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The township food revolution has started

By Magnificent Mndebele Food For Mzansi has enabled me to tell the stories of a series of tumultuous agricultural journeys and successes of black urban farmers around Gauteng. However, a considerable number of these unsung agricultural heroes and heroines sing appreciation hymns to someone who has never...

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In memory of Prof David Sanders

The Southern Africa Food Lab mourns the sudden passing of public health activist and teacher Professor David Sanders. His passing leaves a huge gap in the fight to address the unprecedented levels of obesity and stunting in South Africa which continues have such severe public health consequences....

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Reflections on WWF South Africa’s Living Planet Conference

How do we transform our food system to something that is ultimately about nourishment– about nourishing the nation, Southern Africa, or ourselves? It’s about engaging head and heart with complexity First, we need to recognise the complexity in the system and then engage that complexity with both...

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Cut out meat consumption to help save the planet – UN

An urgent global shift towards sustainable plant-based diets has been touted as a crucial ingredient to cut greenhouse gas emissions from food systems and improve health outcomes. This is among a raft of measures to tackle climate change, contained in a new high-level report by the...

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Smallholder crop farming is on the decline in South Africa. Why it matters

by Charlie Shackleton Over half a million households in South Africa’s former homelands disengaged from farming between 2011 and 2016, according to Statistics South Africa. This represents a loss of one in five crop farming households. The former homelands were the ten areas demarcated under the previous...

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Youth want to farm, but not as slave labour

Nobody wants to be trapped in a menial, minimum-wage job. Yet in commercial and subsistence agriculture alike, these are the vast majority of jobs that the sector offers young South Africans. Relative to other sectors, agriculture is not a big contributor to gross domestic product (GDP)...

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WWF South Africa’s Living Planet Conference: Nourish the nation

On 25 July, WWF South Africa will host the Living Planet Conference 2019 at which Food Lab Director, Dr Scott Drimie, and Food Lab Chair, Tatjana von Bormann, will both be speaking. This year's conference will focus on the South African food system and will explore...

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A taste of chikanda

by Jenny Willis I have been hoping to see chikanda since I came across an early paper about its valorisation in 2015. Thank you to Chimwemwe Tembo-Phiri, an agrarian scientist at Stellenbosch, for bringing some back from Zambia and sharing your first-hand experience of the role and...

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Useful Resources

Food in the Anthropocene: the EAT-Lancet Commission on healthy diets from sustainable food systems In early 2019 the EAT-Lancet Commission on Food, Planet, Health launched a report written by 37 world-leading scientists, which represents the most comprehensive effort to date to make explicit the links between diets...

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New report: T-Labs for Alternative Food Systems in the Western Cape

Over the past three years, the Food Lab, in partnership with the Centre for Complex Systems in Transition, GRAID and the NRF, has made use of Transformation Labs (or T-Labs) as a means of exploring ways to transform the Cape Metropolitan food system into one which...

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Coastal wild foods T-Lab

In early May, chefs, farmers, fisher people, academics and conservationists gathered at Food Jams in Salt River for a T-Lab with the aim of strengthening an emerging coalition of coastal food actors from across the system by stimulating new connections and identifying practical steps to...

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Engaging the private sector for a healthier nation

By Tatjana von Bormann Last week, WWF and the Southern Africa Food Lab hosted a multi-stakeholder dialogue aimed at pushing for change in the critical nutrition conversation. The Food Lab private sector dialogue was a long time in the making. It probably started a few years back...

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The imperative of cross-sector collaboration in addressing SA’s dietary transition

Dietary transition poses a severe threat Malnutrition including undernutrition, micronutrient deficiencies, and overweight and obesity is severely impeding Africa’s development trajectory. In South Africa, access to adequate nutrition is a constitutional right and yet hunger is rife and food access is a daily struggle with...

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WWF Report: Agri-Food Systems – Facts and Futures

We need a fundamental overhaul of our food system which, in its current form, is a threat to the environment and human health. This is the key message contained in a new WWF South Africa report titled “Agri-Food Systems: Facts and Futures”. The report, which looks...

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Save the planet and yourself with every bite

By Anna Shevel As consumers, we have the opportunity to save our own lives and to conserve our planet from our forks. Our food choices have the greatest potential impact out of any daily action that we can take. By just making food choices empowered with...

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2018 in review

In January, WWF and the Food Lab hosted thought leaders from the finance sector, insurance and investment on a learning journey regarding the nation’s future food system. “The purpose of the day was to give the private sector insight into some of the big changes...

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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...