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World Food Day: A rooftop garden project helps feed South African communities


10-17-2016 08:25 BJT

October 16th is World Food Day. It's a day to  recognize society's efforts to eradicate hunger. It also marks the founding of the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization in 1945. In South Africa, urban farming is taking off in some major cities, helping feed the country's hungry. 

A patch of green on a Johannesburg rooftop. This is just one of many gardens that the municipality has planned.

This rooftop garden is embracing the global message behind this year's World Food Day of: Climate is changing. Food and agriculture must too. But it's also empowering a community and making sure nobody goes hungry.

"Food security is a big challenge throughout the city of Johannesburg often we assume that people in urban areas go to bed with a full stomach but that's not the case. It's very important to grow these more and more it will ensure more people have access to good food but it's not only proving good food it's also providing entrepreneur opportunities." Johannesburg's social Development Department Mpho Phalatse said.

This rooftop garden is a pilot project aimed at jointly addressing the challenges of climate change, unemployment and hunger.

"What we've done here at this roof garden is set up something that is revolutionary that is very unique, its pilot project for a network of inner city roof gardens and we are using hydroponics to grow fresh organic produce. Hydroponics systems can use up to 90% less water than conventional farming. We aim to solve two of South Africa's major problems related to unemployment and food insecurity." Ubuntu business founder Gary Smith said.

"If this project expands there will be zero hunger, we are greening the city that is our mission to reward the city, and before you know it there will be no poverty and there's no poverty there will be no crime, that's the key." Project manager Kathy Khambule said.

The garden boasts spinach, lett uce and other organic vegetables, but it's doing a lot more than just feeding those who need it -- it's providing a sustainable solution to hunger for generations to come.

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