Hidden between the concrete of the Johannesburg city centre, is an oasis of green in the form of a thriving urban garden. At JFF Rooftop Farm, you can enjoy a soothing reprieve from the hustle and bustle of Braamfontein and explore rooftop farming - the sustainable and accessible future of agriculture.
Co-founders of JFF Rooftop Farm Joburg, Ash aka Ashleigh Machete and Negin Monkoe, began their venture as a landscaping company in Soweto. When they moved to Joburg, they were concerned with the lack of green spaces in the city. That’s when they started food gardens on rooftops and in alleyways.
Ash and Negin wanted to create areas where people could find pleasure and look at something other than a wall or concrete, and had also become concerned with the lack of access to fresh produce and fresh food. Having started more than 15 food gardens dotted around the inner city, they now have their own rooftop garden and café in Braamfontein and another little shop in Milpark.
The bottom level of the rooftop garden is a leafy, soothing space. Here, you can grab a refreshing drink and chat with Negin and Ash if you need advice or inspiration for your own gardening endeavours. If you’re up for some adventure, climb the ladder to the roof where you will be surrounded by a sea of green in a rooftop jungle filled with a variety of plants from herbs and salad greens to succulents and leafy indoor plants. There’s also another little café up top, where you can enjoy fresh sandwiches.
Rooftop farming is growing globally and it’s easy to see why: it combats food insecurity, beautifies the environment and increases the value of city spaces.
Immerse yourself in the lush surroundings, peruse the selection of plants or just take some time to relax in one Joburg’s greenest gems.
Written by Shaazia Ebrahim
Photography: Ashleigh Machete and Negin Monkoe