2011-14 – Single Household Farming Kit

social impact design / tools / tunnel / urban ag / irrigation / hoe / seeds

Design and Development of a Single Household Farming Kit

Kyle Brand, MTech Industrial Design, 2011-14
Supervised by Angus D. Campbell & co-supervised by Dr. Naudé Malan.

This project was inspired by Kyle’s BTech: Industrial Design (Honours) final project, the Seboko tunnel.

One of the greatest social problems we face as society as a whole and South Africa in particular, is food insecurity. Food insecurity manifests itself in many forms and has a dramatic impact on the wellbeing of people. People need food to survive, but often the food systems they rely on are vulnerable to price shocks and changes, which in turn diminishes their resilience. Local food systems are crucial in reducing vulnerability and improving food security. But often the tools used are not appropriate, especially for household farming. In this study design is used to bring about considered change in the area of household food security, by addressing the tools used for household farming. Household farming is not a typical focus for designers, but well-designed tools could have a dramatic influence on the ability of a household to have a more productive food garden therefore well designed tools is a valuable place for design to be applied. The design intervention of a Household Farming Kit (HFK) and its development is explored. The methods used for the design and development are human-centric in nature, but also acknowledge the opportunity for the designer to have a meaningful influence on the final outcome. The influence could be toward more environmentally sound farming practices. The process adopted used the development of a series of prototype iterations which were evaluated by participants to recommend the alteration or changing of the prototypes. Three phases of prototypes were developed and evaluated, with each building on the knowledge gained from the previous. These were tested predominantly in two locations: Noordgesig outside Johannesburg and Kanana in the North West province in South Africa. The evaluations by the farmers who participated in this study were essential in the development process, in order for the designs to be appropriate to their needs. This study had a very practical focus, with the development of the Household Farming Kit, but it also had a strong methodological focus, experimenting with methods used to design products in a developmental context. The successes and failures of the study are documented in order to contribute to the field of Industrial Design, specifically design research in the area of Design for Development.


Brand, K.G. & Campbell, A.D. 2014. In-context and Ecology Immersion for Resilience: An Exploration of the Design of a Household Farming Kit. International Union of Architects World Congress: UIA 2014 Durban: Architecture Otherwhere: Resilience, Ecology, Values. Durban, South Africa: UIA 2014 Durban. pp. 1332-1343. ISBN: 978-0-86970-783-8 (Peer Reviewed)

Brand, K.G. 2014. Design and Development of a Single Household Farming Kit. MTech Industrial Design Dissertation. University of Johannesburg.

Campbell, A.D. & Brand, K.G. 2012. Design of Resilient Products for Small-scale Farming in South Africa. Proceedings of the Agrindustrial Design: 2nd International Product and Service Design Congress and Exhibition on Agricultural Industries – Mediterranean/Food/Design Proceedings. Izmir, Turkey: Izmir University of Economics Press. pp.278-286. ISBN: 978-975-8789-49-8 (Peer Reviewed)

Visit Kyle’s website for more info here

A video produced by Kyle showing the singing talent of the small-scale farmers’ who were part of  the Balimi Food Security Company project in Kanana.