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Launch of ‘Tomatoes and taxi ranks’ and ‘Urban food systems governance and poverty in African cities’

On 16 November 2018 Africa Research Institute hosted the launch of:

“Urban food systems governance and poverty in African cities” 
(edited by Jane Battersby and Vanessa Watson, published by Routledge)
“Tomatoes & taxi ranks: running our cities to fill the food gap” 
(by Leonie Joubert and the Consuming Urban Poverty team, published by African Centre for Cities)

Both  books are free to download at


Dr. Jane Battersby (senior researcher, African Centre for Cities; research co-ordinator of the ESRC/DFID-funded ‘Consuming Urban Poverty’ project)

Prof. Stephen Agong (Vice Chancellor of Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology, Kenya)

Chair: Prof. Vanessa Watson (University of Cape Town and African Centre for Cities)

About “Urban food systems governance and poverty in African cities”: As Africa urbanises and the focus of poverty shifts to urban centres, there is an imperative to address poverty in African cities…This book argues that an examination of the food system and food security provides a valuable lens to interrogate urban poverty. Chapters examine the linkages between poverty, urban food systems and local governance with a focus on case studies from three smaller or secondary cities: Kisumu (Kenya), Kitwe (Zambia) and Epworth (Zimbabwe).

About “Tomatoes & taxi ranks: running our cities to fill the food gap”: Despite their apparent abundance of resources, our cities often leave the urban poor hungry, heavy, and sick. This book isn’t really about the food that most people eat in Africa’s cities, though. Rather, it’s about the many forces that shape the day-to-day choices that people make as they try to survive close to the breadline, and how that expresses itself through the food they eat. It debunks some of the stubborn misconceptions about how cities keep themselves well fed and well nourished, and considers how to create a more sustainable and equitable urban food system, particularly for those struggling to make ends meet.

You can listen to the presentations and Q&A via the podcast below. Introduction by Vanessa Watson (1.00 mins), Jane Battersby (6.20 mins), Stephen Agong (22.50 mins), Jane Battersby on making the books freely downloadable (40.55 mins), Q&A (46.05 mins).

The slides to accompany the presentations are below. Photographs are by courtesy of Samantha Reinders (


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