Continuing on-going efforts to provide unemployed Bali residents and vulnerable communities with much needed food donations, the people behind the renowned book, Our Bali Your Bali, are releasing an all-new documentary series called Paradise on Hold to reveal the reality of Bali’s enduring hardships.

Our Bali Your Bali

When Dean Keddell had to close down his two popular Bali restaurants, Ginger Moon Bali and Jackson Lily’s, his biggest concern was how he could support his staff. The passionate business owner had a creative idea: to create a one-of-a-kind cookbook from Bali together with his team, filled with cultural and personal stories as well as recipes passed down through the generations.

The result is Our Bali Your Bali, a vibrant hardcover cookbook that shares not only the island’s cuisine through its pages, but the very heart and soul of the people of Bali. Most importantly, 100% of the profits from the book’s sales are used to support not only his staff, but thousands of families around Bali suffering from the effects of the pandemic.

Paradise on Hold Our Bali Your Bali

Since the book was published at the start of 2021, Dean, his team and generous volunteers have raised an impressive $436,222; the proceeds are being used to provide families and villages in desperate need of support, in collaboration with five well-respected charitable organisations in Bali: Scholars of Sustenance Indonesia, Bali Children’s Foundation, East Bali Poverty Project, Friends of National Park Foundation and Bali WISE. Thousands of people have been benefited from this incredible effort already.

It’s Not Over Yet

Whilst Bali has returned to some level of normality, with social restrictions mostly lifted and businesses allowed to operate, the reality is that the island’s economy hasn’t bounced back. Domestic tourism has helped, but so many businesses depend on the international tourist market which simply has not returned.

Although a handful of hotels and restaurants are seeing some success, most tourist areas remain quiet and local businesses closed, with an estimated 145.000 Balinese still unemployed and attempting to make ends meet.

So the challenge persists. In order to continue feeding families and communities in need, Dean has opened Jackson Lily’s as a ‘food rescue kitchen’ for Scholars of Sustenance (SOS) Indonesia, reemploying 5 staff to cook and serve 300 nutritious meals, five days a week. That’s a total of 6.000 meals a month. SOS, a food rescue organisation who distributes said meals to people most in need, secures the costs of vegetables directly from donor companies as well as Bedugul farmers, who themselves have found it difficult to sell their goods with so many hotels and restaurants closed.

The continuation of this tremendous effort is only possible through the generosity of companies, but also through the purchasing of Our Bali Your Bali, which directly funds the operations of the rescue kitchen.

Seeing the Reality: Paradise on Hold

However, it can be quite difficult to grasp the severity of the situation in Bali. Visitors may see the shuttered shops and boarded-up restaurants, sense the quiet in certain areas, but those experiencing the hardship are home in their villages, in the outskirts, out of sight… and therefore out of mind.

This is what inspired the team behind Our Bali Your Bali to create an independent documentary series called Paradise on Hold. The series aims to reveal the reality of Bali’s food inequality and poor food waste management which has continued even as people on the island live in poverty. The season premiere, which was launched on YouTube on 15 January 2022, opens the window into a harsh reality, focusing on how the lack of tourism has affected all aspects of life on the island, with personal stories from the kitchen, homes, landfills and organisations on the ground.

The series will proceed to showcase the efforts some people are making to address the issues regarding food waste and food security, following Dean Keddell and Scholars of Sustenance.

Produced by Buro Creative Giving, the Paradise on Hold series aims to raise awareness on what is happening behind the scenes of Bali’s lifestyle offerings and travel destination; that even though the island is recovering, there are those still left in the dark and require help.

To support, please watch Paradise on Hold; purchase a copy of Our Bali Your Bali; or donate to their online fundraiser.

Instagram: @ourbaliyourbali

Edward Speirs

Edward Speirs

Edward, or Eddy as he prefers to be called, is the Managing Editor of NOW! Bali and host of the NOW! Bali Podcast. He enjoys photography, rural travel and loves that his work introduces him to people from all walks of life.