Tag: Urban Ag

12
Apr

The Science of Slow Food

I was interviewed this morning on Radio Today by Gillian Godsell together with my co-researcher Dr. Naudé Malan from Izindaba Zokudla, and collaborators Geoff Green and Brian Dick from Slow Food Johannesburg. I discuss how as an industrial designer I ended up working on urban agricultural projects and how relevant they are for the South African context. You can listen to the 1hr 20min podcast here:

02
Jun

Innovation in Food, Ag and Integrated Resource Systems

Workshop: Innovation in Food, Agriculture and Integrated Resource  Systems: Creating Sustainable Opportunities in Soweto

Presenters: Sander Mager and Dr. Christopher Peterson

Facilitator: Dr. Naudé Malan

When: Thursday 5 June 2014 11:00 – 17:00 Where: VIP Lounge , University of Johannesburg Soweto Campus , Chris Hani Road

South Africa is not unique in facing social, environmental and economic challenges. To address these three successfully would require innovative solutions that bring together state agencies and departments, non-governmental organisations and private enterprises. Two leading experts in the creation of sustainable enterprises will in this workshop share their experience of addressing these challenges. Dr. Christopher Peterson and Sander Mager are leading the creation of the Global Innoversity which is an innovation accelerator aimed at inspiring and supporting the world’s metropolitan regions in developing and sharing innovations in food, agriculture and integrated resource systems.

The workshop will share the methods used and experiences gained in creating ecological, social and economically sustainable enterprises and innovations in the food system from the Netherlands and Michigan USA. These methods and experiences inform the current work of the Global Innoversity which is a self-sustaining global program for mutual action learning on metropolitan agriculture in, between and for the metropolitan regions of the world. Its goal is to successfully develop, share and implement a globally acknowledged ‘methodology’ for developing metropolitan agriculture in innovation clusters in metropolitan regions. It aims at multi-stakeholder cooperation and innovation and a new approach to transdisciplinary and participative knowledge development. Sander Mager will present the experiences gained from working for TransForum in the Netherlands, which preceded the Global Innoversity. TransForum is a public/private consortium that has invested €60 Million in more than 100 projects that demonstrated tangible results by improving the 3P (People/social, Planet/ecological, and Profit/economic) dimensions of sustainable metropolitan agrifood systems.

Dr. Christopher Petersen is the Director of the MSU Product Center Food-Ag-Bio that stimulates and develops business innovation and economic growth through business counselling, in‐depth market analysis and technical assistance for new entrepreneurs and existing businesses.

Brought to you by Izindaba Zokudla: Innovation in the Soweto Food System; Design Society Development & the Global Innoversity for MetroFood/Ag

20
Apr

World Without Fences

029

 

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. www.growingpower.org

18
Jul

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.

13
Jul

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

11
Jul

Growing Power

This is an amazing video showing Will Allen, CEO of Growing Power, and how he is transforming urban food production in Milwaukee, USA. Will says that “If people can grow safe, healthy, affordable food, if they have access to land and clean water, this is transformative on every level in a community. I believe we cannot have healthy communities without a healthy food system.”

05
Mar

Global Innoversity for MetroAg/MetroFood

For a visual, textual and sound experience of my trip last week to Detroit please go to the Global Innoversity’s rebelmouse page (with thanks to Dr. Christine Geith for setting it all up and filming/interviewing us as we travelled around Detroit). The result of the meeting/workshop/brainstorm is a very dedicated group of academics from around the world all passionate about setting up local multistakeholder coalitions (education, government, communities and business) to work on accelerating innovations in food, agriculture and integrated resource systems in the world’s metropolitan regions. #innoversity #foodlab all images copyright Angus Donald Campbell

 

23
Feb

Noordgesig Farmers

On the 23 of January 2013 Dr Naudé Malan, Kyle Brand and I visited a second group of urban farmers who grow vegetables in Noordgesig, on the southern outskirts of Soweto. Their ingenious solutions to technological problems was exceptional, my favourite example was the farmers’ use of old mattress spring substructures as fencing for crop security. The ingenuity of such a choice was the ease of access to old mattresses and the fact that the spring substructure worked as a good fence preventing crop theft but without the risk of the metal being stolen for scrap. All images copyright Angus Donald Campbell.

14
Feb

Rainbow Nation Farmers

On the 14 of February 2013 Dr Naudé Malan, Kyle Brand and I visited a group of farmers called the Rainbow Nation Farmers in Nancefield on the southern outskirts of Soweto. This is a large farm (almost 1 hectare) on government leased land where the group have been supported by the Joburg Municipality and the Gauteng Department of Agriculture for over 11 years. We went there to meet Lerato from the Joburg Municipalities Mayoral Food Security Committee to discuss the current status of the farmers, which was far from satisfactory. As can been seen in the photographs the electric fence provided by the government to protect crops has been stolen over time by youth who sell the scrap metal for money, this has now lead to rampant crop theft in the unsecured property. In addition all the electricity isolator switches have been stolen from various power boxes, bypassing the farmers’ ingenious welded locks, by the izinyokanyoka or snakes; this term is directly translated from Zulu and is a South African term used to described the people who setup illegal electricity connections in informal settlements. The lack of power has lead to the farmers needing to manually carry water from their homes because their borehole pumps no longer operate. On top of the local theft of resources from the farmers, the government are in desperate need of land to expand a nearby cemetery and if the farmers cannot prove their farm productive, will lose their lease at the end of the year! All images copyright Angus Donald Campbell.