Harvesting rainfall to nourish the ultimate edible garden
How can we grow food without water? Between 2015 and 2018, dams in the Western Cape came close to rock bottom. When farms in the province had no produce to harvest, 30 000 jobs in the agriculture industry were lost. While water levels have increased since then, the fear of the drought’s return is ever-present. But Ben Getz has a sustainable way to keep South Africa in full bloom.
Through his company Urban Harvest, Getz constructs edible gardens which align communities and food production with conservation. “One of the biggest challenges is water consumption,” Getz says. “Our solution is rainwater harvest and greywater recycling, coupled with natural farming techniques.” He’s worked with schools and old-age homes in under-resourced areas such as Bonteheuwel and Hangberg. “On a daily basis, I’m designing, installing, and managing organic gardens across the city,” Getz says. After laying out the terrain, he employs and upskills locals to tend to the crops on the plot.
Among lush leaves and vegetables, a sense of respect for nature begins to sprout. “Not only have our projects created immediate food for communities, but also an opportunity for people to feel transformed,” Getz says. To date, he’s built more than 350 edible gardens all across the Cape. Getz’s work proves the simplicity of efficient water conservation and sustainable agriculture. “A healthy individual and thriving environment create a happy society,” he says. “The potential for wellbeing lies right in your backyard.”