Siyakhana Permaculture Design

The term permaculture combines the words permanent and agriculture. Permaculture principles are based on close observation of nature, traditional sustainable agriculture systems, earth sciences and common sense. Permaculture also includes design principles, whether its for your food garden or a building.  Siyakana is a research programme using permaculture principles for growing food, and building ecologically friendly dwellings. It is based in Bezuidenhout Park in Johannesburg and houses 3 ecological buildings. The principles applied to both food sustainability and to erecting the buildings can be transferred and applied successfully to rural settings.


The Siyakhana Permaculture Food Garden has been operational since 2005, making it one of Johannesburg's best and longest running food garden examples. The 2-hectare garden is located in Bezuidenhout Park.Siyakhana is considered a hallmark of agro-ecology in the wider Johannesburg area and is one of the most prominent sites for an integrated approach for urban food production. 

The food garden uses the principles of permaculture gardening and produces food and herbs to address the needs of hundreds of disadvantaged inner-city beneficiaries.  What was once a patch of ugly inner city ground has been vividly transformed with permaculture gardening techniques and a great deal of effort! 

At Siyakhana we aim to develop a sustainable and productive environment for the improvement of the health, social and economic status of South African communities, particularly women. Ultimately, we intend to establish a healthy inner city environmental and recreational site based on designs and methods that may be replicated in other inner city communities.

Siyakhana showcases ecological gardening practices using the Permaculture model. Siyakhana offers courses to the public in urban permaculture food gardening. If you are interested in doing a course, then join our mailing list and keep informed of when our next courses will be running. Alternatively contact us to enquiry about our contracted training services. 

Siyakhana Garden is a demonstration site for Permaculture and ecological technologies, which help Siyakhana move towards a more sustainable closed-loop system. Siyakhana’s ecological technologies include:

 A state of the art field office and ablutions designed and built by a local eco technician. The energy efficient building uses a combination of timber frame with infill panels made from a mix of highly-insulating grasses and soils—most of which were harvested on-site. The office is north-facing with skylights and opaque windows that allow passive solar gain in wintertime, maximizing solar energy to heat and illuminate the structure. Due to all of these elements the building has a very low carbon footprint.

Ecological ablutions constructed primarily of natural materials and using solar gain to heat water and drive convection in the composting toilets, which are based on an ecological sanitation model. This technology allows safe reclaim waste for use as fertilizer, and utilise shower and basin water in irrigation.

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