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Introducing Our New, and Quite Extraordinary, Columnist: Helianti Hilman

NEWS | 9 December 2019
Picture of Helianti Hilman
Introducing Helianti Hilman, NOW! Jakarta's newest contributor. Photo by Raditya Fadhilla/NOWJAKARTA

She describes herself as a life explorer who underwent different experiences and ventures every few years until 2006, when she was exposed to a network of indigenous farmers who had been striving to keep Indonesia’s food biodiversity heritage alive. In 2008, she set up the now highly successful brand JAVARA to champion indigenous an artisanal food products and bring them to new markets. Javara promotes these community-based products emphasizing on product innovation, added-value processing, organic certifications, rigorous food safety standards and unique marketing. They are currently working with 50,000 farmers across Indonesia, producing and selling over 600 products, highlighting the origin, uniqueness and stories of each product.

“The whole food system has many perspectives,” says Hellianti, from socio-cultural, ecological, politics, economy to entertainment. Food touches the life of every person and involves the interests of so many stakeholders. Food connects people and culture, making our world become borderless. That makes food a very vibrant industry to be involved in.”

Indonesia as one of the world’s richest countries for biodiversity and ethnic groups, offers countless hidden treasures in food biodiversity heritage as well as the traditional practices and wisdom on food production. NOW! Jakarta is very proud to be able to share Helianti’s passion and knowledge of these treasures with our audience, who will quickly share the same passion.

Helianti was born, and spent her childhood, in a highland coffee plantation in East Java and was exposed to the wonders of Indonesia’s wilderness, and despite her travel experiences in over 40 countries around the world, she is always mesmerized with the vibrant diversity of the Asian culture, spiritualism, people, tradition and food. She studied law at Padjadjaran University and then continued her studies at King’s College London, taking a master’s degree in intellectual property law. In 2014, she was a Forbes Indonesia Global Rising Star, and in 2015 she was recognised as the Schwab Foundation’s Social Entrepreneur of the Year.