Recently, the Fernandina Beach Rotary Club welcomed Dr. Carrie Root, Foundation chair of the Tarpon Springs Rotary Club who spoke about that club’s “Rice Bale” project in Bali. The project offered the 3,000 villagers of Nawa Kertin in Bali, Indonesia a method for transforming rice straw into building materials. Residents of the rural community, where rice is a stable food crop, not only built a wood press to form rice stalks into bales, but then used them to construct a large structure that will last for many years and can withstand earthquakes that often rock the area. Root said the project offers villagers a new and sustainable building material for their own homes as well as a commodity to sell to other villages.


Funding for the Bali Rice Bale Project was raised by the Rotary Clubs in Tarpon Springs, Dunedin and Holiday and through a grant from Rotary District 6950. The clubs also partnered with the Rotary Club of Bali Taman in Indonesia and all material and labor was provided by the villagers of Nawa Kertin. The rice bale project was completed in April, but the clubs, along with the Fernandina Beach Rotary Club, are now working together to fund additional projects to provide potable water to the village, supply educational materials and remediate asbestos in local buildings.