Gardening reaches new heights

2014-08-09 00:00

RIGHT in the heart of Durban, a roof-top garden is greening 77 Monty Naicker Street.

In 2011 Wendy Gibson-Taylor, senior facilities manager of Priority Zone (run by the SA Landscapers Institute in KZN), took her love of gardening to a new extreme when she decided to start a garden at the top of the Priority Zone building.

“This is my baby,” said Gibson-Taylor. “Our aim is to get the same garden replicated on every single roof-top.”

The hidden gem, with around 14 employees, produces all organic produce and indigenous plants.

With plants and vegetables growing in tyres, old drums and shoes, strawberries lining the staircase and herbs hanging from the ceiling, the urban farm is the perfect picture of sustainable living.

“Myself and Sylvia Burger, the site manager, spent a lot of time and money on this project in the last six months. We really want to show people that sustainable living is the way to go,” said Gibson-Taylor.

The building uses harvested water, vegetable tunnels, solar energy and recyclable materials to grow produce and when it is ready, Priority Zone gives the produce away to organisations around the area.

The Nest, a shelter for about 120 homeless adults, is one of these organisations. “We appreciate the assistance from Priority Zone. We get a lot of people coming through here with financial issues that need to be solved and at least food is not one of them,” said chairperson Soswa Amani.

This week the garden played host to a pop-up cafe that brought in around 600 people in a day.

MasterChef Season 2 contestants Izak Redelinghuys and Tam Kirkwood started Zak & Tonics about a year ago and were astounded with the turn-out this week. “Most of our meals are organic and we even have home-made lemonade. Enjoy the scenery — greens with a scrumptious meal,” said Kirkwood.

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