Major Research Project

Creating transformative spaces in the food system

Project Leader(s): Prof Scott Drimie, Dr. Laura Pereira, Prof. Reinette (Oonsie) Biggs, Dr. Luke Metelerkamp, Glenn Ashton

The persistence of hunger and malnutrition in South Africa are complex and interrelated, spanning environmental, health, economic, sociopolitical and agro-food issues. Feeding a growing population a healthy, affordable and environmentally sustainable diet will undoubtedly remain one of the greatest challenges facing the country and has been highlighted in Sustainable Development Goals 2 and 3 to end hunger and improve health, respectively.

Research conducted focuses on transformations in the food system to better meet the food needs of people sustainably and more equitably. Using novel methodologies and facilitated processes like T-labs, learning journeys, dialogues and visioning processes, we continually look at the transformative potential of niche, alternative food initiatives to shift the Western Cape food system onto a more sustainable trajectory. More broadly this work is positioned to inform broader initiatives across South Africa in policy and governance arrangements. This collaborative learning and experimental action has informed research on appropriate food system governance arrangements that enable actors in the system to come together to address linked issues related to food. An important partnership is with the Southern Africa Food Lab (

Collaborating Institutes