In line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Liberty Two Degrees’ co-owned Eastgate Shopping Centre (Eastgate) has launched its rooftop Aquaponics Farm District, a first for its shopping centres.
The Farm utilises smart new technologies to provide sustainable solutions to food production and security to patrons of the centre and the broader Johannesburg.
In partnership with Ichthys, one of the fron trunners in the aquaponic industry, Eastgate Aquaponics Farm District aims to create a premium go-to experience for the future of sustainable, organic and educational food sourcing.
The concept of aquaponics marries aquaculture and organic farming with hydroponics, whereby plants and fish are grown together in one integrated system. The fish produce clean and natural fertiliser that provides a natural food source for the growing plants, while the plants in turn provide a natural filter for the water the fish live in.
Carmen Collison, L2D Asset Management Executive for Eastgate comments “There are rising cost challenges impacting the conventional farming profitability. The farming community has declined by 2/3rds since 1990, with the demand on fish resulting in stock depletion. Increased standards of living have resulted in humanity’s ecological footprint exceeding the planet’s biocapacity by 30%.“
“The need to start adopting climate positive practices to ensure a climate positive impact is accelerated in our everyday lives cannot be emphasized enough. We are excited to have partnered with one of the best in the industry in an initiative that aligns to our strategic objective of achieving a net zero sustainability target by 2030 in line with our strategic building blocks”, says Amelia Beattie the Chief Executive of L2D.
Eastgate’s Aquaponics Farm District aims to create a hub to educate local communities on alternative farming methods, thus investing in the future of agriculture in South Africa. Through this initiative, local employment is created through an eco-friendly sustainable urban farming solution that provides an abundance of healthy food, farmed by the community for the community.
This serves as an opportunity to develop a model that can be replicated across L2D’s portfolio, further creating a holistic and unique shopping experience that brings communities together and promotes healthy eating and the overall wellness of the people of South Africa. Furthermore, the chosen location of the centre’s rooftop enables the greatest exposure to the catchment area, affording shoppers ease of access to the organically designed and operated farm that supports the natural ecosystem.
With global climate change already having observable effects on the environment, Managing Director of Ichthys, Justin Hess adds “The chemicals and synthetic fertilisers used in conventional farming, as well as excess water usage, carbon heavy distribution and plastic packaging of produce has become increasingly more harmful to both our environment and to our health. So, what we do is offer the ultimate solution to sustainable farming through aquaponics. We are excited to be showcasing the future of food production that is affordable, sustainable, certified by nature and educational alongside Eastgate Shopping Centre.”
Eastgate’s Aquaponics Farm District will see; the usage of natural sources of energy, the use of 90% less water than conventional farming methods, the elimination of waste produced by aquaculture systems and regular hydroponic systems, the reduction of carbon emissions as there is no need for road distribution, the production of 100% natural food that tastes great and is healthy and the elimination of the use of plastic packaging and offsetting CO2 and creating a cleaner area around the farm.
“We are pleased to be taking yet another significant step towards reducing our carbon footprint and preserving the environment for future generations, while inspiring change and providing a platform that enables shoppers to be educated and inspired to be the change” Amelia concludes.