In February 2017, an exciting interdisciplinary project – focused on the co-creation of wild food livelihoods in the Cederberg Mountains – kicked off at UCT. Funded by the Community Engagement programme of the National Research Foundation, the project will run for three years.

The 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.

The wild foods project will explore the close connections between community identity, landscapes and wild edible plant use, and uncover food usages embedded in community memory. In close collaboration with local participants – many of whom reside on commercial farms, local wild edible plants 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.