Blog

Refilwe is five months old. Born in Kayamandi township on the outskirts of Stellenbosch, Refilwe may have the aptitude to become a doctor someday, but it will never happen. The reason isn’t education, or opportunity – those may come – the reason is stunting. Refilwe’s...

In early October, a group of actors involved in the local food system gathered at Oribi Village in Gardens, Cape Town for a design-thinking workshop focused on strengthening the contribution of smallholder farmers to a more sustainable and healthy food system in the Western Cape....

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...

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....

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...

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...

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...

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)...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...