South African Urban Food and Farming Trust
South African Urban Food and Farming Trust (SAUFFT) works to build social cohesion and collective agency within and across divided urban communities. SAUFFT was established with the understanding that South Africa is an unequal society, plagued by the persistent legacy of apartheid as well as the impact of the climate crisis and the discontinuities from ever more digital lives -- causing South Africa’s urban communities to be socially, ecologically and economically fragile. In response, the SAUFF Trust supports collaborative urban food gardens, social farms and markets, uses them to build socially, ecologically and economically resilient communities in cities, and scales the impacts through shared design principles, models and data into the cities of southern Africa, Africa and beyond. SAUFFT primarily relies on donations from private local foundations and corporations, as well as on government grants. Local volunteers and university students contribute their time to help run SAUFFT operations and planning. Further, the Trust engages in entrepreneurial activities to increase impact and diversify revenue. This includes fees for services (such as school visits and training), receiving rent allotments for their land or generating retail activity from events. The most successful and profitable ventures are spun off into separate entities, with the Trust being the primary shareholder, thus keeping its non-profit status and tax benefits. Their flagship Oranjezicht City Farm (OZCF) Market was sold to social entrepreneurs, and it now operates as an independent private company under license, with a close cooperative relationship.
As the crisis highlighted a deeply unequal food system stemming from a legacy of colonialism and apartheid, SAUFFT became more closely involved with a network of food gardens near their initial location in Oranjezicht, Cape Town. This involved working with local governments to ensure that informal retailers were included within the relief efforts. Additionally, SAUFFT connected urban farmers with community kitchens to encourage the purchase of local produce. SAUFFT also hosted a virtual event - called the Food Dialogues - that focused on the pandemic and brought together a diverse array of stakeholders to discuss how to assess and respond to the pandemic.
Theory of Change
Collective work and learning around a common denominator, such as food, promotes inclusion, builds social cohesion, and strengthens collective agency within communities, thus motivating policy changes and shifts in social norms from the legacy of apartheid towards equality.
The SAUFF Trust partners with existing organizations and social entrepreneurs to strengthen households, community food gardens and food hubs, and the links between them. SAUFFT provides training, mentoring, networking, market access, fundraising and other support as part of its partnership approach. With their partners, SAUFFT conceptualizes, designs, tests, conducts research and pilots innovative programs, methods, models, and principles that can improve outcomes and scale impacts, substantiated by reliable data. Through communications programs and events, workshops, networking, facilitation and other forms of stakeholder engagement SAUFFT raises awareness, facilitates conversations, and motivates policy changes and shifts in social norms.
Established in 2012, Oranjezicht City Farm (OZCF) 0.25ha community food garden was developed by the SAUFF Trust and now benefits from more than 10,000 hours per annum in community volunteer time, with over 60,000 followers on social media as well as published two books. OZCF is recognized as a leading voice and venue in the urban farming movement in South Africa. Adjacent to OZCF, the community market became the largest of its kind and supports more than 120 local small farmers and food traders, employs more than 300 staff, and accommodates between 8-12,000 visitors each week. The OZCF Market has received multiple awards, including being named a top 20 farmer’s market worldwide by The Independent (UK). SAUFFT’s Food Dialogues 2020 event saw 28 speakers and moderators deliver 51 recorded sessions comprising over 16 hours of content with 892 registered attendees. Following the event, a 54-page report was produced which covered common themes and provided recommendations to shape policy, strategy and priorities across all sectors of society.