Justice, Human Rights and Development: The Recalibration of the Food System in a Post COVID-19 World

The immediate impact of the public health crisis has revealed the deep fragility of the South African food system and exposed the injustices that underpin it. This has clearly been a disruption, presenting a period of deep uncertainty and change, creating an opportunity for a recalibration, one either based on the powerful actors and networks of the old, dominant system or, possibly, something new and emergent built on local, more equitable, food systems offering divergence and resilience.

On World Hunger Day, Community Chest, in partnership with The Southern Africa Food Lab, launched a publication entitled “Challenging False Narratives in a Global Crisis: Reflections on Human Rights, Inequality and Securing Food Systems”.  Following on from this, the two organisations are co-hosting a number of webinars, the first of which took place today (Monday 6 July 2020). The webinar explored the impacts of COVID on the food system and the resounding question of “where to from here”. Speakers included Umgibe’s Nonhlanhla Joye, Rushka Ely from the Western Cape Economic Development Partnership and Gareth Haysom of the African Food Security Urban Network.

Concluding the webinar, Food Lab Director Dr Scott Drimie noted that in recalibrating the broken food system, we need to guard against hoping for quick fix solutions in the realisation that the system is more complex and more fractured than we can hope to understand. He asserted the need to build on the successes of community action networks and other local initiatives and highlighted the nation’s acute trust deficit and the need for government and civil society to actively built trust and relationships at a very local level.

View the full webinar here.