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29 July 2023

On the 29th of July we will host an iZindaba on building a circular and sustainable urban agricultural enterprise. The event will discuss the editorial and the suggestions contained within it, as part of the course “Nxazonke” which means “all around” and is a vernacular expression akin to the meaning of “circular enterprise”…

Urban farmers need to build highly efficient enterprises that draw on the best biological technologies available. This is necessary as many of the current agricultural technologies would be too expensive or inappropriate and unsafe in an urban context. They also face stiff competition from supermarkets. We discussed many of these biological and other technologies in an earlier blog ( and we will deal with technology as a subject on its own later in the programme.

The course Nxazonke is detailed at: Please note this is a provisional schedule and as I am writing the blogs, some things may change. I am aiming to have a complete and comprehensive course available by next year. Please feel free to share, draw on and criticise these materials.

The previous blog postings, that contains most of the material for the course Nxazonke, are available at:

In this event on the 29th, we will discuss the process to follow to set up an enterprise on top of or alongside the urban farm.

Doing so has a lot to do with sequencing and integrating production and retail, and the way this is done is to institute a waste harvesting system to build the biological production system. To build a community- and customer-based waste harvesting system, which is unusual (but note several farmers have been able to do so!), a system of customer and stakeholder engagement is necessary. This is essential as the biological value inherent in waste is in fact the means to make the enterprise solvent. Biological systems can be constructed for free by using waste materials, and can be low cost to operate. They are inherently productive.

An urban farmer needs to harvest enough waste to sustain the production system, but this harvesting of waste enables a price reduction in the product. This is the key idea in setting up sustainable (and circular) enterprises: to enable the customer to affect a price reduction by the exchange of waste. It is in this exchange relationships where multiplier effects occur. This will not only enable poor consumers to gain access to high quality fresh produce but will have effects on municipal waste management. It will lead to improvements in the landscape and also conscientize consumers about the value of biological production, and the value of local exchange in a local market. Such biological production can be controlled by the community to some extent and is a real live example of how we can influence our food systems ourselves.

There are many actors who aim to assist emergent farmers in a new sustainable food system. To realise this aim, we need to make real material changes on the ground. The best way to do this is to enable people to make lasting effects on the systems they inhabit. Local entrepreneurs can re-organise local communities, spaces, events, technologies, organisations and narratives and stories about the value of local food. Should such enterprises be successful, we can expect many others to copy them, and in this way expand the reach and impact of local food systems. By harvesting waste, we build sufficient production capacity to produce enough food to create a livelihood. By using engagement methods, entrepreneurs can build watertight systems around their farms and in this way, boost profits by creating local retail markets and products for this highly particular and specialised opportunity. In this way a high retail value of food can be achieved by the farmer, and in the background, an efficient biological production system can be built. It is thus by mastering biological production and community engagement that enterprises can be built that may be viable alternatives to what we currently have.

To participate through Facebook Events, please click this link:

Please note it may be difficult to manage online participation, but I will do my best!

We will meet in B3 UJ Soweto Campus at 9:00 for 9:30. When you enter the campus from Chris Hani Road, immediately turn right after entering and proceed to park your car under the solar panels. We are immediately to the South from the car park. Most of the attendees walk, and we appreciate this low-carbon means of transport…. Please bring and ID document or Passport or other documentation to gain entry to the campus!!

We will have free wifi available and with some luck a few guest presenters. Please note that any participant has the opportunity to do a short presentation in the beginning of the event, and with prior arrangement, also deliver a longer presentation on any cause, event, project or opportunity!

We thank the farmer!

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6 April 2024

Dear Friends of iZindaba Zokudla On the 6th of April we will meet again in B3 at UJ Soweto Campus at 9am for 930 am. Please bring an ID document, passport or birth certificate to gain access to campus


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