Ashleigh Machete, co-founder of Jozi Food Farmer (JFF), is one such green-fingered entrepreneur who has helped transform numerous unused inner-city spaces, from rooftops to alleyways, into micro-farms and gardens growing herbs and lettuces. The JFF Rooftop in Braamfontein is Ashleigh’s first public rooftop garden, a space which is part plant nursery and part teahouse.
Situated on a first floor rooftop in the courtyard behind Kalashnikovv contemporary art gallery at 70 Juta Street, JFF Rooftop is accessed by a short ladder (we advise women to think twice about wearing a skirt!) at the top of which is a serene green plant nursery with a handful of benches and tables shaded by umbrellas.
Aimed at urban gardeners with balcony and patio gardens there’s a beautiful collection of unusual aloes and cacti on sale as well as larger house plants. There's also a free gardening talk every Tuesday afternoon from 4pm where you can learn more about how to care for your house plants and a monthly plant night market.
Manning the cute tea stall is fellow gardening enthusiast Negin Monkoe who will ensure your cup of tea or herbal infusion stays topped up while talking you through the delights of the rooftop garden. If you’re having trouble with your garden at home we also recommend bringing a picture along to ask Monkoe for advice - there’s nothing that this pair love more than talking plants.
The perfect place to take time out from the city the brief menu lists cold drinks (including ice tea of course), a selection of loose teas and herbal infusions made using fresh lemon verbena and peppermint plucked straight from the garden.