Geographically Nusa Penida is a limestone plateau a strip of sand on its north coast. Its dry and arid soil has made it impossible for local people to plant rice. Do not think stretches of green rice fields irrigated by clear water and fresh fish arriving in the gutter. There is no running water or river even a lake. However you could see rice terrace but its so different as you find in Bali mainland. They have special technique to trap the soil into nooks as the water washes down the hill. Intricate stone walls formed to the next, leaving a bed to plant on above it. This is the nature of permaculture and the locals have known about it for centuries ago to make them survive in agriculture.
Millions of formed stones arranged to create this ancient terrrace which is known ‘bataran or abangan’. The rainfall is low and not many plants could be developed. Most of them has great adaptation to the climate and minimum water resourches. The commodities are corn, peanuts, green bean, coconut, cashew nuts and cassava that will be main staple food. Locally often called cassave as ‘sela’ or gayet. Later on, gayet used as inggridient to local culinary food, Ledok-ledok.
Almost all family plant for it as reserves food in dry season as no other plants can grow up. Its quite long time from start to plant until harvest for it, around one and half year. Violence barren and dry nature makes communities live by learning to survive from the nature. When the harvesting time come, tuber of cassava cleaned up and be shredded to be dried off. Cassava used as their staple foods and a source of carbohydrates.
In some term, it is common in the small villages to see cacah strips or of raw cassava drying in the sun before being steamed as a substitute staple for rice. All of the activities to store the cassave in form of cacah or shredded cassave called ‘Ngerih’. Do not be strange to see dried white cassave left on mat at the garden. These dried staple food can stanb for more than two years with no preservative. Finally, on the dry season when there is no more other food, cacah or gangsuran come as savior food. They will be cooked to be ‘kukus or lecok, such of delicious food.