Working Papers

A Food Charter for the Western Cape? A Critical Inquiry and Scoping Study

Published 30 September 2020, by Etai Even-Zahav, Scott Drimie and Gareth Haysom

Publication: Food Security Working Paper #006

The idea of a food charter has been proposed in several fora by diverse organisations and individuals for several years as one potentially effective tool for addressing food system challenges in South Africa. This working paper undertakes a critical inquiry into what a charter means, historically, both internationally and nationally, the subsequent proliferation of ‘food charters’ in the ‘global north’, South Africa’s special relationship with charters, and finally their connection or lack thereof to the various proposals to undertake a food charter locally. The paper unravels some of the influences as well as presumptions about what a food charter might mean in the South African context and opens a more nuanced conversation about what it might be able to achieve, who might legitimately drive such a process, why ‘food charters’ have been met with (vague) support from progressives on the one hand, and staunch opposition from many in government on the other.

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