Food security and jobs for unemployed
From a report by the Thomson Reuters Foundation
On the rooftops of the tall buildings in Johannesburg, a green revolution is happening. An initiative to create urban gardening businesses on vacant roofs was launched more than a year and a half ago by the public-private Johannesburg Inner City Partnership and led by a local innovation incubator Wouldn't It Be Cool.
Aimed at creating jobs for the unemployed whilst at the same time providing food, the initiative uses hydroponics technology, which allows crops to be grown in special water solutions without requiring soil or large open spaces. Plants grow faster and use up to 80 percent less water than in traditional farming. The technique also eliminates problems like soil erosion.
Crops are grown locally, cutting down on transportation time and costs, and delivering the freshest-possible products to the consumer.
In the next three years, about 100 more farms will be set up in the city besides the two now running, and the scheme is already attracting many applications from would-be young entrepreneurs. Those shortlisted will receive business and technology training and the best performers will each be allocated a rooftop farm of at least 100 square metres (1,076 square feet) with about 3,600 plants.
The farmer will pay back a percentage of the total turnover, which will be used to fund the next farm. Building owners are asked not to charge rent for the first year, but after that they can earn an income from their roof.
Such urban gardens run with entrepreneurial vision should do well, generating an income that beats the median wage. The key to success lies in the shorter and more efficient production and distribution processes.
Read further details here.
Does your organisation have a roof or an atrium to spare? See more details in this 5 minute video from a Vertical Farming and Urban Agriculture conference at University of Nottingham:
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