South Africa’s Chamber of Mines is aiming at creating a vibrant urban agricultural ecosystem by repurposing disused rooftops and making use of hydroponics and aquaponics to produce agricultural produce for Johannesburg’s inner city communities.
The initiative was established by the Johannesburg Inner City Partnership.
As a key stakeholder in the JICP, the CoM is participating in and has funded a pilot project to assess the feasibility of growing herbs and vegetables on the rooftops of inner city buildings including on and near its offices.
The first crop was planted on the rooftop of the CoM’s building for the benefit of an agricultural entrepreneur or agripreneur. The use of hydroponics and aquaponics means that crops will be grown in special water solutions without the need for soil or large open spaces, with 95% of the water being circulated and reused.
The CoM notes that Johannesburg is one of many cities worldwide turning to inner city farming with the objective of addressing high unemployment and food insecurity, while simultaneously aiming to regenerate neighbourhoods.
“A sustainable project of this nature has the potential to provide inner city communities with access to cost-effective and healthy food while providing gainful employment to urban agripreneurs…The chamber hopes this project will provide a useful impetus to this new take on urban agriculture and will extend beyond rooftops to sidewalks and even to other underused spaces for the benefit of the people of Johannesburg’s inner city and beyond.”