by The Urban Grocer in New Eco on Saturday 11 August 2012

Bright green rows of organic vegetables cross lush herb tunnels and a bounty of indigenous plants. That’s not exactly your quintessential urban fare. But this thriving garden, bursting with flora and fresh veg, sits atop a booming tower in Durban, South Africa. The rooftop haven grew out of a project by Durban’s eThekwini municipality focused on transforming the inner city from a rundown, crime-ridden area into a welcoming and generous space. And how generous it is. Organic aubergines, tomatoes, cucumbers, spinach, basil, strawberries, and more are grown here then donated to kitchen soups, orphanages, and schools or sold to local kitchens. It’s a project that’s not only giving to charities but creating jobs too.

Promoting sustainability in the area and within the food industry in South Africa is another objective for this unexpected space. Built from recycled products – like old tires and drums – the thriving urban farm harvests solar energy, collects rainwater, and hosts both a worm farm and a rooftop hive. Visitors are encouraged to stop by, meditate in the relaxation area, play chess, or simply take in the splendor of a bountiful green garden in the heart of the city. Bright green rows of organic vegetables cross lush herb tunnels and a bounty of indigenous plants. That’s not exactly your quintessential urban fare. But this thriving garden, bursting with flora and fresh veg, sits atop a booming tower in Durban, South Africa.