Research & projects

The Food Systems Centre undertakes a variety of research and projects. In terms of research, FSC staff help students of the Masters in Sustainable Development to conceptualise and conduct research related to sustainable food systems topics. Academic research is conducted with local and international academic partners, both on an ad hoc basis, and as part of larger research and capacity building projects. Occasionally, clients contract the FSC to produce research on food systems topics related to their specific needs.

Food systems projects


ACCAI network: co-producing knowledge for sustainable food systems in Africa
Current The FSC represents Stellenbosch University in this network of five African universities that also include the universities of Ghana, Mekelle, Dar Es Salaam and Witwatersrand. ACCAI aims to improve capacity to produce excellent and relevant research that can improve the sustainability of African food systems in the face of climate change. More information about the network can be found at

The FSC has been supporting five Masters' students at Stellenbosch University as part of this funding and these students have had opportunities to meet their contemporaries in the network as various training events held in Stellenbosch, Accra and Dar Es Salaam. This project continues to the end of 2017 and will see more student research supported and exchanges facilitated.

Open Society Foundation: Capacity-building in transdisciplinary research skills for food security The FSC and the TsamaHub at the University of Stellenbosch are managing a project that focuses on improving transdisciplinary research capacity among African scholars in the ACCAI network, to ensure innovative approaches to research into sustainable food systems.tions the major projects the Food Systems Centre is currently involved with or managing


The Food (R)evolutions exhibition (2015 and 2016)
This exhibition was curated by Luke Metelerkamp and run by Gwen Meyer. The exhibition aimed to generate interest in alternative research approaches to tackling complex problems like food system sustainability.
You can read more about the exhibition, its aims and achievements at its dedicated website:

Ernst & Young (EY) research series (2014 and 2015)
EY commissioned the FSC to produce a series of research papers on food systems that would be useful to private sector actors trying to understand how to engage in African food systems. Note that copies of these reports, prepared by Luke Metelerkamp, can be found on the SI website, under 'SI Research & Publications'.

Student research & publications

Here is an overview of the types of research projects undertaken by Masters' students and facilitated by staff of the Food Systems Centre in recent years. We're extremely proud of the diverse array of topics we are able to assist students in exploring, as well as the high quality of the outputs produced.

Please note that the PDF versions of these theses can be obtained by searching the SUNScholar website:

  1. Etai Even-Zahav. 2016. Food security and the urban informal economy in South Africa: the state of knowledge and perspectives from street-food traders in Khayelitsha. MPhil, Stellenbosch University. Cum laude.
  2. William Gibson. 2016. Agro-ecological and Conservation Agriculture principles that may assist large scale dry-land sugarcane farmers, in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands South region, to improve soil quality. MPhil, Stellenbosch University.
  3. Lelethu Tshofuthi. 2016. Benefits and limitations of the informal economy in promoting sustainable and inclusive local economic development: A Stellenbosch case study. MPhil, Stellenbosch University.
  4. Chinweoke Ike. 2015. Measuring household food security status in Taraba State, Nigeria: Comparing key indicators. MPhil, Stellenbosch University.
  5. Douglas Strachan. 2014. The design, implementation and assessing of an agroecological cropping system by rural KwaZulu-Natal households: its effect on their diet and food security. MPhil, Stellenbosch University. Cum laude.
  6. Fanuel Masunda. 2014. Assessing the impact of sustainable farming techniques on smallholder farm enterprises in Zimbabwe. MPhil, Stellenbosch University.
  7. Sheila Kapungu. 2013. A study of rural women farmers’ access to markets in Chirumanzu. MPhil, Stellenbosch University.
  8. Chantelle van Niekerk. 2012. The benefits of agritourism: two case studies in the Western Cape. MPhil, Stellenbosch University.
  9. Silent Taurayi. 2011. An investigation of natuurboerdery (natural farming) approach: a ZZ2 case study. Stellenbosch University.
  10. Anri Landman. 2011. Growing sustainable food systems: a study of local food distribution initiatives in Stellenbosch. Stellenbosch University. Cum laude.
  11. Luke Metelerkamp. 2011. Commercial agriculture in the Swartland: investigating emerging trends towards more sustainable food production. Stellenbosch University.
  12. George Manjengwa. 2011. Animal traction and small-scale farming: a case study of Eric Swarts’ farm. Stellenbosch University.
  13. Jess Schulschenk. 2010. Benefits and limitations of local food economies in promoting sustainability: a Stellenbosch case study. Stellenbosch University. Cum laude.
  14. Ingrid Hoaës. 2009. Does Post-Settlement Support Play a Role in the Success of Land Reform? The Case of the Resettlement Beneficiaries in Namibia. MPhil, Stellenbosch University.

Below follows a list of publications produced by staff and associates of the Food Systems Centre over the years:

  1. Even-Zahav, E. and Kelly, C. 2016. Systematic review of the literature on ‘informal economy’ and ‘food security’. PLAAS Working Paper no. 35. Cape Town: PLAAS, UWC and Centre of Excellence on Food Security.
  2. Ike, C.U., Jacobs, P. and Kelly, C. 2016. Towards comprehensive food security measures: comparing key indicators. Africa Insight, 45(3):91-110.
  3. Wakeford, J., Lagrange, S. and Kelly, C. 2015. Mitigating risks and vulnerabilities in the energy-food-water nexus in developing countries. [Online]. London: Department for International Development. Available at:
  4. Kelly, C. and Metelerkamp, L. 2015. Smallholder farmers and organic agriculture in South Africa. [Online]. Stellenbosch: Southern Africa Food Lab. Available at:
  5. McLachlan, M., Hamann, R., Sayers, V., Kelly, C. and. Drimie, S. 2015. Fostering innovation for sustainable food security: The Southern Africa Food Lab. In Bitzer, V., Hamann, R., Hall, M. and Wosu Griffin-EL, E. (eds.). The Business of Social and Environmental Innovation. New Frontiers in Africa. Switzerland: Springer.
  6. Kelly, C., Schulschenk, J., Landman, A. and Haysom, G. 2012. A sustainable food system for Stellenbosch. In Swilling, M., Loots, R. and Sebitosi, B. (eds.). Sustainable Stellenbosch: Opening Dialogues. Stellenbosch: SUNMedia. pp102-115.
  7. Kelly, C. and Schulschenk, J. 2011. Assessing the vulnerability of Stellenbosch’s food system and possibilities for a local food economy. Development South Africa, 28(4):563-578.
  8. Haysom, G. 2011. The Stellenbosch Food System: Towards 2030. Draft Strategy Document. Output of the HOPE Project Food Security Initiative and submitted to Stellenbosch Municipality in 2011.