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Kasepuhan Ciptagelar as Local Wisdom to Solve Food Problems

Due to its location near the equator, Indonesia is one of the rainiest countries in the world. Ton amounts of active volcanoes also help soil enrich their nutrients. Plants can easily be planted here and crops are one of them. There are various species of crops in Indonesia, especially plant-based carbohydrate sources. According to data released by the Indonesian Ministry of Agriculture, in 2018, there are 77 different types of plant-based carbohydrate sources in Indonesia. Among all of these carb-based foods, rice is the main food that is consumed in Indonesia. According to the USDA, Indonesia has the fourth highest rice consumption in the world, with the annual average consumption reaching 35.517 million tons of rice. This fact leads us to the conclusion that Indonesian is strongly associated with rice as a primary food source and, even more so, with social constructs in society.

We know that food is one of humankind's primary needs. Without food, humans cannot get enough energy to do some activities. Century-by-century, humans are trying to develop the technology of plantations and agriculture to meet food needs. This cannot be separated from the fear of food shortages. Many efforts were made by humans to prevent this problem. Moreover, the World Food Programme (WFP) said that there are 349 million people suffering acute food insecurity in the world.

A lot of people know that optimization of production is just one way to gain food security. However, this is different to a certain traditional community in West Java, Indonesia. It has different and unique ways to prevent food shortages. The community also has local wisdom and uses it to maintain their supplies so that they can easily access the food. This community lives in a village called "Kasepuhan Adat Ciptagelar," which means "Ciptagelar Culture Village." The Ciptagelar people are a traditional Sundanese community, and the village has become one of the eight cultural villages in the Sunda tribes that are distributed in two provinces, West Java and Banten. This village has a leader called "Jaro," but it is culturally led by a tribal chief called "Sesepuh Girang." The community tightly holds on to the tradition and its cultural elements that existed thousands of years ago. The tradition affects all aspects of the lives of Ciptagelar people, especially food security.

The Ciptagelar people believe that rice is not just a commodity to be eaten. In this community, families in the village are obligated to plant the rice because they believe that rice symbolizes life and thus become a sacred thing. Moreover, they prohibit selling rice because rice is a representation of life. Selling rice would also mean selling our lives and the one who sells it can also be treated like a murderer.


Ciptagelar people just plant and harvest rice once a year. They never face food insecurity because they have "leuit" management. "Leuit'' is a term that means "granary." Every family in the village has at least two Leuits and they store their rice in their Leuit so that they have food storage that they can use for years later. Leuit has also become a barometer for the village's food insecurity. If their storage just reaches the lowest part of Leuit, called "indung," it means that they just have a bit of rice in their storage.

The community in Ciptagelar can also just use local seeds to be planted. They believe that they have to use the seeds from their ancestors to breed. There are several reasons why they just use local seeds. First, the seeds provided by the government are not suitable for planting in Kasepuhan Adat Ciptagelar. Second, local seeds can be dried and stored for more than 5 years. Third, obviously, using the local seeds is a form of maintaining ancestral tradition. The tradition also prohibits the use of tractors and restricts the use of chemical fertilizers.

The local wisdom in Kasepuhan Adat Ciptagelar is not only about agriculture but more than that, it contains some values and norms that make the community obligated to protect nature, including forests and springs. They maintain the forest, with limiting the plantation area to only 10% of the total area in the village in order to maintain groundwater storage in the area. Water is also essential for watering the crops and activating the watermill to produce electricity.

Mechanically, there are several steps in rice production. Tradition and local wisdom are the main elements that are obviously involved in this system. First, they planted their seeds in the fields together, led by Sesepuh Girang. This step is called "ngaseuk." After that, there are several rituals that correlate with the process of rice planting and cultivating, such as mipit, nganyaran, and ponggokan. The biggest event, known as "seren taun," concludes all of the rituals. Seren taun is a ritual that aims to honor Nyai Pohaci Sang Hyang Asri, also known as Dewi (Goddess) Sri, the goddess of rice and fertility. Through this event, they are grateful for Her favors, especially for her generosity to give an abundance of food.

The local wisdom in Kasepuhan Adat Ciptagelar is not just a word or an "old" habit. This tradition brings us to the balance of nature and humans that affects a human’s life. Obviously, the tradition, local wisdom, and beliefs of the people in Kasepuhan Adat Ciptagelar are a form of wealth and identity in Indonesian culture.

Besides solving food problems, the local wisdom of Kasepuhan Adat Ciptagelar has become a magnet for tourists, either local or international, to enjoy the unique and valuable tradition in this village. Let's go exploring and discovering new adventures in Kasepuhan Adat Ciptagelar, West Java, Indonesia!




A global food crisis | World Food Programme. (n.d.). Retrieved February 27, 2023, from

Pentingnya keragaman pangan. (n.d.). Retrieved February 27, 2023, from

USDA Economic Research Service: Rice sector at a glance. (n.d.-a). Retrieved February 27, 2023, from


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