About Siyakhana

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About Siyakhana

Siyakhana – which means ‘We build one another’ – provides an environment and culture of thinking about humanity, compassion and goodness.
In the middle of Bezuidenhout Park within the inner city of Johannesburg, Prof Michael Rudolph, together with colleagues and community representatives, established Siyakhana Food Garden.
Siyakhana is not only a food garden where you can buy your weekly organic greens… It is also platform for research and training. Collaborating with Universities, Corporates, academics and volunteers we are tackling the food crisis in South Africa by providing a sustainable approach to food garden and food security and hopefully spreading what we have learned and built to the greater South African communities who are deprived of daily sustenance.

Since inception in 2005:

  • An arid and unproductive plot of land was transformed into a flourishing oasis.
  • Unemployed and unskilled job-seekers transformed into urban agriculturists, trainers and entrepreneurs

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Siyakhana Organic Food Garden was established in 2005. Siyakhana which means ‘building one another’, provides an environment, a system and a culture of thinking about humanity, compassion, and goodness. In the middle of Bezuidenhout Park within the inner city of Johannesburg.

The garden was established by Professor Michael Rudolph, together with colleagues and community representatives. Siyakhana is not only a food garden where you can buy produces (organic greens, compost, worm tea and mulch). It is also a platform for research, training, advocacy and connecting people, communities, and organizations.

Since its inception in 2005, an arid and unproductive plot of land was transformed into a flourishing oasis. We have built capacity, transferred a range of skills and knowledge, and provided many jobs for previous unemployed people and unskilled labour/artisans through training and practical experience and development.

Our Milestones

  • Transforming a dumpsite into a flourishing garden
  • Transforming mindsets with regards to health and nutrition
  • Transforming unemployment into entrepreneurial opportunities and employment
  • Transforming entrenched attitudes into sustainable practices
  • Number of lives impacted- Through all our projects Siyakhana has directly and indirectly impacted and influenced the lives of more than 100 000 people, nationally, in southern Africa and amongst students at a global level.
  • Total number of gardens installed- Siyakhana has setup 14 model organic food gardens in various sites.

What we do

Drop down arrow> Siyakhana Organic food garden> Siyakhana Training Academy > SGD NPO > Research & Development

Siyakhana Organic Food Garden

The Siyakhana Organic Food Garden is our flagship project. It is regarded as one of the most successful urban food gardens in the wider Johannesburg Metropole, as well as a hallmark of intersectoral collaboration. This is largely because of its mission to make far-reaching impacts at local, provincial, and national levels. It is not simply just a garden; it is also serves as a platform for other activities that address the following key objectives:

  • Improving the availability of a wide variety of organically grown nutritious food.
  • Offering training to develop capacity among emerging leaders in food security, urban and small holder farming, and health
  • Conducting relevant and appropriate action-research that is influencing policy and strategic interventions
  • Engaging in advocacy and networking activities
  • Achieving financial sustainability through a self-funding social entrepreneurship model through multiple revenue streams.
  • Creating awareness and education
  • Building social capital
  • Integrated approach to address the water energy food nexus
  • Effective use of public open spaces
  • School visits
  • etc

Revenue streams include sales of:

  • Worm tea (organic fertilizer)
  • Organic Fresh Produce
  • Wooden Planter Boxes
  • Seedlings
  • Topsoil compost
  • Ecotourism Programme consists of educational tour and activities around the garden

Garden Operating hours

  • Monday to Friday 08h00-16h00
  • Saturday 08h00-13h00
  • Sunday 08h00-13h00

Siyakhana Training Academy  

Siyakhana Training Academy (STA) aims to position itself where staff, students, and various stakeholders (community, universities, government. NGOs) work in a collaborative environment to create rich, engaged learning, capacity building and practical learning experiences. STA, builds vital community partnerships, and invites individuals to become members of an intellectually diverse, active learning community. STA is an essential part of the Siyakhana Growth and Development NPO vision to address food and nutrition insecurity in the most vulnerable households, communities, schools, university campuses clinics thereby creating sustainable subsistence and or livelihoods by training, teaching, mentoring and creating supportive environments which will encourage adopting, applying and integrating new skills, knowledge and behavior change in the communities in which the interventions are being implemented. The Siyakhana Initiative has been for the past sixteen  years developing and continues to develop relevant, efficient and effective solutions to address these issues. Our approaches are to enhance food and nutrition security and smallholder livelihoods by promoting farmer-led innovation and entrepreneurship for sustainable intensification of agriculture and equitable value-chain participation. This can only be done through appropriate training and capacity building.

 AgriSETA Accredited Courses Level (1-5)

The Siyakhana initiative is committed to expanding the adoption of permaculture, sustainable livelihoods, and health- promoting wellness skills. We provide training to members of the public interested in urban permaculture gardening, food production, renewable energy technologies, nutrition, physical activity, and health promotion.

The courses below are fully accredited by AgriSETA and we intend to expand our AgriSETA accredited courses to include National Certificate In Horticulture NQF level 3 and National Diploma in Plant Productional level 5 AgriSeta long-term courses.

Unit standard Description NQF Level Credits Duration
20290 National Certificate: Farming 4 131 12 months
66589 National Certificate: Horticulture 2 120 12 months
48971 National Certificate: Mixed farming system 1 120 12 months
4872 National Certificate: Plant Production 2 120 12 months


AgriSeta Accredited short term course

Unit standard   NQF level Credits Duration
116124 Apply Pest Control Practices 1 3 days
116053 Understanding Basic Fertility and Plant Nutrition 2 4 days
116119 Plant Propagation 2 3 days
116311 Provide Nutrition to Plants 4 3 days
116309 Implement integrated farm layout & site selection 4 6 days
116319 Prepare a whole farm budget and establish a proper integrated information system for an agribusiness enterprise 4 6 days

Minimum Requirements for Registration for AgriSeta Accredited Courses

Long-term courses

  • Grade 8 and above
  • For those without grade 8 and above- Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) in form letter from employer or recommendation from authority
  • ABET level 1

Short-term courses

  • Grade 8 and above
  • For those without grade 8 and above- Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) in form letter from employer or recommendation from authority
  • ABET level 1

The following courses are in the process of being registered with Agriseta

Non- accredited professional short-term courses

The courses below are not yet accredited by a SETA or equivalent body, but have been offered by Siyakhana . We have rich course material which we intend get accredited with respective bodies, Food and Safety SETA. These include Food security, Health Promotion and Entrepreneurship development.

(i)Food Security

§  Module 1- What is Food and Nutrition Security

§  Module 2- Food systems

§  Module 3- Food Policy and Governance

§  Module 4 – Research and Knowledge Management for Food Security


§  Module 1- Elements of Permaculture

§  Module 2- Organic gardens for Rural and Urban setting

§  Module 3- organic seed propagation

(iii)Health promotion
(iv)Entrepreneurship Development


SGD (Siyakhana Growth and Development) NPO Projects

The SGD NPO projects address food insecurity in various schools and institutions across South and Southern Africa. These include regions as North West, Free State, Eastern Cape, Gauteng & Mpumalanga. In the past several years we have effectively implemented the University Food Security Support Programme at five universities across South Africa supported by Tiger brands group. The universities are North West, Nelson Mandela, Free State, Wits and university of Johannesburg. We have set up organic food gardens which complement the Tiger brand’s Food Parcel Scheme, providing food to thousands of students. We have also initiated cross-disciplinary research and an approach to food security, as well as appropriate training.

 University of Free state

The project consists of two large food tunnels providing an educational intervention that address addresses student food insecurity on campus and by extension food insecurity challenges at students’ homes, towns, and villages. In addition, these tunnels are an accessible source of fresh produce that is distributed to students who are food insecure.

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Gauteng project

University of Johannesburg Doornfontein Campus

The project started July 2019, it consists of Hydroponics systems at PEETS and 150 m2 organic food garden. The main objective of this project is to address food insecurity amongst students at UJ campuses and promote students and staff engagement, offer training and making access to fresh vegetables accessible.

Produce is donated to Malaika Orphanage Centre based in Hillbrow, UJ staff and students. The Centre is dedicated to caring and empowering vulnerable children in communities.

Hydroponics is a method of growing plants in water based nutrient rich solution, it does not use soil, instead the root system is supported using a growing medium such as vermiculite or clay pellets.

The objective is to use this method as a learning facility and demonstration of various ways to grow your vegetables.

Boys and Girls Club, Bertrams, Joburg

The Boys and Girls club food garden started August 2019, the objective of the gardens is to promote health, nutrition and behaviour change in amongst the participants. Boys and Girls is a after School programme club with 350 pupils, 5 educators and support staff. SGD has successfully established an educational and productive organic food garden at the Boys and Girls Club in Bertrams. The garden is a platform for learning for children attending the after-school programmes and volunteers and community members. The project was funded by Nandos South Africa.

Eastern Cape School Projects

The school project in a three-year projected aimed at assisting in the rural 3 schools in the rural area of Eastern Cape. The project is based in Gwebinkundla JS school, Mqanduli Js school and Bijolo Js School are in the King Sabata Dalindyebo Local Municipality in the OR Tabo District Municipality of the Eastern Cape.

The purpose of the project includes establishing food gardens, adequate water, and sanitation systems. However, these interventions will also serve as a platform for other activities that will address food and nutrition security and behavioral interventions for marginalized rural communities of South Africa. The main objectives include.

  • Improving availability of a wide variety of goods and nutritious for the school children, teachers, and local communities.
  • Installing good water and sanitation systems
  • Offering training to develop capacity among local gardens, health promotion, entrepreneurship, and sustainable livelihoods.
  • Providing safe alternative energy sources
  • Engaging in advocacy and networking activities
  • Achieving food production viability and sustainability through producing own food
  • Conducting and documenting relevant rural communities in South Africa, thus influencing policy and strategies
  • Setting up income generating streams

Oppenheimer Generation/Randjesfontein Community Garden  

Community garden with 10 inviduals from different local  NGOs and churches around and close to Tembisa. Project started June 2021 to current. The Randjesfontein community garden is a three-year project aimed at assisting people around Tembisa area.

Our aims are to:

  • Creation of sustainable jobs
  • Promote public and environmental health.
  • Enhance entrepreneurship.
  • Support and enable sustainable small holder enterprises.





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