Jozi Food Farmer is a business established by Ashleigh Machete a passionate entrepreneur and urban farmer; he has been doing urban agriculture since childhood, which has given him extensive hands on experience in overcoming nutrient poor and water repellent soil structures, pest attacks and enduring the hot dry spells of summer to produce successful food gardens in the city of JHB.
Jozi Food Farmer provides ongoing support and expertise in the growing and harvesting of vegetables, herbs and spices that are organically grown in the city of JHB. It is a youth led enterprise with a team of urban organic farmers skilled in designing, installing, maintaining and harvesting food gardens in and around the city of JHB. “We specialise in maximizing produce yield and productivity in food gardens be it, ground level, rooftop, patio, balcony, or backyard,” Ashleigh Machete the founder of Jozi Food Farmer said.
“We start with the initial design process to ensure the success of a productive food garden,” he said. “A comprehensive site plan allows us to combine individual elements of the space to create a cohesive, functional and beautiful food garden,” he adds, “It includes plant recommendations, planting schedules (seasonal grow charts) and material specifications for garden elements such as garden beds and containers, pathways, trellises, garden sheds and seating areas while incorporating permaculture practices.”
The Jozi Food Farmer team creates neat and functional spaces with sustainable sourced materials that support natural systems. All their installation is built to the highest standards to create a beautiful, productive, safe and ecological outdoor environment.
They offer garden maintenance services that are educational based (information sharing). And their experienced urban farmers can stop by your garden on a weekly or bi weekly basis throughout the season. They provide all vegetable seedlings, seeds, trellises, organic pest control materials, and tools necessary to keep your garden healthy and attractive.
Jozi Food farmer provides training on developing a productive food garden and schedules timely workshops throughout the year to compliment urban food farming knowhow during every growing season: From fundamentals like building a raised bed, container and sack gardening, companion planting to tips and tricks to getting the most of your harvest. Course material is provided.
“Sustainable urban agriculture can promote healthy diets, environmental stewardship, stronger communities and improved quality of life,” he said.
“We are dedicated to improving local access to fresh produce, empowering city dwellers young and old to reap the rewards of urban agriculture and promoting a sustainable food system. We believe that food gardens can increase urban food security and help reduce the carbon footprint of food production.”
University of Witwatersrand
Wits Citizen and Community Outreach (Wits Food Bank)
Training of Wits student volunteers and wider community
Design and installation of the Wits Inala Food Garden
Jozi Food Farmer in one of the food gardens at Brickfields, Newtown
“Regular Workshops at Carr Fordsburg with food garden members and children, similar workshops can be implemented at other food gardens,” he said, “this is also a great opportunity for inquisitive kids to get hands on experience!”
Maintenance is spread out over two weekly visits to perform essential tasks for growing healthy vegetables, herbs and spices such as pest control, weeding, succession planting, soil maintenance, composting nutrient management, crop rotation and harvesting.
“During our visits, we are more than happy to share information on growing food, harvesting and explaining exactly what we will be doing at the food gardens with members of the individual food gardens.”
Jozi Food Farmer implements certain urban agriculture techniques aimed at increasing yield and productivity such as:
Regular harvesting to encourage plants to produce higher yield.
Building up of soil as organically rich soil encourages the growth of healthy, extensive roots that are able to reach more nutrients.
Companion planting, effective plant spacing, succession planting, crop rotation and stretching your grow season.
Planting vegetables, spices and herbs with high yields.
Increasing grow area by utilising vertical space.
“Aligning their planting (crop rotation) by introducing them to other plants and herbs that can help them to sustain their gardens: these aspects need to be considered during the initial design process,” he said. “A successful food garden design will incorporate the requests of potential customers while considering the following factors:
- Choice of crops.
- Necessary skills to grow the crops.
- Climate and grow season.”
“We will host regular Urban Food Production Workshop aimed at getting the young adults and children involved in the growing of their own food. All course materials will be provided by Jozi Food Farmer.”
Ashleigh Machete is also co-founder of Cotton Curls; a hair product manufacturing company targeting afro textured hair run by business partner and urban farmer Negin Monkoe. Cotton Curls will be featured in Vuka Darkie’s following issue.
To young people participating and taking charge of the destiny of our people; to JFF leading by action, Amandla!
You can check Jozifoodfarmer on facebook and like the page as well as get valuable information as you engage with them. The costs of Jozi Food Farmers services vary, for they are dependent on varies elements ranging from size, soil, crop types, etc. Contact details are as follows: firstname.lastname@example.org, 0714564629 (Ashleigh Machete). Amandla to food security!
By Themba Ka Mhlanga