Integral perspectives on food security in South Africa – a replicable global model ?

Integral perspectives on food security in South Africa – a replicable global model ?

Prof. Michael Rudolph

(Wits Siyakhana Initiative for Ecological Health and Food Security, South Africa)

Tuesday 16th June, 10.15am-11.15am, Business School Maurice Keyworth SR 1.03

Food insecurity affects millions of South Africans and can be considered both a high priority and a tough problem entailing a high degree of complexity and controversy. Current empirical and experimental frameworks and definitions informing the food security interventions over-simplify the issue, reducing it to a deficit in food availability and framing it as a primarily rural issue. As a result of this narrow way of conceptualising the issue, interventions tend to focus on traditional agricultural development and extension services, dietary modification and food fortification as effective responses to food insecurity. However, food insecurity is increasingly linked to novel global trends such as climate change, loss of soil integrity, poverty, urbanisation, cultural transformation, GMOs and the global economy, all of which operate across scales. This complexity requires innovative conceptual frameworks that support a more dynamic and holistic engagement with food security. The integral model developed by meta-theorist Ken Wilber offers an elegant analytical framework which recognises the intermeshing of personal, cultural, systemic and technological realms.

Using the South African context as an example, this presentation will explore how the application of an integral framework can enable a more holistic and coherent review of the state of knowledge and nuanced conceptualisation of this daunting and challenging problem. This integral review reveals several opportunities to develop a more effective food security praxis including research and teaching models/frameworks, stimulating public discourse for value shift, the importance of rooting change in social movements and local networks, the importance of social innovation processes and the power of personal transformation to cultivate visionary and courageous leadership that can lead to essential systemic transformation.