South Africa: Rooftop food-growing system spreads throughout SA

Louis-Gillis Janse van Rensburg, the founder of Fresh Life Produce, has always yearned to have his own business. Reasoning that there was a need for innovative solutions in the agriculture sector and wanting to contribute to food security in South Africa, he finally launched his company in 2016.

His first attempt used an aquaponics production system, but this failed to meet his expectations. “It was relatively expensive and needed a constant power supply and a high level of skill to operate. I needed something simpler so that more people could benefit from it,” he recalls.

With the help of his father, Rensie, who worked at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, and his mother, Helene, a retired teacher, he went on to design and develop a unique vertical-growing system called the African Grower.

His first major client was the South African National Defence Force, which wanted to upskill its reserve force members and was looking for a way to privatize its kitchens by sourcing food from these growers.


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