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​Urban micro-farmers get a boost through UJ project

UJ is collaborating with the City of Johannesburg and Harambee to promote youth empowerment by developing a sustainable and connected food ecosystem in disadvantaged areas around the city.

The Youth AgriInitiative (YIA) has tested a strategy to align its efforts to the sustainable development goals of the city, leveraging strategic partnerships with academia, local government, business partners and non-profit organisations.

YIA has been designed to connect and expand an existing urban food ecosystem to unlock opportunities for youth and advance local economies in informal settlements around Johannesburg.

By training young people from the Ivory Park community as ‘data management agents’, more than 800 urban farms and food gardens in the area were located and registered through a comprehensive baseline study. This confirmed the project assumptions that a considerable amount of food is being grown in the community, that growers can be connected through an online platform and that, through a profitable agroecology business model, organically grown produce in township areas can be brought profitably to market.

Building on the success of its pilot rollout in Ivory Park last year, the project partners now aim to scale the project to include other residential areas around the city.

Anyone interested in more information on this project should contact Nickey Janse van Rensburg on +27 11 559 2025 or email her at nickeyjvr@uk.ac.za