Helping vegetable grower, while preventing waste

South African cannabis grower helps community garden through donations of coco coir

A Johannesburg-based medical cannabis cultivation company is helping a community garden grow bigger and better vegetables through donations of its nutrient-rich coco coir medium that's then mixed with regular soil.

The business specializing in the cultivation of pharmaceutical-grade cannabis flowers that are high in THC and rich in cannabinoids and terpenes is MedCan. The concept for the business started back in 2016, but it was only in 2020, once licensed for cultivation by the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA), that the facility began to operate.

Relying on coco coir does present one major drawback, especially for cultivators who pride their operations on sustainable practices: it can't be reused for more than a single crop. "You harvest, but you can't reuse that medium because it's got roots inside, and we need to replant," explained Zollmann.

"That medium, if it's sent to a landfill, is terrible for the environment because it's got all this carbon, and it's just going to be sitting in a landfill. So, instead of just tossing it away, we donate it." This used coco coir medium ends up in the hands of Moses Dumisani "Scotch" Madhlophe, who runs a community garden in Katlehong, south of Johannesburg.

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