable the forest peoples to have a productive and fertile land for a sustainable future.

In one year Made has had great success in finding crops that can help to clear the ground and to show how it is not necessary to slash and burn during crop rotations.

Made combines his life with his lovely family in Oxford together with the challenges of working in these remote regions by long hours of travel. However, his enthusiasm never wanes.

Here, captured in his words and pictures, is a recent update from Made:

Made 3-crop

‘Inspecting the result of organic soil: fertility is building in peatland, rice field . Here is mulch with a good dose of good bacteria SP. Passion and patience work like magic .Four months and the soil is finally alive! From now on, no more fire required.’

New assignment

Made 4-crop

‘On a mission to rehabilitate one of the gold mining sites in the middle of the forest: make it green and mercury free. I really need my best friend, the Mucuna bean to cover the ground fast. Hopefully it will bind the heavy metal for a while’


‘Udin Rahmadi, an avid environmentalist, showed up at night on our Mendawai central Kalimantan basecamp doorstep with a bag of Mucuna Prurient beans and a few words, before our initial work to re-green the sacred forest from decades of destructive mining, “Take these beans brother, may their force help you!”