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rooftop farming gains
momentum in inner-city
s climate change continues to increase the risks for
smallholder farmers, more and more are turning
towards unconventional farming technologies that
provide greater returns and are environmentally friendly.
Mcebo Fresh Veggie Rooftop, a small-scale urban farm,
uses hydroponics to produce organic vegetables and
herbs. This rooftop farm that currently employs two
people, is one of an increasing number of South African
urban farms and rooftop growers in the cities.
“We are a real urban farm in the city centre of
Johannesburg. We provide fresh organic vegetables that
are also food mile conscious,” said Sibongile Cele, the
founder of Unlimited Wealth. Crops grown in the inner
city do not usually have too far to travel, unlike those
from rural areas, which bodes well for environmentally
conscious and food mile conscious consumers.
Mcebo Fresh Veggie Rooftop is a farming initiative under
Mcebo Unlimited Wealth, a 100% woman owned and
managed agricultural farming and investment holding
entity. The business engages in urban agricultural
production of vegetables such as beans, Swiss chard,
Kale Chou Moellier, cabbages, carrots, chillies, gourmet
lettuce mix, mini cucumbers, beetroot, onions, tomatoes,
and herbs (mint, chives and coriander).
The business, which is situated in Comptonville (south
of Johannesburg) also sells 16 varieties of vegetable
seeds — whose commercial name is Imbewu Seeds. The
seed varieties include beetroot, bush beans, Waltham
butternut, cabbage, carrots, long slim cayenne, Ashley
cucumber, Chou Moullier, gourmet lettuce mix, green
mealies, onions, California wonder sweet pepper, Swiss
chard, Fordhook giant, tomato, sweet watermelon and
Cele is part of the Urban Agriculture initiative and a
founding member of the African Women in Agriculture
(AWIA), owners of ‘The Farm in the Box’ project.