Our "green" AgriSPACE campus

AgriBioTech Non Profit Company

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Our new premises!

The AgriSPACE Campus.

South Africa is in the midst of challenging energy and water supply shortages. The economy is in trouble and organisations such as ours, that provide our talents and passion to rural development, need to ensure their own survival not only through providing excellent services and programmes, but also by looking at alternative ways to ensure their viability - one such way is to cut costs without losing valuable skills or team members.



We decided to embark on a new adventure by selling our offices in the town of Kokstad (southern KwaZulu-Natal) in South Africa and took on the task of renovating an old corrugated iron barn into our new "green" space - located on a small farm outside of Kokstad. The construction started in April 2015 and the team moved into the new facility in December 2015.
The new building sports an 8KVA solar grid to inverter and battery bank which has been designed around our current energy use, so although we have a "grid-tie" system, we will essentially never need it - we are completely independent as regards power. Furthermore, two 10 000L rainwater tanks were installed which service the ablutions and drinking water. Kokstad can get very cold, so we installed a 1926 ARCO wood-burning stove the chimney of which has been fitted with a flange for water which can be heated and circulated under the cement slab floor. The property contains invasive wattle species which are cleared and used as the firewood for this stove.

Since much of our work entails agricultural and entrepreneurship training, we generate a lot of paper. Instead of sending this to landfill we have strapped this paper into "paper bricks" which we have used as insulation on several of the internal walls. Our existing bookshelves were given a new coat of paint and these line a further wall for insulation. The ceiling has been insulated with green insulation fibre and isoboard. All the windows that were in the building were re-used in new ways and the exterior was given a modern look using left-over paint (our homage to Mondrian and his love of trees).
The new facility has saved on operational costs and has opened up the opportunity to implement our new AgriBioTech entrepreneurial incubator. Furthermore, Scientific Roets is mobilizing to meet the new needs of the Learning Landscape in South Africa. Being located on the farm puts us closer to developing the Practical Assessment Centre of Excellence (the PACE part of AgriSPACE) allowing us to provide practical training opportunities to our learners. Fields include: small stock, fruit, vegetable (conventional and hydroponics) and poultry production.

Several Scientific Roets team members are accommodated on the farm, making true country life a new and exciting change for several of the team!

Further opportunities that will be developed at AgriSPACE include technologically-oriented training courses as well as Research Management training courses for CPD points to Natural Scientists.




The opportunity to develop the entire "Scientific Estate" as a "Science Tourism" destination is also being discussed with several funders and partners.