CYCLE OF RICE
A story of Sustainable Farming
Awards: National Science Foundation, Nature Writing For Children's Literature
Cycle of Rice, Cycle of Life: A Story of Sustainable Farming takes readers to the island of Bali in Southeast Asia. The people there live in tune with the natural rhythms and cycles of the water and the soil. Balinese farmers have planted rice using an intricate system of water sharing and crop rotation for more than one thousand years. Intertwined with their spiritual, social, and day-to-day lives, this system has made Bali a leading producer of rice—one of the world’s most important crops.
In the 1960s, the government of Bali decided it wanted to produce larger quantities of rice more quickly than traditional methods would allow. So began the Green Revolution, which included using hybrid plants and chemical pesticides and fertilizers. The experiment proved disastrous.
Today, through the work of scientists and other dedicated people, the Balinese have returned to their traditional ways of rice farming, which serves as a remarkable example of sustainable agriculture in an increasingly industrialized world. Cycle of Rice, Cycle of Life helps students learn about the culture of Bali, sustainable farming, the changes that the people and land of Bali underwent during the Green Revolution, and the eventual restoration of a time-honored agricultural method.