Urban farming has many benefits, and has become even more prevalent during the pandemic.
The Genesis Hub, based in Louwville, has given the community and its aspiring urban farming students the opportunity to reap the benefits of the launch of its Green Engine programme last September.
Louis Kuys, Green Engine farm manager, is taking the experience and knowledge he has gained in urban farming and investing it into young students. To this end it runs a 12-month programme, and students end up with accredited training in plant production (NQF Level 4) and hydroponics (NQF Level 1).
Currently, there are 10 students who have pursued the Green Engine programme and have big dreams and goals that they want to reach within this industry.
Kuys says students learn the value of buying directly from local farmers, for in doing so they are strengthening the local economy. “We give them quality work experience, teach them how to plant seed and grow it,” he says, “and how to harvest and turn the harvest into a sold product. We grow maximum production in a small space.”
Kuys adds that the green hub grows what the market needs, starting with lettuce, spinach, cucumber, tomatoes and much more. The products are then packaged, sealed and sent to Cape Town. Produce also makes its way to outlets such as Spar, Freshmark and Spinach King. The produce is also sold to the community in line with differential needs in relation to market value. In the programme the students also learn about responsibility, teamwork and leadership.
Kuys highlights that urban farming does have its challenges, and one should have a passion for urban farming as it takes hard work and dedication.
Jeré Blaauw (24), who is in the programme, shares the same sentiments and believes one should really have an interest and passion for urban farming. “It should be a lifestyle, and not just a job,” she said. “To be part of providing a food source is a great thing. By joining this programme you end up with accredited qualification and you can branch out and start your own farm, become a farm manager and many other careers.”
Ricardo Grosch (34), also a student of the Green Engine programme, says it equips its beneficiaries with knowledge and gives them a foot in the door of the green industry.
“The programme is free, and Genesis Hub is giving back to the community,” he said, “because many of us are not able to afford to go to college to learn what we are learning here.”
The students encourage those who want to get involved in urban farming to join the Genesis Hub, as urban farming is sustainable all year round, and one can make a profit from it.
Kuys adds there is nothing better than fresh produce delivered straight to one’s table.
For more information on the Genesis Hub and its available programmes, call 021 140 3101 or WhatsApp 082 931 8790 or follow “Genesis Youth Hub” on Facebook for updated information on its programmes, community courses or events.
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