An update on the Urban Agriculture Initiative

Through the work of the Johannesburg Inner City Partnership key stakeholders have been brought together to form the Urban Agriculture Initiative (UAI) in order to address issues of food security, employment, education and skills development in Joburg.

The Urban Agriculture Initiative in the press

Progress of the Urban Agriculture Initiative

On 11 October 2017 the UAI launched on the rooftop of the Chamber of Mines building in Hollard Street, Marshalltown. Nhlanhla Mpati of Gegezi Organics originally started out with 300 basil plants and just over 6 months later has expanded to 1000 plants.

Gegezi Organics grown by Nhlanhla Mpati

Mpati’s produce supplies the City Perk Café just over the road from the Chamber of Mines building and Gouhlas Cuisine. The quality of Mpati’s basil is ensuring that there is a healthy demand for his produce.

AFHCO’s Stanop building is the location of the second rooftop farm to take shape as part of the UAi. Mapaseka Dlamini of Green Sky Rooftop Garden has one of the largest, if not the largest rooftop farms in South Africa. With more than 3000 gourmet lettuce and basil plants, Dlamini employs four people and supplies restaurants around Maboneng.

The entrepreneur incubator, WIBC manages the process of identifying and training potential Urban Farmers. Out of the first group of applicants, WIBC has assisted a number of entrepreneurs develop business models in other parts of the value chain. Some exciting new business are earmarked for launch developing sauces and processed agricultural products. This eco-system of entrepreneurs is exactly what the UAI is all about.

Green Sky Rooftop Garden grown by Mapaseka Dlamini

May is a busy time with at least four farms being completed and handed over to farmers. This will include farms in Hillbrow and Newtown. We are pleased to acknowledge the support of new property owner stakeholders, The Outreach Foundation, Jozi Housing Company and Joburg Land Company who have all concluded agreements to provide rooftops for these new farmers.

The second group of 25 potential farmers are also set to start their training at WIBC by the end of the May. Anyone interested in participating in the final group of 25 must apply early as seats are limited on the programme and they fill up quickly. Contact Colleen Mokoena from WIBC colleen@wibc.biz

Property owners with suitable rooftops who would like to take part in this initiative to create jobs, improve food security and develop skills are welcome to contact Colleen Mokoena from WIBC colleen@wibc.biz