Cape Town mall gets rooftop farm where young people grow produce

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A new retail urban rooftop farm was unveiled at Kenilworth Centre, in Cape Town this week.
A new retail urban rooftop farm was unveiled at Kenilworth Centre, in Cape Town this week.
Kenilworth Centre
  • A new retail urban rooftop farm has been launched at Kenilworth Centre.
  • Apart from addressing food insecurity, the project also aims to upskill unemployed youths from the Langa community.
  • Mall restaurants will buy some of the produce, and NGOs will also be able to receive food donations.
  • For more financial news, go to the News24 Business front page.

Unemployed young people from the Langa community in Cape Town will learn how to set up their own urban farms - from a mall rooftop.

The skills development programme is one of the benefits of a new retail urban rooftop farm - the HandPicked CityFarm - launched at the Kenilworth Centre in Cape Town this week.

Redefine Properties, which owns Kenilworth Centre, donated the space on top of the mall for the Mr Price Foundation's HandPicked programme. HandPicked is an agricultural skills development programme.

The project – which will upskill two Langa youths per month, or 24 over a year – is to be funded by farm produce. By the end of the training, the beneficiaries will be provided with resources to set up their own urban farms and generate income from the produce they sell.

The urban farm has offtake agreements with iChilli le Langa, which will use crops like chillies for the sauce it produces. Mall restaurants can also purchase vegetables from the farm, and a kiosk or pop-up store in the mall will also sell produce.

Fresh produce will also be donated to up to three NGOs per month.

Other partners on the project are Fresh Life Produce and the SA Urban Food & Farming Trust/Oranjezicht City Farm– both of which promote urban farming solutions – such as vertical farming, which does not require masses of land and uses less water.

The farms use African Growers – or a vertical system with growing pods stacked on top of each other. These are also pest-resilient and water efficient.

The HandPicked CityFarm uses an African Grower – o
The HandPicked CityFarm uses an African Grower – or a vertical garden allowing growing pods stacked on top of each other, thereby requiring less land space. Each African Grower holds between 16 to 24 plants.
Supplied Kenilworth Centre

"We believe this project will set an example for how landlords can change the way retail properties are managed and developed so that lives, communities and the environment are impacted positively," said Anelisa Keke, chief sustainability officer at Redefine.

"Our purpose is to create and manage spaces in a way that changes lives," said Redefine Chief Operations Officer Leon Kok. "This rooftop farm is a great example of those values in action and will, among other benefits, create employment opportunities through the daily operation of the project, ensuring the effective management of the produce and space."

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