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The cook who creates feasts from fynbos

Loubie Rusch grew up chomping on plants characteristic of the Cape Floristic Region. Rich, nutritious, but largely forgotten, Rusch believes that local indigenous plant ingredients may hold the key to restoring damaged landscapes, improving poor nutrition and improving resilience to climate change. Virtually absent from the...

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Tiny farms on a large scale

by Ryan Meiring Allan Savory’s theories and beliefs developed and evolved over a lifetime in the field were met, for many years, with resistance. It wasn’t until his TED talk went viral that the scientific community really started to take notice and that his principles for...

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Collaborative platforms

As part of recent research conducted by Incite on behalf of the Southern Africa Food Lab and WWF South Africa, a comprehensive global review of health-related collaborative platforms and types of action involving industry participation was undertaken. The review found that industry players across the food, beverage...

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An appetite for collaboration

“Public-private collaboration is essential if we hope to effectively address the negative outcomes of our food systems, starting with the nutritional siege our children are under,” says Tatjana von Bormann, Senior Manager of WWF South Africa’s Policy and Futures Unit. This is the key message of...

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The lady who planted a farm in a plastic bag

As the old saying goes, ‘If life gives you lemons, make lemonade’. The story of Umgibe is the inspirational triumph-against-all-odds tale of a woman who decided not only to make organic lemonade (metaphorically speaking), but to teach more than 600 others to do the same....

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Turning waste into food for thought – and tummies

Food is a big part of who we are as humans. One study shows that the average American will spend more than 32 000 hours of their life eating and drinking. Gulp! At school, we learn about food as a means of sustenance and health. As...

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The law must change to enable donation of tonnes of food going to waste

It is estimated that a staggering one in five South African households is food insecure with more than 13 million South Africans routinely experiencing hunger. This, in contravention of our Constitution, which enshrines access to food as a right. In light of this and of our...

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Guidance to CT’s urban farmers

Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest rate of urbanization in the world, exacerbating issues of food and nutrition security and resulting, at least in part, in a worrying trend of increased incidences of non-communicable diseases. With their relative lack of space and infrastructure, access to adequate and...

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Looking in the mirror: Effective evaluation of social labs

Three students from the USA, Germany and Vietnam, recently completed a Masters Thesis which looks at ways that social labs like the Southern Africa Food Lab are and could be evaluated. It was written as part of the Master´s program “Strategic Leadership towards Sustainability”, a...

Food Innovation Learning Journey

When corporate staff from the South African finance sector arrived at Spier wine farm and were loaded into the back tray of Farmer Angus’ giant farm truck, they immediately knew they were in for something different. On 30 January 2018 the Food Lab facilitated a...

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Fostering coherence in food security policy

The Southern Africa Food Lab, in partnership with The Presidency, recently hosted a dialogue to foster coherence in South Africa food security policy. The dialogue was attended by 30 government officials and academics including representatives from DPME, DAFF, DCE, GDE, DBE, DEA, The Department of...

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Food Lab learnings presented at Harvard workshop

Ralph Hamann, Research Director at UCT’s Graduate School of Business and a member of the Southern Africa Food Lab’s advisory board, recently returned from a Harvard Workshop on Cross-Sector Innovation where he presented a paper based on the experiences of the Food Lab. “Through an indepth analysis...

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Food Lab’s smallholder work recognized by UN programme

The Southern Africa Food Lab’s work addressing smallholder development through dialogue and social innovation in the SA food system has been recognized by the UN’s 10-year framework of programmes (10YFP) on sustainable consumption and production patterns within their Sustainable Food Systems Programme. The project is now...

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Food policy and nutrition economics in the SDG era

The importance of nutrition in development is undisputed, and yet it is only in recent years that it has been taken seriously. Why is this? Professor Sheryl Hendricks recently explored this question in the Agricultural Economics Association of South Africa’s Tomlinson Commemorative Lecture at the University...

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Cheap meat comes at a cost

The identification of the source of the Listeriosis outbreak which has swept through the nation killing 180 people to date, has seen a wide-scale recall of polony, Russians and viennas over the past week. The outbreak, which the World Health Organization is calling the largest...

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National Seed Dialogue celebrates smallholder farmers

During December, the Food Lab participated in a national seed dialogue and celebration hosted by the African Centre for Biodiversity at Constitution Hill. The purpose of the event was to celebrate the role of smallholder farmers in maintaining and nurturing seed and life in South Africa...