Empowering a sustainable future through hydroponic technology

As our world becomes increasingly aware of the impact of our actions on the environment, the need for sustainable and environmentally conscious solutions for our homes has become more of a focus. Showcasing their innovative and revolutionary HandPicked Programme at the East Coast Radio House + Garden Show this year, The Mr Price Foundation is leading the way to a more sustainable future with its ground-breaking agri-solution system that empowers a new generation of sustainable Agripreneurs and Homegrowers through the use of hydroponic technology and vertical farming.

From stimulating local jobs, promoting sustainability  and in turn tackling food insecurity to through community food production, the Mr Price Foundation’s HandPicked agri-skills development programme is transforming the way we think about agriculture. “Through the HandPicked Programme, growers learn essential life skills, crop growth production, farming and agriculture management, economics, and agribusiness. This knowledge empowers the youth and communities to become self-sufficient while equipping them with the skills to start and manage their own agricultural businesses,” says Karen Wells, head of the Mr Price Foundation.

“We have partnered with The African Grower System and Freshlife Produce to create a programme that promotes sustainable and environmentally friendly farming methods. This method of farming involves planting crops in vertical towers using coconut coir as the growing medium. The system is highly efficient and eco-conscious, using less water and space than traditional farming methods, and maximising scarce resources in urban and rural environments,” adds David Churchman, head of Finance and HandPicked at the Mr Price Foundation.

The positive impact of the programme can already be seen in communities and schools across the country including Vukuziphathe and Peaceville Primary School’s in Hammarsdale, where growing tunnels where installed. Only three years since its inception, the programme has already trained 27 home growers,facilitated 10 tertiary students in its 12-month internship programme and established 3 Agri-businesses. Six community farming hubs have emerged and a feather in its cap is the first retail rooftop farm  in the Western Cape at the Kenilworth Mall.. 

Cairey Baxter-Bruce, Show Director of the East Coast Radio House + Garden Show says, “This eco-friendly method of agriculture has the potential to transform how we see our home gardens. It enables us to grow our own herbs, plants and flowers using sustainable methods in small spaces. One of the key pillars within this year’s show theme ‘My Home, My Way’ is around ‘My Sustainable Living’. We believe that by promoting environmentally conscious practices like Mr Price Foundation’s HandPicked initiative has the ability to transform traditional gardening methods and encourage the enhancement of green spaces in our homes. By using their methods of farming, we re-envision what is possible in our homes and gardens and how it can contribute to a more sustainable future.”

David Churchman further added, “The East Coast Radio House + Garden Show is the perfect platform to showcase the HandPicked initiative and to raise awareness around sustainable agriculture. Our Agripreneurs  will be at the show to inspire more people to adopt sustainable farming practices and to support local food production. The team will demonstrate just how easy it is to get started in your own home growing journey”.

Support HandPicked at this year’s East Coast Radio House + Garden Show from 1 – 9 July 2023 and take your first step towards a more sustainable future. You can also visit www.mrpricefoundation.org/handpicked or for more information on the African Grower System, go to www.africangrower.com.