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Assessing urban transformational strategies through innovative farming practices in the Johannesburg city center

Urban Agriculture and Regional Food Systems

Ngie, A., Sithole, N.

October 2023

The Johannesburg metropolitan city, which is the largest city in South Africa, like others in most emerging or developing economies, is plagued by numerous challenges among which is food insecurity. The numerous skyscrapers to maximize land space over the years without adequate maintenance pose as deteriorated sites. Technological advancement has then improved these sites and provided not only regenerated buildings and spaces but also solutions to food insecurity for the inhabitants through transformational strategies from the local government. These strategies have promoted urban agriculture and introduced innovative farming measures such as rooftop gardening and hydroponic farming. These measures have been geared toward attaining sustainable environmental goals for land and water optimization within limited land spaces in the inner-city center. This study assessed the state of these measures toward attaining the environmental goals by engaging stakeholders where open-ended interviews were used to obtain experiences. Results showed that transformational strategies have not only improved household food security and created income-generating opportunities but also regenerated the infrastructure of the city center. However, numerous challenges are threatening the complete realization, which are soil and water flow availability to the rooftop gardens. The situation is better with hydroponics though with its own hurdles, including the need for consistent energy supplies, input costs, and technological challenges. Overall, hydroponics presents a more promising solution to attaining land and water resource use efficiency goals with proper governance and policy support.

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