My Conversation With Suar Wisnu

Suar is one of the founders of the Wisnu Foundation, a non-govermental organization (NGO) in Bali, Indonesia. The foundation works with villages in Bali to help improve their livelihoods while maintaining their traditional customs and culture.

Part of that work is to help develop better management practices for coffee farmers. That work includes identifying the resources available to the village and then helping to plan and organize around what they already have to improve the output of the village.

He also has Geo Coffee & Bar where customers in Kuta can enjoy a coffee produced in Bali, hyper-local as I sometimes call it.

Suar also discusses several aspects of Balinese culture, which is quite fasinating.

The full audio and transcript is available or you can watch the interview on my YouTube channel:

The links below will take you directly to the chapter in YouTube:

0:00 Intro
1:07 Meet Suar and Wisnu Foundation
2:15 Main goal: environmental issues
8:03 Initiation of Material Recovery Facility
12:18 Why centralized planning of waste management doesn’t work in Bali
13:44 Wisnu builds a plastic pyramid
14:39 Reformation and reorientation: Community Empowering Program
15:38 Balinese way of life: balance
19:29 What is Tri Hita Karena?
21:34 Wisnu adopts a modeling concept for villages
23:01 Participatory mapping — ecological integrity
32:52 Changing culture, spreading ideas — it’s difficult
33:39 The next generation of Balinese
36:46 Coffee production and eco-tourism
38:00 Social capital and working together: gotong royong
40:35 Tourism changes local villages
43:13 Building netwroked villages
43:53 What COVID has revealed about tourism in Bali
45:35 Concepts of time
47:45 Coffee as a village resource
49:27 Increasing the value of coffee
50:31 Village economy network
50:49 Distribution is not easy
52:03 Knowledge management and sharing
53:16 Connecting producers with consumers
54:25 Traceability and what it can mean for farmers
56:27 Concept of Geo Coffee: connecting spaces, concepts, and people
58:09 Managing capitalism communally
59:07 Coffee farmers’ priorities; reality vs romantic notions
1:01:23 Is technology popular with farmers?
1:03:10 Coffee production in Bali — part art
1:03:31 Balinese humanize nature
1:05:32 Exploiting nature is exploiting ourselves
1:09:09 Coffee farming in community forests (public lands)
1:11:44 Palm oil in Bali?
1:14:34 The natural tension between progress and tradition
1:15:11 Time to shift to the next balance
1:16:54 What comes after COVID?
1:20:53 Communal reaction to Agung eruption
1:23:00 It’s karma
1:25:41 Nyepi; day of silence (and low carbon output)




Michael C. Wright

Michael is an American expat living in Southeast Asia where he writes about many things coffee-related. A roaster by trade, Michael is also a licensed Q Grader, licensed Q Processor Pro, an Authorized SCA Trainer (AST), and most recently, a graduate with a degree in horticulture and a concentration in horticultural business management.