In 2009 Afhco approached the Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA) to partner in establishing a pilot Rooftop Vegetable Garden. Through their Community Social Initiative (CSI) programme, the grant was given and Afhco’s Urban Development Manager, Lebo Mashego went to work on the project. A concept design was developed for a sustainable garden constructed solely from recycled materials, in the form of old tyres for planters and wooden pallets for the planters to stand on. A worm garden was also planned, to ensure a constant supply of compost and fertiliser.
To further ensure the success of the project, Afhco enlisted the help of The Greenhouse Project, an established NGO that promotes sustainable construction and living strategies. Their input and advice, based on years of experience with food gardening, was immensely helpful in creating this first-of-a-kind project in Johannesburg. With the help of the JDA grant, Afhco was able to fund the waterproofing of the roof, installing paved pathways, securing the garden with fencing, and fitting an irrigation system.
Afhco hopes to increase the number of rooftop gardens on their buildings in the future. Lessons learned through this pilot project will help future gardens to be implemented and reach sustainable levels faster, ultimately benefitting the communities in and around the buildings. Making use of recycled materials to create the gardens, continually producing natural fertiliser and compost, and helping individuals through the sale and use of the fresh fruits and vegetables makes these rooftop gardens a truly green concept.
Check this feature about Afhco’s rooftop vegetable garden on AgriTV: