UJ multi-stakeholder project encourages a sustainable food system in Soweto

Izindaba Zokudla (Conversations about Food): Innovation in the Soweto Food System, a multi-stakeholder engagement research project, co-headed by Dr Naudé Malan of Department of Anthropology and Development Studies (UJ) and Mr Angus Campbell of the Department of Industrial Design (UJ), will launch its first farmers school at the University’s of Johannesburg’s Soweto Campus on Saturday, 16 May 2015.

“In 2013, a series of workshops identified the need for increased training and knowledge generation for urban farmers and food producers. This is an important aspect of a sustainable food system. Food, and in particular its distribution and transportation, is a key contributor to climate change and we aim to counter this with the establishment of local food economies that produces food close to where it is consumed,” says Dr Malan.

He stressed that the creation of a local economy also holds potential to conserve and reinvest capital in our townships and this holds promise for an alternative approach to economic development that benefits food security.

The Izindaba Zokudla project is a joint initiative by the University’s Department of Anthropology; Department of Development Studies; Department of Industrial Design; Department of Business Management (Soweto programmes); Department of Graphic Design; Department of Multimedia Design; Department of Strategic Communications (Public Relations); the City of Johannesburg: Directorate Food Resilience; Region D Farmers forum; and the Meadowlands Agriculture Forum.

The project, a free service offered (with limited space) to all farmers in Soweto, started with urban farmers and gardeners in Soweto and is aimed at resource-poor, emergent, established and commercial urban farmers.

In 2015, the intended focus is on horticulture, developing appropriate technology and on establishing networks that can assist in developing viable and sustainable food enterprises.

Farmers can register for the Farmers’ School online.

Details of the Izindaba Zokudla: Farmers’ School Launch

Date: Saturday 16 May 2015

Venue: University of Johannesburg (UJ) Soweto Campus (SWC), Chris Hani Road Orlando

Time: 10h00-16h00

An exhibition by: UJ Industrial Design on Participatory Technology Development, UJ Graphic Design for Social Change, ENACTUS: Small Enterprise Development, UJ Community Engagement, City of Johannesburg Food Resilience Policies.

More information on the Izindaba Zokudla project:

Original article source:


Milan & Food

In two weeks I head off to Milan to co-present a paper at the Cumulus Milan 2015: Virtuous Circle conference taking place from the 3-7 June. I will be presenting on a framework for socio-technical innovation that has been developed based on a current masters design research project undertaken by Peter Harrison, whom I am supervising. His project explores the development of a human-powered shredder for urban farmers in Soweto, South Africa. In addition to the paper presentation I will be representing both the UJ Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture at the Cumulus General Meeting and the Design Society Development DESIS Lab that I coordinate at the the DESIS General Meeting. I will also be exhibiting at the Design to Feed the World Exhibition at Fabbrica del Vapore, Milan,  a seedling growing system that was developed together with UJ BTech Industrial Design student Jomari Budricks last year. At the exhibition we will be one of only two projects representing food based interventions in Africa! To top all this activity we will also be launching the DESIS Food Cluster of which I am a coordinator, as an initiative of the DESIS Network that explores and promotes design knowledge for social innovation and sustainability in the food system. The cluster will be launched at an event called Design for Social Food, on 5 June as part of the Cumulus Milan 2015 DESIS proceedings. This will consist of a public debate with invited experts discussing the on-going results of the Food Cluster, and will be followed by the publication of a booklet collecting the outputs of the work done. And last, but not least, I will be attending the Expo Milano 2015: Feeding the Planet: Energy for Life!

Lots to do in a week, but I can’t wait!