Global Food Safety Partnership

Today I am e-attending the Global Food Safety Partnership (GFSP) meeting in Aarhus, Denmark as one of  a few voices from the global “South”. The GFSP is a unique public-private initiative dedicated to improving the safety of food in middle-income and developing countries initiated by the World Bank. Food safety is a complex problem. In today’s world, food’s journey from meadow to meal or hook to cook can include multiple steps, many vehicles, and several transformations. As demand for food increases, food is increasingly making longer and more complicated journeys with more companies participating in its production and delivery. As a result, the opportunities for the introduction and spread of contamination increase. Tackling this takes an organised, coordinated approach—across borders, governments, and industry—to ensure the safety of the world’s food.

The GFSP brings together fishers and farmers, business and industry, governments, regulatory bodies, international development organisations, and civil society to drive a globally-coordinated and locally-driven food safety approach.

The GFSP combines food safety training and technical support so developing countries can improve their food safety systems and benefit from better compliance with food safety standards. This training is tailored to the specific needs of individual countries and segmented to reach all the way up, down and across the food value chain, the Partnership benefits small farmers, food processors, retailers, supervisory and regulatory agencies, and policy-makers, among others.

For more info please visit the GFSP website where you can sign up to become a partner if you feel you can add your expertise to the mix:


World Without Fences

Will Allen CEO of Growing Power, Milwaukee, “I have worked with community gardening projects that don’t do a good enough job of involving the garden’s neighbours.”We’ve got to put up a fence to protect our garden,” people will say.  I tell them no, you don’t. You have to do the harder work of engaging the community. You’ve got to make sure the neighbours know that the garden is their own, not yours. Kids in the neighborhood threw rocks at my greenhouses when I first opening in 1993, but they stopped several months after my arrival.  I had not retaliated or chased them away. Instead, I invited the young people to come and see what we were doing. I gave them summer jobs. Neighbours started respecting the fact that I was bringing food into the community. They started being eyes and ears for me. The community felt ownership in our shared success. In order to build a new food system, we’re going to need a world without fences. We all have a responsibility to work together. We need everyone at the table. We’re going to need black and white, young and old, rich and poor. We’re going to need university folks who can study and foster new organic techniques. We’re going to need politicians who can help create an easier political environment and public space for a local food system. We need entrepreneurs who can create niche food products and graphic designers who can create packaging. We’re going to need planners who design inner-city neighborhoods with the idea of food security in mind. We’re going to need educators and nutritionists who teach people the benefits of healthy food. We’re going to need architects who can retrofit old warehouses and greenhouses to the new purpose of growing food. We need contractors. Composers. Plumbers. Not least, we’re going to need a new generation of farmers.” Allen, W & Wilson, C. 2012. The Good Food Revolution: Growing Healthy Food, People, and Communities. Reprint, New York: Gotham Books, 2013: p. 236.


Cultivating Unemployment

“Cultivating Unemployment takes a hard look at the realities of rural economies in South Africa and begins to grapple with the policy implications of these realities. The video shows the challenges and difficulties involved in creating rural economies that can multiply benefits for rural dwellers.” Produced by the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies


The Farmer and his Prince

“This film depicts a Prince, who has the vision to feed the world with organic agriculture and heal damaged nature. Alongside his charismatic farm manager David Wilson, he has been pursuing this goal for 30 years. Through poetically impressive images, this unique collaboration portrays how organic agriculture works, and the benefits that emanate from it. Bertram Verhaag observed these two visionaries over the course of five years – through all four seasons.

The Prince of Wales already felt strongly about the concept of organic and sustainable farming long before the word “sustainability” was on everyone’s lips. More than 30 years ago, he realised that other farmers could only be swayed to cultivate their land without poisons and in harmony with nature, if they were presented with a practical example. This example turned into an exceptional success and now, farmers from all over the United Kingdom travel to the Duchy Home Farm, to gather the courage and knowledge they need, to convert to organic themselves. Prince Charles appears in an entirely unusual light, which forces the viewer to throw all prejudices towards him and organic agriculture overboard.” from


Cumulus Johannesburg: Design with the Other 90%: Changing the World by Design

When: 22 – 24 September 2014
Where:  Johannesburg, South Africa

Hosted by Greenside Design Center (GDC) and the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture (FADA) at the University of Johannesburg. Professionals, academics and educators from across the globe are invited to South Africa to share knowledge, ideas and inspiration around the role of design in changing the world. The event includes:

–        Addresses by three keynote speakers
–        Presentation of the conferences papers in the morning
–        Breakaway sessions (workshops and excursions) in the afternoon
–        An exhibition of student and alumni work from both institutions
–        A gala dinner

See the Call for Abstracts / Papers for more information

Educators and academics are also invited to participate in GDC’s three-week community engagement design project (10%) from 1 – 19 September 2014. See the Call for Participation for more information

For any queries, please contact

Cumulus is the only global association to serve art and design education and research. It is a forum for partnership and transfer of knowledge and best practices. Cumulus consists currently of 198 members from 48 countries.


Design Society Development CoP

Design for Social Development, a research area and reading group begun in 2010 in the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture, UJ, is now officially renamed Design Society Development (DSD) Community of Practice (CoP). Our members come from the departments and disciplines of Industrial Design, Multimedia, Development Studies, Architecture, Fashion Design, Graphic Design, Visual Art, Interior Design and Economics. In the face of staggering inequality and rapid change in South Africa, we meet biweekly to interrogate published research/projects and members’ personal research/projects that focus on the intersection of design, society and development. Each year DSD hosts a public seminar at FADA in order to expand the discussion into a public forum and strengthen opportunities of transdisciplinary collaboration. To show the world what we have been doing please visit our new website It is still under construction but will soon be populated with bios of all the members and the various research projects we have been involved in that fall under the gamut of social impact design in South Africa.


Design for Social Development Public Seminar: Achieving the Good Life: Design as an Instrument of a Caring City

On 16 September the Design for Social Development Reading group will be hosting a public seminar exploring design as an instrument of a caring city. The seminar will be held at the FADA Auditorium, University of Johannesburg, Bunting Road Campus (click here for a map) from 18:30 – 19:00. The two speakers are Erky Wood, who is a specialist in urban development processes and Dr Tom Sanya, who is a senior lecturer in sustainable theory and design at the University of Cape Town’s School of Architecture. The flyer is available here for sharing… I hope to see you there!


Design Thinking UJ Industrial Design Alumni Exhibition 2013

The exhibition opening was very well attended and we have had a positive response from viewers who really enjoyed the visual demystifying of the design process. The exhibition is still open until Wednesday the 28th August, try make it through, but if you are unable this is what Design Indaba had to say about it: and here are a few photographs taken by Kyle Brand during the opening evening…


Design and development of a single household farming kit

I am currently supervising Kyle Brand for his MTech in Industrial Design which is focused on the development of a single household farming kit. Kyle explains that, “This project forms the practical component of my masters study at the University of Johannesburg, Department of Industrial Design. The aim is to offer small-scale (often backyard) farmers some of the competitive advantages usually reserved only for large-scale farmers. The kit that is being developed using a humancentered design process includes a greenhouse which is low cost but optimised for smaller farmers. The greenhouse integrates an irrigation system as well as water capture. The other element of the kit is a multifunctional hoe/spade hand tool. This tool hopes to provide a more versatile tool for smallscale farmers, building on a tool which is often the symbol of agriculture, the hoe.” See three of the stories as the project unfolds on IDEO’s HCD Connect.


Farming at the V&A Waterfront, Cape Town, South Africa

If you are visiting Cape Town anytime soon head down to the new Moyo at the V&A Waterfront. The open air “African Souk” urban farm and restaurant is designed by architect Tsai from Tsai Design Studio. Tsai’s concept was to increase sustainability and almost completely remove food miles by actually growing all of the produce required for the restaurant on site. Not only does this include aquaponic vertical green walls and trout ponds, but also electricity generating solar louvres providing shade for patrons! Read more about the project here