In our earlier editions, this chapter was titled “Urban agriculture”. However, urbanisation is an important issue all on its own, and urban agriculture takes place within that context.
“Of course the country needs a rural strategy, but the future of South Africa is urban and the relationship between effective urbanisation and economic growth is very strong”, Ann Bernstein, CEO of the Centre for Development and Enterprise (CDE), has said. Cities are the drivers of economic growth, and we need to plan, design, and manage cities for people (Manuel, 2013). One TED speaker says: “Fundamentally, the way we shape cities is a manifestation of the kind of humanity we bring to bear” (Calthorpe, 2017 – see “Websites & publications” heading).
One of the issues around urbanisation is the disproportionate price the poor pay in commuting time and transport costs. A forward-thinking policy is to create jobs and investments closer to these townships, and so reverse weak spatial governance (Nel, 2018). Other issues include safety, infrastructure and sanitation, accommodation, health services and food security.
It is right to caution against viewing urban agriculture as a panacea of all that goes wrong in cities (Haysom & Battersby, 2016), yet it does have a part to play. Urban agriculture can be one strategy against crime (Phillips, 2018). It provides food security, entrepreneurial activity, “social capital” and protection for women (Olivier, 2017).
Find the publications and reports at www.sacities.net, website of the South African Cities Network (SACN).
Urban agriculture can be defined shortly as the growing of plants and the raising of animals within and around cities.
The most striking feature of urban agriculture, which distinguishes it from rural agriculture, is that it is integrated into the urban economic and ecological system. Such linkages include the use of urban residents as labourers, use of typical urban resources (like organic waste as compost and urban wastewater for irrigation), direct links with urban consumers, direct impacts on urban ecology (positive and negative), being part of the urban food system, competing for land with other urban functions, being influenced by urban policies and plans, etc.
- Urban agriculture may take place in locations inside the cities (intra-urban) or in the peri-urban areas. The activities may take place on the homestead (on-plot) or on land away from the residence (off-plot), on private land (owned, leased) or on public land (parks, conservation areas, along roads, streams and railways), or semi-public land (schoolyards, grounds of schools and hospitals).
- Urban agriculture includes food products, from different types of crops (grains, root crops, vegetables, mushrooms, fruits) and animals (poultry, rabbits, goats, sheep, cattle, pigs, guinea pigs, fish, etc.) as well as non-food products (like aromatic and medicinal herbs, ornamental plants, tree products, etc.). or combinations of these. Often the more perishable and relatively high-valued vegetables and animal products and by-products are favoured.
- In most cities in developing countries, an important part of urban agricultural production is for self-consumption, with surpluses being traded. However, the importance of the market-oriented urban agriculture, both in volume and economic value, should not be underestimated (as will be shown later). Products are sold at the farm gate, by cart in the same or other neighbourhoods, in local shops, on local (farmers) markets or to intermediaries and supermarkets. Mainly fresh products are sold, but part of it is processed for own use, cooked and sold on the streets, or processed and packaged for sale to one of the outlets mentioned above.
Urban agriculture is an integral part of the urban system.
Source: adapted from notes on the RUAF Foundation website, www.ruaf.org
International business environment
Everything you’ve heard about urbanisation might be wrong. Here’s why:
The United Nations predicts the world’s urban population is expected to grow to 70% by 2050 from 55% at present after becoming majority urban for the first time around 2008.Not so, say researchers based at the European Commission. Using a definition made possible by advances in geospatial technology that uses high-resolution satellite images to determine the number of people living in a given area, they estimate 84% of the world’s population, or almost 6.4 billion people, live in urban areas.
Find the full article (2018) at https://ewn.co.za/2018/07/23/everything-you-ve-heard-about-urbanisation-might-be-wrong-here-s-why
Some role players
- African Centre for Cities at the University of Cape Town, http://africancentreforcities.net
- The African Food Security Urban Network (AFSUN) was founded in 2008 to address the crisis of food insecurity in Africa’s rapidly-growing towns and cities. See www.afsun.org.
- City Farmer, Canada’s Office of Urban Agriculture, www.cityfarmer.info
- Find the urban agriculture option at www.fao.org/themes/en/, website of the UN’s Food & Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
- Future Earth, “Research. Innovation. Sustainability”. Visit www.futureearth.org
- Find the “Urban” option at www.gdrc.org, website of the Global Development Research Center
- Growing Underground http://growing-underground.com [Find the Mellino article under heading 7]
- Rockefeller Foundation‘s 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) programme, www.100resilientcities.org
- Find the USDA‘s Urban Agriculture Tool Kit at www.usda.gov/sites/default/files/documents/urban-agriculture-toolkit.pdf
- The Urban Farming Guys, a Non Profit Organisation – http://theurbanfarmingguys.com
- Urban Institute (USA) www.urban.org
- The World Bank has labelled urbanisation the single most critical factor in the transformation of Africa’s socio-economic landscape. Find Harnessing Urbanization to End Poverty and Boost Prosperity in Africa.
- Zero Carbon Food started farming in an abandoned World War II bomb shelter in 2014. The company grows vegetables using LED lights instead of sunshine and perlite crystals or thin fibre matts instead of soil. See www.zerocarbonfood.co.uk.
National strategy and government contact
National Planning Commission (NPC) www.nationalplanningcommission.org.za/Pages/default.aspx About 30-million South Africans live in urban areas, but by 2030, an additional 11-million would move to cities – with the urban rate increasing to 70% of all South Africans. Where these people would be housed? Where they would work? What water they would use and what kind of transport they would use (among other things)? The NPC, responsible for developing a long term vision and strategic plan for South Africa, looked at these issues and produced the National Development Plan (NDP).
Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) www.cogta.gov.za Cabinet adopted the Integrated Urban Development Framework (IUDF) in 2016. The IUDF seeks to foster a shared understanding across government and society about how best to manage urbanisation and achieve the goals of economic development, job creation and improved living conditions for South Africans.
Further reference on the IUDF:
- The Parliamentary Monitoring Group’s account of the Integrated Urban Development Framework (IUDF) COGTA briefing (2014). See https://pmg.org.za/committee-meeting/17909/
- A COGTA discussion document www.cogta.gov.za/cgta_2016/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/The-Intergrated-Urban-Development-FrameworkIUDF.pdf
- Reporter. 2018, July 13. “Varsity course to help transform SA’s urban landscape”. SA News. Available at www.sanews.gov.za/south-africa/varsity-course-help-transform-sa%E2%80%99s-urban-landscape
- Reporter. 2018, September 23. “Nel: SA making progress in urbanisation policy”. SA News. Available at www.sanews.gov.za/south-africa/nel-sa-making-progress-urbanisation-policy
Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) (i) Small Holder Development Tel: 012 319 8495 (ii) Subsistence Farming Tel: 012 319 7331 (iii) Find Guidelines for Urban and peri-urban animal agriculture, compiled by the Directorate Animal and Aquaculture Production. Find contact details of this and other directorates at www.daff.gov.za.
- Department of Basic Education www.education.gov.za The National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP) encourages nutritious means and establishing food gardens
- Department of Science & Technology www.dst.gov.za The White Paper on Science, Technology and Innovation issued by the DST in 2017 includes “Rapid urbanisation” as one of four examples of megatrends that bring both opportunities and threats.
- Financial and Fiscal Commission www.ffc.co.za Find the many policy briefs like Towards Sustainable Urban Development Assessing the IUDF and CSP, Responding to South Africa’s Urban Development Challenge and Funding and Policy Framework for Supporting Urban Informal Employment
- South African Local Government Association (SALGA) www.salga.org.za
- DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Food Security http://foodsecurity.ac.za
Find the links to the cities at www.sacities.net – Buffalo City, Cape Town, Cape Town, Ekurhuleni, Ethekwini, Johannesburg, Mangaung, Msunduzi, Nelson Mandela Metropole and Tshwane.
- ABALIMI BEZEKHAYA http://abalimibezekhaya.org.za and http://abalimiharvestofhope.org.za Organic micro-farming and gardening in the townships of Cape Town, the “first city in Africa to have an approved Urban Agriculture policy as of 2007”. ABALIMI directly interfaces with between 50-200 community projects every year, and up to 3000 micro-farmers and gardeners every year. ABALIMI made it onto the Food Tank/Ecowatch list of “24 Groups Leading the Charge in Cultivating Urban Farming” (internationally). See heading 6. Congrats!
- Afesis-corplan Tel: 043 743 3830 www.afesis.org.za An NGO situated in East London that focuses on “deepening participatory democracy and good local governance, community development and alternative settlement development approaches”.
- Afristar Foundation Tel: 021 790 9744 http://afristarfoundation.org A Permaculture NGO working for the “development of sustainable models for ecological human settlement and local economic development”
- AgriPlanner – see “South African Institute for Entrepreneurship” later in this list
- Calabash Trust www.calabashtrust.co.za Involvement includes permaculture design, community schools and township tours
- Council for Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) Dr Mathetha Mokonyama, Dr Sibusisiwe Makhanya, Quintin van Heerden www.csir.co.za Experts on urban planning. Read the Liedtke article (heading 6)
- Food and Trees for Africa (FTFA) www.trees.org.za Projects include permaculture food gardens, bamboo projects and organic farms
- Food Gardens Foundation Tel: 011 342 4440
- GroundWorks https://groundworks-sa.com Urban gardens is an area of expertise
- Integrated Development Expertise (INDEX) Tel: 012 346 5307 www.indexsa.net
- Joburg City’s urban farming programme is divided into three strategic pillars which are to provide training to the farmers, provide access to market and to mentor the farmers. The Department of Social Development, leading the City’s pro-poor development strategy, works in partnership with stakeholders such as United Way South Africa (UWSA), is currently implementing an urban agriculture programme that is aimed at building the capacity of 300 farmers. See www.joburg.org.za/media_/Newsroom/Pages/2018%20News%20Articles/Programme-ensures-farmers-put-food-on-the-table.aspx.
- Johannesburg Inner City Partnership www.jicp.org.za/urban-agriculture-initiative/ The role of the JICP is “to facilitate growth and transformation for all Inner City stakeholders through collaboration between City of Johannesburg (COJ), other spheres of government and the private sector”
- NuLeaf Planning & Environmental Tel: 012 753 5792 www.nuleafsa.co.za Participates “on a landscape and environmental level in the development of Integrated Urban Design Framework and other types of Strategic Development Plans”
- Oranjezicht City Farm Tel: 083 508 1066 www.ozcf.co.za Produce, school outings and other programmes are offered by this Cape Town urban farm
- PEDI Urban Agriculture Academy Tel: 021 371 9824 http://pedi.org.za
- SEED Rocklands Urban Abundance Centre Tel: 021 391 5316 www.seed.org.za “awakening the potential of our unemployed township youth”
- Siyakhana Initiative for Ecological Health and Food Security Tel: 082 492 4768 http://siyakhana.org Siyakhana undertakes research related to food, nutrition, urban agriculture, and more. It operates one of Johannesburg’s most prominent and important urban permaculture demonstration sites
- Soil for Life Tel: 021 794 4982 http://soilforlife.co.za A non-profit organisation (NPO) based in Cape Town that helps people learn to grow healthy, organic food using simple, low-cost, environmentally-friendly methods.
- South African Cities Network (SACN) www.sacities.net The South African Cities Network (SACN) “is an established network of South African cities and partners that encourages the exchange of information, experience and best practices on urban development and city management”.
- South African Institute for Entrepreneurship (SAIE) Tel: 021 447 2023 www.entrepreneurship.co.za The SAIE develops business skills, uncovers entrepreneurship qualities and ensures sustainable economic development and wealth creation.
- South African Planning Institute https://sapi.org.za
- Sustainable Energy Africa (SEA) Tel: 021 702 3622 www.sustainable.org.za SEA promotes equitable, low carbon, clean energy development in urban South Africa and Africa.
- Terra Madre SA Tel: 082 602 2882 http://terramadresa.com Edible gardens for homes, communities projects and business based on Permaculture principles.
- Tip Trans AgriLiving Tel: 079 561 3589 www.agriliving.co.za Combining food growing operations with residential units …
- Ukuvuna Urban Farming Tel: 011 805 7768 www.ukuvuna.co.za
- Umhlaba Consulting Group (Pty) Ltd Tel: 043 721 1554 www.umhlabagroup.co.za
- United Way South Africa (UWSA) Tel: 011 806 5890 www.unitedway.org.za
- University of Cape Town Tel: 021 650 5903 http://africancentreforcities.net
- University of the Free State (UFS) (i) Department of Agricultural economics www.ufs.ac.za/agri-econ (ii) Centre for Sustainable Agriculture, Rural Development and Extension www.ufs.ac.za/censard (iii) Centre for Environmental Management www.ufs.ac.za/urpl Town and regional planning are included in the centre’s academic offering
- University of South Africa (UNISA) The College of Agriculture & Environmental Sciences (CAES) runs urban agriculture programmes through its Community engagement (CE) projects. Find the CAES pages under “Colleges”at www.unisa.ac.za.
- Urban Harvest Edible Gardens Tel: 021 300 1766 www.urbanharvest.co.za
- Urban-Econ Development Consultants Tel: 012 342 8686 www.urban-econ.com
- Urban Farmers South Africa Tel: 079 758 4703 www.urbanfarmersafrica.com
- Urban Harvest Tel: 021 300 1766 http://urbanharvest.co.za/food-gardens/home-gardens “Specialists in custom designing & installing beautiful and productive food-scapes on rooftops, balconies, walls and in gardens in all contexts”.
- Western Cape Government Farmer Support and Development Tel: 021 808 7674 AdriaanC [at] elsenburg.com www.elsenburg.com/services-and-programmes/farmer-support-and-development#s=Food-Security
Websites and publications
Visit the websites listed earlier in this chapter.
- The Bureau for Food and Agricultural Policy (BFAP) Baseline 2018-2027 covers urbanisation (see pages 22 – 24). Visit www.bfap.co.za.
- Calthorpe, P. 2017, August 31. “7 principles for building better cities”. TED. Available at www.youtube.com/watch?v=IFjD3NMv6Kw
- Joubert, Leonie. 2012. The Hungry season: Feeding Southern Africa’s Cities. Johannesburg: Pan Macmillan South Africa.
- Mougeot. L.J.A. 2005. Agropolis: The Social, Political, and Environmental Dimensions of Urban Agriculture. Ottawa: IDRC. Available at www.idrc.ca/en/book/agropolis-social-political-and-environmental-dimensions-urban-agriculture
- Find out about the publications available from the Resources Centre on the Urban Agriculture and Food Security (RUAF) Foundation website at www.ruaf.org, which include the Urban Agriculture Magazine.
- Refer to the World Bank report Urban Agriculture: Findings from Four City Case Studies on its website.
- World Bank. 2015. Harnessing Urbanization to End Poverty and Boost Prosperity in Africa. Available at www.worldbank.org/en/region/afr/publication/africa-harnessing-urbanization-end-poverty-boost-prosperity
- The FAO document The future of food and agriculture: trends and challenges discusses population growth, urbanisation and ageing as the first trend. Find the document at http://www.fao.org/3/a-i6881e.pdf
- Find the urban agriculture pages on the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) website at https://attra.ncat.org/urban_ag.html
- Find the articles by David Thorpe at www.smartcitiesdive.com/ex/sustainablecitiescollective/how-cities-will-feed-their-citizens-future/439071/
- Open Source Ecology teaches people to complete modern sustainable projects like aquaponics. Online courses can be taken from anywhere in the world. Take a look at http://opensourceecology.org.
- The Urban Homestead http://urbanhomestead.org Turning an urban plot into an extraordinary example of homesteading in the city.
Urban farming – some articles
- Reporter. 2018, May 4. “Johannesburg’s rooftop farmer”. BBC Business. Available at www.bbc.com/news/av/business-44005335/
- Kavonic, D. n.d. “Urban farming: cultivating real change in Cape Town”. Cape Town Magazine. Available at www.capetownmagazine.com/social/food-for-thought/118_22_18970
- Olivier, D. 2017, January 15. “Urban agriculture means food plus social cohesion” . IOL. Available at www.iol.co.za/capetimes/news/urban-agriculture-means-food-plus-social-cohesion-2096857
- Swanepoel, J.W., Van Niekerk, J.A. & D’Haese L. 2017. “The socio-economic profile of urban farming and non-farming households in the informal settlement area of the Cape Town Metropole in South Africa”. South African Journal of Agricultural Extension 45(1). Available at www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0301-603X2017000100012
- Phillips, L. 2018, February 6. “KZN urban farming project aims to combat crime”. Farmer’s Weekly. Available at www.farmersweekly.co.za/agri-news/south-africa/kzn-urban-farming-project-aims-combat-crime/
- Lazareva, I. 2017, December 1. “Johannesburg’s new “agripreneurs” dig for green gold on skyscraper rooftops”. Zilient. Available at www.zilient.org/article/johannesburgs-new-agripreneurs-dig-green-gold-skyscraper-rooftops
- Reporter. 2017, October 13. “A first for Jozi – The launch of a Commercial Rooftop Farm”. 702. Available at http://702.co.za/articles/276267/a-first-in-jozi-or-the-launch-of-a-commercial-rooftop-farm
- Staff Writer. 2017, October 21. “Johannesburg has a new roof-top farm – with 100 more on the way”. BusinessTech. Available at https://businesstech.co.za/news/business/204702/johannesburg-has-a-new-roof-top-farm-with-100-more-on-the-way/
- Blight, H. 2017, September 7. “#InnovationMonth: Revolutionising agriculture through urban farming”. Bizcommunity. Available at www.bizcommunity.com/Article/196/780/167052.html
- Haysom, G. & Battersby, J. 2016, April 15. “Why urban agriculture isn’t a panacea for Africa’s food crisis”. The Conversation. Available at https://theconversation.com/why-urban-agriculture-isnt-a-panacea-for-africas-food-crisis-57680
- Find the helpful articles by Justin Bonello on urban agriculture at http://justinbonello.com/tag/urban-farming/
- Read about Stephen Lamb and Andrew Lord’s Green Shack features at www.designindaba.com/articles/point-view/green-shack-design-indaba-2013
General urbanisation – some articles
- Reboredo, R. & Brill, F. 2019, March 5. “What a failed Johannesburg project tells us about mega cities in Africa”. The Conversation. Available at https://theconversation.com/what-a-failed-johannesburg-project-tells-us-about-mega-cities-in-africa-112420
- Editorial. 2018, October 31. “SA’s cities are ticking urban time bombs”. The Citizen. Available at https://citizen.co.za/news/opinion/opinion-editorials/2030097/sas-cities-are-ticking-urban-time-bombs/
- Liedtke, S. 2018, October 19. “Data underpins urban growth in South Africa”. Engineering News, Available at www.engineeringnews.co.za/article/data-underpins-urban-growth-in-south-africa-2018-10-19
- News24wire. 2018, October 15. “SA yet to achieve land reform in urban areas, says deputy minister”. Polity. Available at www.polity.org.za/article/sa-yet-to-achieve-land-reform-in-urban-areas-says-deputy-minister-2018-10-15
- Reporter. 2018, October 15. “Nel builds case for interlinked urban-rural development”. SA News. Available at www.sanews.gov.za/south-africa/nel-builds-case-interlinked-urban-rural-development
- Davis, G. 2018, May 8. “‘SA getting urbanised on back of apartheid’s legacy of inequality, poverty”. Eye Witness News. Available at http://ewn.co.za/2018/05/08/sa-getting-urbanised-on-back-of-apartheid-s-legacy-of-inequality-poverty
- World Economic Forum, 2016, May 15. “ANALYSIS: Africa’s fastest-growing cities will make or break the continent”. Eye Witness News. Available at https://ewn.co.za/2016/05/15/ANALYSIS-These-are-Africas-fastest-growing-cities-and-theyll-make-or-break-the-continent
- Aravena, A. 2016, October 19. “Two billion more people will live in cities by 2035. This could be good – or very bad”. The Guardian. Available at www.theguardian.com/cities/2016/oct/19/two-billion-more-people-live-cities-alejandro-aravena-habitat-3
- Miller, J. 2016, June 23. “Divided cities: South Africa’s apartheid legacy photographed by drone”. The Guardian. Available at www.theguardian.com/cities/gallery/2016/jun/23/south-africa-divided-cities-apartheid-photographed-drone
- Croucamp, P. 2015. “The land time bomb is urban, not rural”. Go! Platteland (Spring), page 11.
Urban farming (international) – some articles
- Poulter, S. 2019, March 6. “Supermarkets are growing fresh produce in ‘pick your own’ aisles”. IOL. Available at www.iol.co.za/lifestyle/food-drink/drink/supermarkets-are-growing-fresh-produce-in-pick-your-own-aisles-19646300
- Fry, S. 2018, August 17. “The world’s first floating farm making waves in Rotterdam”. BBC News. Available at www.bbc.com/news/business-45130010
- Phillips, G. 2018, June 26. “Innovative, sustainable aquaponics production in Berlin”. Farmer’s Weekly. Available at www.farmersweekly.co.za/agri-business/agribusinesses/innovative-sustainable-aquaponics-production-berlin/
- Aquaponics is “an emerging urban farming trend that’s ideal for big cities”. Read the article “Three Aquaponic farms in Brooklyn Killing It” at www.ecowatch.com/3-aquaponic-farms-in-brooklyn-killing-it-1891176412.html.
- Obordo, R. 2018, June 7. “‘Fresh, free and beautiful’: the rise of urban gardening”. The Guardian. Available at www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jun/07/fresh-free-and-beautiful-the-rise-of-urban-gardening
- 2018, February 2. “Nigerian entrepreneur: ‘We’re farming in a shipping container'”. BBC Business. Available at www.bbc.com/news/av/business-42919553/nigerian-entrepreneur-we-re-farming-in-a-shipping-container
- Chow, L. 2017, October 4. “‘World’s First’ Solar-Powered Indoor Farm Coming to Philadelphia”. EcoWatch. Available at www.ecowatch.com/solar-indoor-farm-2492869631.html
- Branson, A. 2017, September 9. “Grow Dwarf Fruit Trees Add Variety and Value to your Food Garden”. Wilderners. Available at http://wilderners.com/grow-dwarf-fruit-trees/
- Mellino, C. 2015, September 28. “Former WWII Bomb Shelter Now World’s First Underground Farm”. EcoWatch. Available at www.ecowatch.com/former-wwii-bomb-shelter-now-worlds-first-underground-farm-1882102891.html
- Food Tank. 2016, April 26. “24 Groups Leading the Charge in Cultivating Urban Farming”. EcoWatch. Available at www.ecowatch.com/24-groups-leading-the-charge-in-cultivating-urban-farming-1891123567.html
- Chow, L. 2016, June 25. “This City Is Home to 820 Urban Farms and Quickly Becoming America’s Urban Ag Capital”. EcoWatch. Available at www.ecowatch.com/this-city-is-home-to-820-urban-farms-and-quickly-becoming-americas-urb-1891182420.html
- Zenghelis, D. & Stern, N. 2016, November 8. “This is humankind’s ‘great urbanisation’. We must do it right, or the planet will pay”. The Guardian. Available at www.theguardian.com/cities/2016/nov/08/mankind-great-urbanisation-era-act-now-planet-pay
- Schilling, D.R. 2014, June 27. “New Urban Farming Technology Grows Gardens and Communities around the World”. Industry Tap. Available at www.industrytap.com/new-urban-farming-technology-grows-gardens-communities-around-world/20669
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