Yours Consciously – Letter to the Editor

By Roger Oxlee, Conscious Consumer Group (CCG)

Philippi Horticulture Area

The Philippi Horticulture Area (PHA), the unique 3,000ha farmlands located within the city of Cape Town and in the heart of the Cape Flats has been the city’s breadbasket since 1885.

PhilippiFarmerDear Editor,

I refer to the article   “City’s breadbasket threatened”   CAPETIMES /  31 January 2016   By: Nazeer Sonday

It is generally accepted that the City of Cape Town is very well-run city in the South African context. It needs development for economic growth and expansion of housing accommodation, however, the prioritisation of land use needs to be reviewed in conjunction not only with a “same-old” approach to spatial planning, but also to the absolutely critical need to place urban agricultural policy atop the list. Local food production is promoted by the United Nations as it brings local food security with minimal transportation, reduced use of fossil fuels and the like. It also promotes the local economy where it is needed most. Over the plast three to five years the United Nations has published strong positions on sustainability.

Refer to the paper called “Wake Up Before Is Too Late” from UNCTAD.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               ( ). Also see the news report thereon with the quote “Business As Usual Is not An Option”                

The findings of MEC Bredell need to be honoured. The developers of the 20 000 strong housing scheme need to be told to take a step back, think more sustainably and find another spot. This development will affect water quality and security.

“Politicians who turn a blind eye to these critical local matters face the risk of what happened at Flint in the USA”

Politicians who turn a blind eye to these critical local matters face the risk of what happened at Flint in the USA with its poisoned water supply. In this instance we are talking food security and agro-ecological practices with manifold benefits and economic multipliers, through small-scale farmers which can supply food to new urban development.

Cape Town City Council should re-think very carefully its priorities in terms of development and true sustainability. Our food sources with long supply chains are becoming more and more aggregated in favour of large commercial farms. “Local is Lekker! “Truly. How can we benefit a local economy and its sustainability if taking away from local, small scale eco-friendly farmers? The temptation for more bulk contributions to council coffers for services, plus more rates and taxes is obvious.

“Water friendly local farming practices should be part of COUNCIL’s priorities, not the opposite.”

For REAL New SA progress, in this instance the development is skewed in favour of housing development on land instead of a sustainable-read regenerative-future.  Commercial agriculture uses massive amounts of water-as the current drought shows this leaves us vulnerable. There is a crisis in world ecology and food supply systems which is in front of our noses. Water friendly local farming practices should be part of COUNCIL’s priorities, not the opposite. It is time for real change in future thinking towards what works “on the ground” for a sustainable, regenerative future. How about collaborating with the provincial MEC for agriculture with a visionary approach as to how we can grow and feed ourselves locally? Phillippi is an asset-an asset for local economy growth, self-sufficiency and a healthy agro-ecology.

“Same-old” development projects which take more resources need to be looked at far more intelligently in the bigger scheme of what is happening in food production/self-sufficiency, ecology, environmental degradation, arable, healthy soil build-up and depletion of water resources through use and policy.  It is not just about managing resources, it is about how they will serve us in the future. That means we have to care for them now.

Roger Oxlee

Conscious Consumer Group 

Organic & biodynamic Market (OBDM)

See petition here to save Philippi Horticulture Area


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