Sustainable Food Systems

Sustainability Institute

Food Security, Agro-Ecological Science and Land Reform: A Stellenbosch Case Study

Area/s of Food Security (Access, Availability, Utilization) that project/s fall under:

The project falls into all three of the above and also includes trying to understand if stability of food supply within the region

How does the Project fit in with the FSI VISION?

The FSI vision is as follows: The aim of the SU Food Security Initiative is to create and ensure food security to improve nutrition and thereby reduce the effects of poverty and hunger…

A further stated vision of the OSP FSI project is as follows: The Food Security Initiative contributes to the emergence of a resilient, sustainable food system for Southern Africa, by reconceptualising the food security challenge, and creating new models of practice in the food system, through the integration of findings from in-depth research on key issues in the food value chain, collaboration across disciplinary boundaries, capacity building, and systematic impact assessment.

The project of the Sustainability Institute is to respond to the above aim but from the perspective of sustainability and agroecology specifically

Goal/s of the Projects

The framework for achieving this is through:

  • promoting a agricultural and access model that is dependent on increased buying of locally produced food;
  • promoting agro-ecological science and practice in Stellenbosch across the research, agricultural and residential sectors.

Agro-Ecological Science

Objectives of the Project/s

This project will work closely with two existing projects, the Sustainability Institute Sustainable Agriculture programme and the Sustainable Stellenbosch project:

Understand the key policy limitations to food security in South Africa at the national level and provide evidence and suggestions for change.

To undertake a systematic review of the evidence underlying food security strategies and interventions.

Develop a model to help the region cope with different and changing climatic regimes in terms of agricultural production and translate this into policy and practice.

To study the movements of food and people in order to better understand limitations to people’s access to food and what the best ways are for this to be changed.

Empower small-scale farmers through appropriate new technologies.

Household and individual food security – what are the socio-economic stresses facing vulnerable communities?

The Key Project areas include the following:

  • Evaluate existing food security work within a region of South Africa and develop the understanding of the food security challenges facing South and Southern Africa
  • Review food security strategies at both national and regional level and identify specific challenges to food security at the national and regional level
  • Establish resource database of food security initiatives and potential
  • Research & catalogue agricultural interventions within the region using Stellenbosch municipality as a research site, where alternative agricultural practices are offering viable and productive agro-ecological responses
  • Research the political economy of the Stellenbosch food chain
  • Identify local economic systems to enhance access to food
  • Investigation of the existing production-beneficiation strategies of food production in the Stellenbosch region
  • Identify and model appropriate food production options in the Stellenbosch region
  • Identify health & food insecurity challenges experienced by a community in the Stellenbosch region
  • Design a model to obtain food security in Stellenbosch
  • Summary report of all findings related to food security challenges in the Stellenbosch region, Western Cape

Sustainable Agriculture programme

What will the Outcomes of the Project be?

Meeting the vision of the FSI

Directly linked

The different areas of Food Security

(Access, Availability, Utilisation and Stability)


3 Masters Theses and 3 peer review papers plus one model and one workshop (1 Masters thesis already submitted)


Provide direct feedback to Stellenbosch Municipality on their food security strategy (local strategy per the National IFSS) and further provide input to existing food security processes through the Sustainable Food Lab, the Food Security policy process within the DBSA and others that emerge)

Community Impacts

Provide input to Stellenbosch food security strategy, generate understanding, through community input, into the food status within the region. Also working with the agroecological farming communities to develop resource material for broader dissemination

Input to the Food Security rhetoric

To actively present food security as a complex challenge embedded within a complex system of agriculture, food distribution and all aspects of food security namely Access, Availability, Utilisation and Stability.

What is the duration of the study?

How many students and researchers are involved?

One year research process with 3 students directly involved and with modules specific to the subject of food security

What funding opportunities exist for your project?

Currently submitted proposals in association with University of Cape Town’s Urban Food Security Project (AFSUN) and currently in discussions to link the SI FSI project to other funding streams. Also using complimentary funds from the Sustainability Institute

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