Part 2. Food in the city in Cape Town, South Africa : Enough for all?
“There are lots of unused spaces out there where if the community came together they could grow food, and have fun at the same time.”
By Steven Bland
Future Cape Town
February 7, 2013
To really achieve urban food production at scale, perhaps we have to look to the skies. Tucked away above the 12th floor of the City of Cape Town’s offices on 44 Wale Street is a small green space of tranquillity and calm. Once no more than a square of barren metal, the place is now teeming with beetroot, spinach and parsley. I sit in the heat with the man behind this creation Stephen Lamb, founder of Touching the Earth Lightly. We munch on vitamin C rich Spekboom leaves. He tells me: “This is about using every un-used roof space, and connecting people in cities with the soil that is beneath them.” By literally putting it above them.
Stephen and a team of students have already mapped all the available food growing roof space in the CBD, and calculated the needs of shops and restaurants on the ground below. Stephen says it will require a partnership between big business, individuals and the city government. The city government has a crucial role to play and has made considerable progress to support initiatives: those at OZCF spoke highly of the staff they dealt with. However its dedicated urban agriculture unit appears to be under-resourced, and in South Africa, it is to eThekwini’s urban agriculture policy to which everyone looks as the “shining light”. But for Stephen, the momentum is already there. “It’s not a matter of if this space will be used, it’s a matter of when. People need to claim it now.”