The Urban Agriculture Initiative (UAI) has been developed by the Johannesburg Inner City Partnership (JICP) and a number of key stakeholders in the public and private sector to address issues of food security in the inner city and to assist in job creation for entrepreneurs.
“The UAI epitomises the JICP’s role as incubator, advocator, enabler and initiator”
-Ishmael Mkhabela, JICP Chairperson.
Dr Michael Magondo, Idea Sherpa at Wouldn’t It Be Cool (WIBC) believes that,
“the UAI is not about putting the farm on the roof, its about the lives that can be changed.”
As an entrepreneurship hub, WIBC is constantly seeking new ways to expand the supplier base for businesses. An eco-system of urban farms means more opportunities for the entrepreneurs that build the hydroponic infrastructure for the farmer, and more business for the entrepreneurs that supply materials to build the infrastructure. The potential knock on benefits of the project are the reasons why all the stakeholders are so excited to see new farms cropping up across the city.
The launch of Nhlanhla Mpati’s basil farm took place on Wednesday 11 October 2017 at the Chamber of Mines building on Hollard Street.
Dating back to the very beginnings of Johannesburg, the Chamber of Mines has occupied their building in the inner city for the past 93 years. As Harry Groenewald mentioned in his address to the press, the Chamber is in full support of new technologies that broaden the opportunities available to the people of Johannesburg and South Africa.
Utilising hydroponic technology, Mpati has been able to achieve impressive results in a short space of time for his enterprise, Gegezi Organics. His rooftop farm measures 66m2 and has produced 11okgs of basil in 21 days. And there is still room to expand and the potential to employ two more people.
Read more about the launch;
Joburg launches first rooftop farm plan by Anna Cox, The Star
Another UAI is the existing urban farm on the rooftop of FNB Bank City which supplies enough produce for the inner city canteen as well as a few of their other FNB campuses.
Taking the initiative forward, the Department of Small Business Development (DSBD) has granted funding to the Urban Agriculture Initiative to set up 100 more rooftop farms in the Inner City.
The potential to address the multiple challenges of food sustainability, dietary education, job creation and skills transfer all exists on the unused rooftops of the inner city.
Property owners wishing to partner with the JICP team and start an Urban Agriculture Initiative should contact Dr Micheal Magondo from WIBC at firstname.lastname@example.org