Do you have green fingers and a flourishing herb or veggie garden? Then you’re right on trend! Urban farming, vertical gardening, and foraging are becoming more and more popular, and rightly so; self-sufficiency could be the key to the future.

The Westin wanted a way to embrace the trends in their own ‘backyard’. In September 2012, they established a rooftop garden as an eco-friendly resource. The garden provides organic, nutritionally dense produce that the hotel can use and control independently.


The rooftop garden falls in line with the hotel’s Well-Being Movement, which inspires guests to discover new approaches to well-being. The initiative features The Westin’s six pillars of well-being: Sleep Well, Eat Well, Move Well, Feel Well, Work Well and Play Well.

The garden consists of a number of vertical planters. An automated drip irrigation system collects excess water, which is pumped into the planters at the top of the wall. These plants use what they need and the rest of the water drips down to the plants beneath. The rooftop is also home to a small-scale wormery where kitchen food waste becomes organic fertiliser for the garden.

Marcelle Warner is a herbologist who helped to establish the garden, and still maintains it. Marcelle runs Vertical Veg, a company that manufactures the wall pocket panels that are used in the rooftop garden.

ON19 restaurant harvests all its fresh herbs, and where possible, vegetables and edible flowers from the rooftop garden. Executive Chef, Grant Cullingworth and Chef de Cuisine, Anerith Tamsyn Smythe, believe that the garden allows them to offer unique dishes and beautiful garnishes.


You may never have a chance to visit the small rooftop garden but you can enjoy the ‘farm to plate’ style dining experience at ON19 restaurant. Also, check out the Westin’s SuperFoods RX, the Eat Well menu for kids, and Fresh by The Juicery to see a selection of nutritious and satisfying options. If you are looking for a special occasion, book an ON19 Full Moon dinner and connect with the cosmos.

When ON19 Restaurant: Open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch, and dinner
Where The Westin, Convention Square, Lower Long Street, CBD
Cost According to menu
Contact On19 Restaurant bookings: +27 21 412 9999,

Photography courtesy author

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