UCOOK for Good
We’ve got one goal in mind – to contribute to socio-economic, environmental and food security in South Africa, in every aspect of our business operations.
FINDING A WAY FORWARD
The problems in agriculture
Agriculture is the world’s largest economic sector, and continues to contribute to much of the population’s livelihood. But many people working in agriculture do not receive an adequate income and live in a continuous state of poverty. The solution? Providing better market access, leading to an increase in income for workers, enhancing food security and providing opportunities for further enterprise development.
Conventional agriculture has many negative impacts on the ecological stability of the food system. Think the loss of biodiversity, soil degradation, pressure on water resources, and greenhouse gas emissions. Here at UCOOK, we know that in order to fight for ecological stability in the food system, we need to support ecologically sound farming practices.
THE SOLUTIONS START HERE
Khulisa Amafama is a project founded by UCOOK, in partnership with Abalimi Bezekhaya and the Philippi Economic Development Initiative. The project is working directly with a group of emerging farmers in the Cape Flats area, providing market access, training, resource and infrastructure support, and helping to grow farmers’ livelihoods.
PEDI is a not-for-profit company formed in 1998 by the City of Cape Town to help improve the Philippi area through economic development, business support and community engagement. Within PEDI, there lies the Philippi Urban Agricultural Academy which aims to empower and train emerging farmers. PEDI also runs an AgriHub, which includes a network of 65 small-scale urban farmers. The Agrihub is both a source of information and training, with a special focus on PGS-Organic standards, as well as an agri-processing facility, providing farmers an opportunity to sell a higher value product directly to market.
Abalimi Bezekhaya, established in 1982, is a non-profit public benefit organisation that assists micro-farmers in impoverished communities within the Cape Flats area to establish and maintain home and community vegetable gardens. This enables those groups and communities to supplement their existing, inadequate supply of food and create livelihoods. Abalimi’s core business is focussed on providing training, access to resources such as seedlings and compost, support around capital infrastructure, and assistance around market access.
Growing Our Farmers
Launched in January 2021, this one-year pilot project aims to test the model whereby farmers are growing produce directly for UCOOK’s market needs. Learn more about the project in this short film.
HOW WE ARE SUPPORTING THESE FARMERS
The four project pillars
The major struggle for small scale farmers is finding a market for their produce. Through tailored production plans, UCOOK is able to provide farmers with secure market access.
Each project farmer has a dedicated field mentor to assist them with quality, planning, and record keeping. In addition, the farmers attend business development workshops to help grow their businesses.
To assist with improving soil quality, project farmers receive routine batches of composted manure and organic fertiliser. Farmers also receive a selection of seeds and seedlings to start each season’s planting.
We assist by connecting our project farmers to external funding from the DOA or VPUU. Where possible, we direct additional funds towards ensuring their basic infrastructure needs are met.
THIS IS JUST THE BEGINNING
How we’re working towards a better future
Looking forward, UCOOK for Good is committed to working directly with farmers to ensure that they are provided with the best possible opportunities to grow their businesses. Through research-based training programmes, we’re investing in enterprise development to improve the long-term sustainability of Cape Town’s food system.
We have the vision to see this project growing, supporting farmers across South Africa. Together with the Kolisi Foundation, we are monitoring the project’s development and success. With this partnership, our two organisations are committed to learning collectively to amplify our efforts in the future.