Thornton, Alexander Counihan Books

Dr. Alec Thornton is a Lecturer in Geography (Development Studies) at The University of New South Wales. He holds a Ph.D. in Development Studies.

Urban Agriculture in South Africa: A Study of the Eastern Cape Province
2012 0-7734-3039-3
This volume includes quantitative and qualitative analysis of urban farming in relation to agricultural production and public policy in South Africa. Thornton shows the complexity of the issue as it relates to rampant unemployment and how it can quell certain social problems like a lack of food. Urban farming should, theoretically, be prolific in developing countries experiencing problems associated with modernization which creates food security issues. It also provides employment opportunities for urban poor, but this is met with stigmatizing among modern-thinking youth who want to avoid traditional occupations.

The author provides an overview of the most urban country in Africa, South Africa, and how for a long time politics impeded urban agriculture. It is widely understood that urban agriculture is an important livelihood strategy among the poor for food security and income generation in developing countries. In South Africa, it is emerging as a strategy for poverty alleviation. Despite high unemployment, urban agriculture appears less robust among South Africa’s urban poor households when compared to other developing countries.

The reason for this is the role of a social welfare grant system which provides the key source of household income for most people. The book explores the nature and geographical extent of urban agriculture in one of South Africa’s poorest provinces, the Eastern Cape.