Photography by:
  • Blaq Smith & Amanda van der Walt & Simphiwe Mangole

Hungry city-region

  • Ongoing
  • Dr Caryn Abrahams

This project looks at food systems in the Gauteng City Region. It includes work on urban food security and food consumption in the GCR. Research on urban food systems for the most part looks at the extent of urban food insecurity as a marker of the growing urbanisation of poverty. Focusing on food security alone is not enough. More recent work in SA focuses on the need to formulate city-level food policy, and links urban food systems to issues of retail, consumption and access to food. The project will look at the urban food system in the Gauteng City region, and plug in to various research interests in the GCRO including Poverty and Inequality, Sustainability and Life and People in the GCR. This project draws its inspiration from work in other city regions nationally and across the globe which looks at food networks in the City, urban food markets (informal and artisanal); mapping food access (residences and distances from food retail outlets); food SMEs and job creation; food worker’s unions etc.

The project is envisaged to result in a range of further research projects and partnerships around critical aspects in the GCR having to do with food e.g., mapping food safety-net programmes in relation to urban arable land; urban food policy; nutrition and safe food in the GCR; and urban middle-class consumption. The ultimate aim of the project is to form a CityLab which would consider an Urban Food Policy for the GCR.


A scoping study on the state of urban food (in)security and a desk-based review of urban food security policies and strategies will form the basis of a GCRO discussion document. The discussion document will in turn inform both the next phase of work and the formation of the CityLab.


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