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4 May 2024

Dear Friends of iZindaba Zokudla

iZindaba Zokudla 4 May 2024


Please join us for the next iZindaba Zokudla on the 4th of May 2014 at 9 am for 930 until 1400 in B3 Enoch Sontonga halls. Please bring a form of identification along to gain access to the campus, like an ID document, Passport or Birth Certificate.

After this session we will meet again on the 22nd of June same place same time but please note I am still awaiting confirmation of this venue, time and date. Please keep an eye out for the SMS announcement.

In this session we will be discussing technologies for urban agriculture.

The key technology for urban agricultural production is the deep trench bed. The productivity possible on such a bed is key to a successful enterprise, and working on such a bed multiplies the productivity of the farmer. Remember, an urban agricultural enterprise has to produce food at lowest possible cost, and sell this at the highest retail value. This profit structure needs to be conserved in the development of the enterprise and supplemented with additional revenue streams and enterprises on the farm, like a waste exchange enterprise system. A waste exchange system will involve communities in lowering food prices as discounts can be given on food in exchange for wastes. This will be net positive for the farmer as it will effectively lower production costs for the farmer and enable better food choices for the consumer.

Deep trench gardens can be filled with urban wastes, and we recommend layering at the bottom bones harvested from a butcher or abattoir. On top of this must be layered green waste, and large branches (smaller than your hand) so the carbon-nitrogen mix is correct. Between the layers of waste must be a layer of green waste to supply nitrogen for decomposition to proceed effectively. Large branches will “steal” the nitrogen in its own decomposition from the food crops, and smaller branches have a more favourable carbon-nitrogen ratio. This must continue with smaller and smaller branches, to twigs, leaves and fill the top with topsoil or a green manure mix.

To build such deep trench beds, planning is key as all the materials need to be gathered before the trench is constructed. However, this planning and gathering exercise indicates the need for business planning, and in this regard, we will also extend the discussion, in the next session on the 22nd of June to also focus on this.

On the 4th of May we will host Junita van der Walt from the UJs department of Logistics and Supply Chain Management for a guest lecture on the use of social media for urban agriculture.

In this session, after the above Guest Lecture, we will discuss the technologies an urban farmer can use, and extend this discussion in the 22nd of June session.

The key “technologies” (and note we use this term loosely to bring into view social arrangement and animals as forms of “technology”) for an urban farm include the following:

1.    All gardens and farms need a beautiful name.

2.    Design and plan your garden: take a look at “Permaculture” design.

3.    Composting.

4.    Liquid manures.

5.    Biochar.

6.    Deep trench beds and/or above ground deep trenches.

7.    Intercropping and companion planting.

8.    Mulching.

9.    Irrigation.

10. Seeds and seed libraries.

11. Animals.

12. Tunnels and infrastructure.

13. Vertical, indoor and controlled environment agriculture.

14. Safety and security.

15. Enterprise development: A Shop.

16. A Retail system, including:

a.    Grading of produce.

b.    Pricing of produce – experiment with a say,  5% lower price than competitors.

c.     Waste exchange mechanisms.

d.    Partnerships with informal traders like bakkie traders for market-sourced produce (mainly staples).

e.    Loyalty programmes.

f.      Harvest specials.

g.    Selling consumer goods.

h.    Specials.

17. Distribution and logistics.

18. Social media.

19. Technology:

a.    Wifi and,

b.    Develop your own.

20. Events.

21. Recording impact:

a.    Youth employment,

b.    training,

c.     volumes,

d.    record keeping,

e.    engagements, and

f.      stakeholders.

22. Compliance:

a.    Stakeholders,

b.    Landlords, School Governing Bodies,

c.     Parents,

d.    Learners,

e.    CIPC,

f.      Utilities like water and electricity,

g.    Infrastructure (make sure you own it),

h.    Taxes and SARS,

i.      Waste.

As you can see there are quite a few things an urban farmer needs to be aware of and we will discuss these issues one-by-one.

I look forward to seeing you there!

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