jda.org.za-JDA builds green rooftop gardensThe Johannesburg Development Agency has funded and built rooftop gardens in the inner city, to help grow healthy food for residents. The project also supports environmental responsibility and sustainable incomes.

The Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA) has funded and helped build rooftop gardens for small-scale vegetable production in the city.

The project will increase food supply in Johannesburg and falls under the JDA’s corporate social responsibility mandate, in which the agency gives back to the communities it works in, through sustainable projects designed to benefit and uplift.

The JDA, Makhulong A Matala and various partners, helped built the rooftop garden at Douglas Village in Troyeville, with the JDA staff members preparing the soil for ploughing while others cut old car tyres for planting pots.

Sharon Lewis, the agency’s executive manager of planning and strategy, says initiatives such as the rooftop garden could contribute to greening and food security in the inner city.

“We want to increase the supply of food,” she says, “in the process reducing the cost.

“Because people will be buying food produced locally, they do not have to pay extra for transport costs … and also to widen the nutritional value of vegetable food gardens.”

The long-term vision is to develop a market where the vegetables will be sold. This will generate income, making the garden sustainable.

The JDA grant towards the project, and further donations, bought seedlings, garden tools and manure. The funding also supported training, by the Food Gardens Foundation, for volunteers to manage the garden.

The gardens are cost-efficient, with planting pots made of old car tyres – cut out on the side to increase their capacity.

Crops are grown inside a greenhouse, which holds warm air at a stable temperature for healthy growth.