Co-creating wild food livelihoods in the Cederberg Mountains

An exciting new project has been launched at UCT focused on the Co-creation of Wild Food Livelihoods in the Cederberg Mountains.

Embedded in engaged scholarship, the Co-create project team will work closely with local participants from different communities in the Cederberg Mountains. The aim is to jointly research, develop and document a co-creation process and thus interrogate the different ways in which knowledge is produced and used across the academic-community spectrum, and the interplay between research and practice.

The three year initiative is funded by the Community Engagement Programme of the National Research Foundation. Its interdisciplinary team includes Professor John Parkington from the Department of Archaeology, Associate Professor Rachel Wynberg – SARChI Bio-economy Chair in the Department of Environmental and Geographical Science, botanist Rupert Koopman from Cape Nature, wild foods innovator Loubie Rusch, post-doctoral fellow Katherine Kyriacou, researcher Jaci van Niekerk from the Bio-economy Chair, and post-graduate students Elzanne Singels and Vuyiswa Lupuwana.

Research has shown an intimate connection between community identity, the concept of landscape and plant use. The Co-create team will extend this to explore and develop food usages embedded in community memory. Local wild edible plants most appropriate for further investigation will be identified; and ways for local communities to secure sustainable and equitable benefits will be explored. Through this engaged scholarship process participatory methodologies such as cook-shops will be developed; ingredient sharing and visual mapping facilitated; and insights brought by conservationists, academics, practitioners as well as local knowledge holders in co-creating appropriate wild food livelihood strategies.

Research outputs will include:

  • Dissertations on the co-creation process and implications for sustainable livelihoods.
  • Peer-reviewed publications, developed by academics and community members on (a) describing the process of creating a food community (b) the nutritional analysis of plant foods held in local memory and links to pre-colonial archaeological traces (c) identifying approaches to the selected local foods that facilitate benefit sharing and social justice, and (d) illuminating the relationships between Cederberg communities and the edible landscape.
  • Popular records such as videos and printed manuals deemed useful by the community.
  • A policy brief on local wild food livelihoods.


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