FreshMinistries, a Florida-based non-profit organization, is nearing completion of an aquaponics project in South Africa as part of its Desmond Tutu Program to End World Hunger.
The Rev. Dr. Robert V. Lee III, Founder, and CEO of FreshMinistries, reports that the aquaponics system is located behind the Acorns to Oaks Comprehensive High School in Acornhoek, Mpumalanga.
Lee added that the 6,000 square-foot greenhouse system, which has room for expansion, is a joint venture of FreshMinistries and Conservation South Africa. It will add up to four permanent employees. Local students will be able to learn about and work in the system.
FreshMinistries is a 501(c)3 outreach organization working to eliminate extreme poverty by empowering communities and the local economy, helping individuals reach their full potential. This project is supported by the community and government of Mpumalanga and other partners.
Incorporated in 1989 and launched in 1994, FreshMinistries focuses on sustainable outreach in Jacksonville, Florida, and throughout the world through programs to teach financial literacy, life skills, job preparation, business incubation, and other initiatives to enhance the quality of life in impoverished and crime-ridden neighborhoods.
Regarding the project, Lee noted that training would be deeply incorporated into the system's operation, as one of its primary objectives is to provide technical and professional training to both students and entrepreneurs.
The facility will function as both an education site for those interested in learning about aquaponics or starting an agribusiness and serve as a production facility to provide healthy produce to the school and local businesses.
“In a region with an increasingly high unemployment rate, which is environmentally dependent when it comes to large-scale food production, this aquaponics facility will provide year-round access to practical job training and quality food for the community,” Lee said.
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