Urban Forum

, Volume 24, Issue 4, pp 447–461 | Cite as

Growing Communities: Integrating the Social and Economic Benefits of Urban Agriculture in Cape Town

  • Jane BattersbyEmail author
  • Maya Marshak


There has been growing interest in the use of urban agriculture to address food insecurity and poverty in Cape Town. This reflects debates on urban agriculture in the global south. In the north, growing food in cities has been tended to be framed in terms of its social benefits. This paper investigates the perceived benefits of urban agriculture in projects in Seawinds and Vrygrond in Cape Town. Using the concept of metabolic rift is argues for connections between northern and southern constructions of urban agriculture. This approach enables connections to be seen between the practice in seemingly different areas without losing the local context. The paper argues that by using this integrated approach, projects may be more sustainable and ultimately provide both clearer social and economic benefits.


Urban agriculture Cape Town Economic development Social development 



This work was funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) through its University Partners in Cooperation and Development (UPCD) Tier One Program. The authors wish to thank the African Food Security Urban Network, and Department of Environmental and Geographical Science and African Centre for Cities at UCT for their ongoing support.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.African Centre for CitiesUniversity of Cape TownCape TownSouth Africa
  2. 2.Department of Environmental and Geographical ScienceUniversity of Cape TownCape TownSouth Africa

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