JHB academics to initiate an ambitious urban farming project

Two University of Johannesburg lecturers have embarked on a multi-stakeholder engagement project that aims to create opportunities for urban agriculture – in a sustainable food system for Soweto.

The project, titled Izindaba Zokudla (Conversations about Food) is part of the university’s Design Society Development within the faculty of art, design and architecture.

The pilot project is co-headed by Naudé Malan of the department of anthropology and development studies and Angus Campbell of the department of industrial design.

This comes after Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Deputy Minister Bheki Cele said the sector was an ideal vehicle for job creation.

The sector is expected to create 1 million jobs over the next 16 years. Campbell said the city of Johannesburg is in the process of implementing an urban agriculture policy as part of a larger food security initiative.

“This policy creates opportunities for multi-stakeholder engagement, and the Izindaba Zokudla project is aimed at creating engagement between urban farmers, stakeholders and the city.”

Campbell said, that the project would be an “innovation in the food system” of Soweto. “Soweto residents are growing cabbage, kale, spinach and other vegetables in their yards. The project not only markets urban farmers in Soweto but increases the urban farmer’s opportunities for retail,” he said.

The project draws on participatory research to build the capacity of farmers’ organisations; to facilitate engagement with food enterprises in the city; and to use design and technology development as a means to improve agricultural practices.

In 2013, a strategic plan for a farmers’ organisation was developed, and the plan implemented this year included references to a farmers market, land tenure issues in the city, developing a technology development workshop and creating opportunities for students to conduct academic research on aspects of sustainable food system change.

 

SA the Good News via the New Age