Food production through efficient urban agriculture including hydroponics and aquaponics

Evans Muchesa
Published: 05 February 2021
Last edited: 05 February 2021
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The Siyakhana Food Garden, our flagship project, is regarded as one of the most successful urban food gardens in the wider Johannesburg metropole, as well as a hallmark of intersectoral collaboration. This is largely because of its mission to make far-reaching impacts at local, provincial, and national levels. It is not simply a garden; it also serves as a platform for other activities that address the following five key objectives:

  • Improving the availability of a wide variety of good and nutritious food;
  • Conducting relevant and appropriate action-research that is influencing policy and strategies;
  • Offering training to develop capacity among emerging leaders in the area of food gardens and sustainable livelihoods;
  • Engaging in advocacy and networking activities; and
  • Achieving financial sustainability through a self-funding social entrepreneurship model.

Our aims are to:

  • Address food and nutrition security;
  • Promote public and environmental health;
  • Enhance entrepreneurship; and
  • Support and enable sustainable smallholder enterprises.


East and South Africa
Scale of implementation
Green spaces (parks, gardens, urban forests)
Urban ecosystem and build environment
Cities and infrastructure
Food security
Health and human wellbeing
Local actors
Outreach & communications
Standards/ certification
Sustainable livelihoods
Lack of access to long-term funding
Lack of alternative income opportunities
Changes in socio-cultural context
Lack of food security
Unemployment / poverty
Sustainable development goals
SDG 1 – No poverty
SDG 2 – Zero hunger
SDG 3 – Good health and well-being
SDG 4 – Quality education
SDG 5 – Gender equality
SDG 6 – Clean water and sanitation
SDG 8 – Decent work and economic growth
SDG 11 – Sustainable cities and communities
SDG 12 – Responsible consumption and production
SDG 13 – Climate action
SDG 17 – Partnerships for the goals
Aichi targets
Target 1: Awareness of biodiversity increased
Target 2: Biodiversity values integrated
Target 4: Sustainable production and consumption
Target 7: Sustainable agriculture, aquaculture and forestry
Target 8: Pollution reduced
Target 9: Invasive alien species prevented and controlled
Target 13: Safeguarding genetic diversity
Target 14: Ecosystem services
Target 15: Ecosystem restoration and resilience
Target 17: Biodiversity strategies and action plans
Target 18: Traditional knowledge
Target 19: Sharing information and knowledge
Target 20: Mobilizing resources from all sources


Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa


The SGD and Siyakhana Organic Food Garden (SOFG) are recipients of prestigious awards:

  • The SGD was awarded the most innovative and promising locally led eco-inclusive enterprises
  • in developing and emerging economies prize from the SEED AWARD 2019.
  • The SOFG was awarded the best innovative project and community-based project prize by the Gauteng Department of Agriculture in 2011.

Our work also furthers the following skills and activities:

  • Knowledge and skills transfer and building capacity especially amongst black women and youth;
  • Job creation;
  • Stimulation of local economies;
  • Building future leadership across the spectrum of the food value chain; and
  • Relevant research that informs policy and strategic interventions.

We have established many food gardens in several settings promoting dietary diversity. This is a direct and effective way to enhance food availability, accessibility and affordability.


Area of land farmed: 2.4 ha

Number of people included in the program: 7 permanent and 6 casuals

Amount of food grown: c. 6.4 tonnes per annum

Contributed by

matthew_38962's picture

Matthew Koehorst Greenpop, IUCN Urban Alliance

Other contributors

Siyakhana Growth and Development NPO