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Create Sustainable Business

Create Sustainable Business

iZindaba Zokudlas’s Virtual Farmers’ Lab 30 March

Join us for the iZindaba Zokudla Virtual Farmers’ Lab where we will discuss how to create a sustainable business.

In the previous Virtual Farmers Lab we “discovered” what opportunities there are for emerging urban farmers and food entrepreneurs. Now we will focus on how to put together the basic building blocks of a sustainable enterprise.

For this Virtual Farmers’ Lab I have prescribed a bit of literature.

Please take a look at the articles on the Beegin Beehives and the Food Forests which will show how, in an ideal sense, we can build sustainable enterprises.

The Beegin Beehives was a Masters study in Industrial Design at the UJ. This technology immediately illustrates the benefits of partnering with a designer or university expertise, and this lead to radical innovations: This enable Ivan Brown to do the following:

He could find a synergy between the design of the hives and socio-economic challenges. This enabled the design to address multiple challenges all at once:

· He is selling a manufacturing system instead of individual hives;

· The manufacturing system is low cost and easy to use, making it suitable to create a new sector in a local area;

· The hives are optimised for the biological well-being of the hives, and not the profitability of honey production;

· The hives can be manufactured with local and other material; and

· Manufacturing takes place royalty free.

What we need to note in this case is the convergence of technology. The ways the technology incorporate multiple design and social impact-features is key to understanding its “sustainability”. This is where one feature, like low-cost manufacturing intersects with others features, like use of local materials, to achieve multiple benefits.

When we look at the assessment of how Food Forests can be established, we gain a lot more insight on what an entrepreneur can do to establish a sustainable business. What I find interesting is how such entrepreneurs have to source expert technical advice, and these then allow convergence of design and activity with more social focussed outcomes. For instance, in the article they speak of how revenue-generation is key to successfully establishing food forests. The convergence of revenue generation with social aims – like collecting edible plants, leads to new products and services. The ecological design enabled significant water retention in the soils, which enabled them to secure access to land through an organisation that was interested in this.

Please take a look at the accompanying documents. These are available as PDF’s and include also links to the original publications.

Stefanie Albrecht & Arnim Wiek “Implementing sustainable food forests: Extracting success factors through a cross-case comparison” available at:

Please also see the PDF of my slides where I distil the insights for ease of use:

Create a Sustainable Business
Download PDF • 115KB

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