Izindaba Zokudla – Abstract

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(Conversations About Food): Innovation in the Soweto Food System University of Johannesburg – FADA , South Africa 2013 – ongoing Angus D Campbell, Dr. Naudé Malan The City of Johannesburg (CoJ) is implementing an urban agriculture policy as part of a larger food security initiative (CoJ, 2014). This policy creates opportunities for multi-stakeholder engagement, and Izindaba Zokudla is aimed at creating space for such engagement between urban farmers, stakeholders and the city. Izindaba Zokudla advocates and argues for specific approaches to urban agricultural development in Johannesburg. It draws on participatory research to build the capacity of farmers’ organisations in Johannesburg, to facilitate engagement with food enterprises in the city, and to use design and technology development as a means to improve agricultural practices. (Design Society Development DESIS Lab)

Izindaba Zokudla – Promoters

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University of Johannesburg – FADA Design Society Development South Africa Angus Donald Campbell & Dr. Naudé Malan Promoters Angus D Campbell Dr. Naudé Malan Funders South African National Research Foundation (NRF), University of Johannesburg University Research Fund (URC), UJ Teaching Innovation Fund. Aknowledgements UJ Departments of Anthropology & Development Studies, Industrial Design (project leaders), Graphic Design, Multimedia & Business Management.; The Region D Farmers’ Forum, Soweto; The City of Johannesburg’s Department of Social Development , Food Resilience Unit; Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development; The Wits Siyakhana Initiative for Ecological Health and Food Security; Global Innoversity for MetroFood/Ag (based at Michigan State University); Various other NGO’s.

Izindaba Zokudla – Governance and policymaking

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Izindaba Zokudla is actively engaged with government (CoP, GDARD, DoE), the farmers (RDFF), academic institutions (UJ, Wits) and civil society groups (The Food Gardens Foundation) to identify issues with current policy and encourage its improvement, as well as providing opportunities for better understanding of policy for farmers on a grassroots level. (Design Society Development DESIS Lab)

Izindaba Zokudla – Activism and civic participation

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Izindaba Zokudla has been facilitating the NPO (not for profit organisation) registration of the Region D Farmers’ Forum (a collective of 32 farming sites and 300 dependents in Soweto). Though our engagement with them, a process of participatory workshops have enabled high level politicians and farmers to meet and discuss issues face to face. (Design Society Development DESIS Lab)

Izindaba Zokudla – Social interactions and relations

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As the project’s name suggests, Izindaba Zokudla is a conversation about how to change the current food system in Soweto, this has required active and regular interaction with farmers and other stakeholders. (Design Society Development DESIS Lab)

Izindaba Zokudla – City and environmental planning

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Izindaba Zokudla is mostly focused on urban farming in Soweto, a previously marginalised township. However the conversation expands into the inner city of Johannesburg as well as the broader Gauteng City Region since issues of food insecurity and employment are widespread. (Design Society Development DESIS Lab)

Izindaba Zokudla – Production, distribution and consumption

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Izinadaba Zokudla co-designs technology with farmers to sustainably increase productivity. Fresh produce is then sold through the Soweto Imvelo Market, another co-designed intervention with the farmers. This ultimately leads to increased consumption of locally produced food and provides opportunities for local entrepreneurs to enter either the urban farming or farm equipment market. (Design Society Development DESIS Lab)

Izindaba Zokudla – Skill training and Design education

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The project focuses on training farmers through farmer’s schools and through a co-designed online knowledge portal that will provide and share local, contextually relevant, farming knowledge. Additionally Industrial Design, Graphic Design, Multimedia and Development Studies students are all actively involved in service learning projects that feed into the broader aims of Izindaba Zokudla, this takes education out of the lab, into the ground. (Design Society Development DESIS Lab)

Izindaba Zokudla – Job creation

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The participatory design methods, used to develop appropriate technology with farmers, provides the opportunity for sustainable intensification and potential increased profit for farmers. This in turn provides visible evidence of urban agriculture’s feasibility for employment in the broader community and this can provide entrepreneurial opportunities for both farming and the manufacture of equipment. (Design Society Development DESIS Lab)

Izindaba Zokudla – Storytelling and visualization

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Storytelling and conversation provide the opportunity for visual concept ideation by both expert designers and farmers. This is then re-evaluated and refined through physical prototyping in multiple iterative stages to result in the most viable outcome for the specific context and issue at hand. (Design Society Development DESIS Lab)