Urban Agriculture and Various Food Sourcing Strategies: How Can They Mitigate Food Insecurity Amongst the Urban Poor in Cape Town, South Africa?

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Letts, Ellen
Urban Agriculture , South Africa , Cape Town , Food Security
South Africa is considered food secure yet, depending on the source used, it is estimated that food insecurity exists in 20-52% of households. Many factors, such as differing livelihood strategies, play significant roles in determining food security and this project attempted to explore these issues, using Cape Town as a case study. In particular, we compared two types of urban agricultural interventions:home and community gardening as facilitated by two urban agriculture NGO’s (Soil for Life and Abalimi, respectively). Semi-structured interviews were conducted amongst 91 participants living below the poverty line in two ‘townships’ in Cape Town: Langa and Khayelitsha. Twenty-five home-gardeners in Langa and 21 community-gardeners in Khayelitsha were interviewed and compared with equal numbers of non-gardeners in both areas. Data analysis showed that participants who cited community gardening as a food source were most food secure (Household Food Insecurity Access Scale [HFIAS] = 13.04), followed by Langa’s home gardeners (HFIAS = 18.88), Langa’s non-gardeners (HFIAS = 21.84) and finally non-gardeners in Khayelitsha (HFIAS = 22.25). Food Security for non-gardeners in Langa and Khayelitsha was correlated with income (r=0.78; 0.48, respectively), as compared to both gardening groups. The gardeners in Langa and Khayelitsha also showed more diversified diets and lower Months of Inadequate Household Food Provisioning Scores (MIHFP), indicating fewer months of inadequate food provisioning. These data suggest that food security may be positively affected by gardening practices as well as by increased diversity in food sourcing. Community gardening appeared to be more effective than home gardening, perhaps due to greater accessibility to inputs such as land space, manure and water, as facilitated directly by the associated NGO.
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