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Just Organics - A Systems-Based Organic Recycling and Food Initiative In The Heart Of The Western Cape

We aim to make organic waste separation and collections an efficient and affordable system to prevent organic waste from going to landfill.

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Lead Applicant Organization Name

ZERI

Lead Applicant Organization Type

  • Small NGO (under 50 employees)

If part of a multi-stakeholder entity (i.e. team), provide the names of other organizations and types of stakeholders collaborating with you.

ZERO WASTE TO LANDFILL TECHNOLOGIES GCX AFRICA www.gcx.co.za WASTE PLAN www.wasteplan.co.za

Website of Legally Registered Entity

www.zerinetwork.org www.blueeconomy.org

How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?

  • 1-3 years

Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?

Cape Town

Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?

South Africa

Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?

Cape Town where we collect the food waste is 400.28 km2. Our biodigester, compost facility and organic farm is on 4ha with access to 80ha.

What country is your selected Place located in?

South Africa

Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.

In a country with 30% unemployment rates, severe malnutrition and landfills almost at capacity it is crucial that the food system is redesigned. Cape Town is home for our team and the Western Cape has implemented a 100% ban on organic waste to landfill by 2027, with a half-way target of 50% by 2022. The city wants solutions to assist with diverting organic waste from landfill and the unique demographics and economic scenery allow for novel and varied approaches.  


Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.

There are various issues in South Africa which are cause for alarm. Declining farming profitability and water scarcity (drought, declining rainfall or over-demand for water) have left South Africa with less than two-thirds of the number of farms it had in the early 1990s. While we cannot eliminate the problems, we can go a long way to making a difference about them in our area - Cape Town and the Overberg area. By helping to revive the local economy with systems thinking, through sustainability and social enterprise models, we aim to focus on making food circular in our city.

The community in the Overberg region we have decided to involve in our project are something of an exiled community and as such will be dramatically affected by the results of the project on an ongoing basis.  Because the project aims to bring training, employment and entrepreneurial opportunities to the community, we will be reviving the local economy.  There is an opportunity to change the skills set of the general population from farmworker, to farm manager, and eventually farm owner. There will be both a current and generational impact because there are many spin-offs to be had from the project.


What is the approximate size of your Place, in square kilometers? (New question, not required)

400

What is the estimated population (current 2020) in your Place?

4620000

Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.

Environment: Droughts, depleted soil, landfills at capacity


Economics: A country with 30% unemployment rates


Diets: A population malnourished due to low income and poverty


Policy: 100% ban on organic waste to landfill by 2027, with a half-way target of 50% by 2022


By implementing our food waste vision, all the above challenges are addressed through a system that tackles and supports the individual themes.

Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.

Environment: By collecting organic waste in Cape Town and diverting it from landfill to our biodigester, we are able to create liquid fertilizer and compost for the depleted soils, gas for our collection trucks, gas for the neighbouring township and avoid the methane production caused by food in landfills.


Economics: Create training and economic opportunities in the agribusiness sector. The food waste collections will be implemented as a social enterprise model, through driver ownership, providing dignified employment for disadvantaged communities. The sustainable farm, will assist our beneficiary communities to create and sustain small-scale farms to supply good quality produce and to, simultaneously, improve socio-economic conditions in the area in the medium-to-long-term. 


Diets: Creating sustainable community farms to provide affordable nutrition for disadvantaged communities, with educational outreach of organic waste management and food gardens.


Policy: Our vision will create a sustainable and economically viable system to assist in diverting all organic waste from landfill, meeting the Western Capes 2027 ban on organic waste going to landfill. 

High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.

Using this project, and those emanating therefrom, as platforms to bring transformation to participants at a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual level, thereby positively impacting on themselves and their family circles, as well as everyone in the communities they touch.

Environmentally we have the opportunity to regenerate our precious topsoils and in return sequester more C02 gases, prevent future droughts and reduce organic waste rotting in landfills releasing methane into the atmosphere.

Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?

Just Organics is a not for profit initiative by our team as part of our Closed-Loop Africa vision. Our partners already have the tender for two Biodigester facilities in Cape Town and the Overberg. We aim to make organic waste separation and collections an efficient and affordable system to prevent organic waste going to landfill as currently there is a struggle to get the volumes to the facilities that we can process.

Our key strategy is to collect locally through a social enterprise, driver ownership model. The model is economically sustained through a gate fee, the same gate fee already being paid at the landfill.

Once the organic waste comes to our facility, the biodigester processes it into various components. The biogas produced currently supports the local community. A compressed biogas system will be installed to run the trucks on bio-gas creating a carbon-neutral collections model. The digestate will be separated into a liquid fraction for a natural fertilizer, while the solid fraction will go towards our community composting and farming hub project. 

Project Objectives

Project Objectives of The Farming Hub

The objectives of the Just Organics Project include:

  • Job and venture creation, thus uplifting the target community and reviving the local economy with the purpose of sustainability and growth, thereby improving the standard of living of our target community and their families by alleviating poverty and hunger

  • To create numerous education, training and entrepreneurial opportunities in agribusiness

  • To apprentice and train individuals from the area to plan, implement and manage a small scale mixed farm and, eventually, to assist each successful participant to start and manage a small-scale mixed produce farm, independent from us.


  • To help, as far as possible, to alleviate the many social and domestic issues arising as a result of the dire socio-economic situation in our target communities


  • Provide education and training to bring the group (predominantly women) up to world standard in small–scale farming methodology (we will be using UN, FAO and WWF Standards)


  • To provide scholarships for the children of participants to ensure that the next generation produces skills which can continue to improve their own lives and that of people in the area

  • To grow good quality food crops and to sell them at a reasonable rate, to assist consumers in the area

  • To provide community members with a healthier, organic alternative to what is available in the area

  • To expand and create business and marketing opportunities for fresh, good quality organic produce in the greater Cape Peninsula area and Overberg and increase the number of small-scale and commercial farms within a generation

  • Create a vibrant agricultural co-operative, where participants can bring their crops thus strengthening the sector

  • Change the situation for women in the area from subsistence to active agri-business and to use the money generated to create ongoing assured empowerment and change particularly  for women and children in the area

  • To improve soil quality and keep the area clear of invasive species to safeguard water in the area

  • To utilize our produce in at least 10% of the restaurants on the Atlantic and Western Seaboards  and Southern Cape within the first two years of operation and to increase the efficiency of our production by about 12% per year

Empowerment

A major objective is to train more female farmers and food growers and increase participation in this sector with a view to assisting successful trainees to establish small scale farms specialising in food production to create more options in the local market. The main aim of this aspect of the project is to empower, train and uplift farmworkers in a development project that would give them food security, agricultural training and a share of a business. As mentioned previously, to go from working on a farm to owning a farm and producing food for the public is quite a journey for each of these participants.

The group will be trained in:

  • basic land clearing and planning, 
  • soil care, 
  • layout of growing areas, 
  • seedbed preparation and fertilizing, 
  • companion planting, 
  • plant care, 
  • plant disease & biological (non-chemical) pest control
  • harvesting, 
  • handling of the crop 
  • marketing the produce

Simultaneously, we will start a number of initiatives for the production of organic fertiliser, composting, and post digested mass from our biogas system. Our model can be scaled and expedited into Gauteng and Durban regions shortly after. 

How did you hear about the Food System Vision Prize?

  • Instagram
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Attachments (5)

Farming Development Project Proposal 2020.pdf

The farming vision we wish to support with our compost and digestate. We have access to 80 hectares for this project.

Bio-digester plant.pdf

This is about one of the bio-digeters our team has acquired.

Vehicle cost template 4 ton vehicle v2 (2).xlsx

Proof our model is economically viable and sustainable as a social enterprise initiative.

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