While urban agriculture does not have a significant direct impact on food security, the SA Urban Food & Farming Trust is pioneering an approach that builds on local-scale networks of urban farms to bootstrap a shift in fresh produce supply and distribution that has the potential to positively make an impact at a local scale. This ‘collaboratory’ approach brings farmers into a network as co-creative partners and ultimately owners of a form of cooperative that first supports their work as urban farmers (costs and market access), then begins to leverage its infrastructure, networks and capacity to bring benefit as a local food hub for commercial and government entities (restaurants, school feeding schemes, hospitals, etc.) and ultimately directly to residents, strengthening a circular economy and building social cohesion. Each stage in this development is sustainable and progress from one stage to the next is not time-bound or necessary, enabling more resilient and context-appropriate development. The intention is to establish new roots of urban food security by strengthening local urban farms in ways that can feed their community.
The pilot for the first collaboratory, based in the community of Langa, is in partnership with local civil society organisations and the local sub-council of the municipal government. The City of Cape Town’s urban sustainability unit is also participating as an observer in order to shape planning for a carbon-neutral precinct development in a heavily under-resourced part of the city, to be initiated within the next several years.