I have recently had my eyes opened by two fantastic Projects that are breaking boundaries and changing the lives of inner city communities.The Joubert Park Greenhouse Project (GHP) is situated on the outskirts of one of the city’s most famous green spaces, Joubert Park. Opened in 2002 the GHP is a Section 21 not-for-profit company that aims to “transform Johannesburg into a community of neighbourhood-based ‘green’ demonstrations, outreach and information enterprises”.
The GHP is visitor-friendly and they welcome anyone to the centre to take a look around or volunteer to assist in any way. If like me you are clueless about what to grow and where to grow it, you could definitely learn a thing about organic food growing, composting and rainwater harvesting from these guys. I spent a few hours at the centre and left totally inspired by the work that General-Manager Raymond Haney, his team and the community are doing. They are also renovating the area to create a conferencing space and additional facilities for the public.
The city has also recently welcomed another fabulous initiative to one of its rooftops- The AFCHO Rooftop Garden. For those of you who don’t know, AFCHO is a major investor, developer, and manager of affordable housing and commercial property in the Johannesburg inner-city who presently own over 60 buildings. Admirably AFCHO are also very involved with an upliftment initiative for the people who live in their buildings and surrounding communities. Previous projects include the start of a school, city internship programmes and, most recently, the Rooftop Garden.
The Garden, which is a partnership between the Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA) and AFCHO, is a work in progress.AFCHO’s Urban Development Manager, Lebo Mashego, and the ladies from the surrounding community involved in running the garden are learning as they go along – the aim is to make the project financially sustainable for the community members involved. They are aided by the wonderful people at the Greenhouse Project and other green-minded people who have helped them find the best way to create a garden on a rooftop.
After seeing what is possible and meeting these inspirational individuals, it is difficult not to be motivated and discover a sudden urge to explore and try out my newly discovered green fingers.
086 11 AFHCO (086 11 23426)
The Greenhouse Project: 011 720 3773