Private housing plans threaten a vital source of food and water security for Cape Town.
Original article by Sarah Emily Duff
A recent post on Tangerine and Cinnamon blog highlighted the threat to
the Philippi Horticultural Area (PHA) after a Mayoral Committee approved
an application from a private housing company to have 280 hectares
rezoned for residential housing.
The PHA has been growing vegetables for Cape Town and the surrounding areas since the 19th century.
a mix of large-scale farming and smallholdings and several well-known
‘veggie basket’ companies such as Harvest for Hope are based here,
providing employment, income and food for very poor communities around
the Philippi area.
Sarah Duff, the author of the article above,
quoted lots of stats, research and reports into why allowing the loss of
more than 10% of the agricultural area to urban development is a bad,
short-sighted decision and also provided links to places where petitions
could be signed and protests made.
But where are all the Cape Town foodies in this equation?
Town prides itself on a huge and thriving food culture with loads of
farmers’ markets, fresh produce available, sustainable seafood
initiatives etc etc.
Why has there not been a big outcry about this?
Here Sarah puts it very eloquently on her blog:
mean, after all, these are the people who profess to love local
produce, and who argue that their interest in food and cooking has the
potential to do good in the world.
These are people with clout:
who appear on television programmes, who write for newspapers and
magazines with large circulations.
These are the people who have
the power to shame Patricia de Lille and other members of the Mayoral
Committee into rethinking their decision.
They have, I would
argue, a moral duty to use their position to save the region that
produces the vegetables they cook with, and which they eat at
And what are they doing? Is their lack of interest
in the PHA to do with the fact that it’s in a poor part of Cape Town?
That there aren’t any high-end chefs with restaurants in Philippi? That
they can’t find the same sort of meaning in the PHA as they do in baking
If they’re really serious about supporting small
agriculture in Cape Town, then, surely, they’ll pay as much attention to
the PHA as they would to the garden at Babylonstoren.”
What do you think, does she have a point? Should we be doing more to raise awareness of this? Or is it just another storm in a teacup?
By: Cathy Marston