VIDEO: Exploring place-based approaches as response to local contexts for recalibrating resilient food systems

On 11 June 2020, members of the Food Lab advisory board discussed how the impacts of the Covid-19 public health crisis has revealed the deep fragility of the South African food system. There has clearly been a disruption, presenting a period of deep uncertainty and change, creating an opportunity for a recalibration of the food system. The Southern Africa Food Lab has established a platform in eThekwini Municipality and it’s neighbouring iLembe District (for dialogue-into-action) to facilitate comprehensive responses to this situation. A central argument is that a place-based approach, which considers local and community contexts, offers opportunities to restart and recalibrate local food systems.

The platform aims to ensure local food systems function efficiently by, for example, identifying smallholders and other small-scale producers’ needs, leveraging appropriate support and re-connecting them to markets, especially informal markets and (municipal) feeding schemes. This reconnection involves identifying the many actors within the system that can aggregate, transport and process food to meet the needs of consumers in differentiated markets. 

Our focus will enable these actors to understand the resources that support their daily lives in the food system: as they become more conscious of these links, they become creative participants in the shaping of these food flows to reconnect the “life-support systems”, agency, and social cohesion needed in these systems. This is what is meant by “recalibration”.

View the webinar recording here.