Biowatch South Africa is a SKI founding partner and is the SKI lead partner. An environmental and social justice NGO, Biowatch challenges industrial agriculture and demonstrates ecologically sustainable alternatives to ensure biodiversity, food sovereignty, and social justice. Biowatch works simultaneously at the policy level and directly with projects on the ground involving small-holder farmers. Biowatch is supporting small-holder farmers in agroecological practice, and affirming and building on traditional agricultural knowledge through agroecological training, farmer exchanges, and supporting seed rituals. Biowatch works in five project sites in northern KwaZulu-Natal: Ingwavuma, KwaNgwanase, Pongola, Mkhuze, and Mtubatuba.
Based in the Department of Environmental and Geographical Science, the University of Cape Town’s Bio-economy SARChI Chair is a SKI founding partner. The Chair, through Professor Rachel Wynberg and a team of postgraduate students and postdoctoral fellows, brings research and collaborations linked to seed, knowledge, and agroecology; policy expertise; and a track record of working on issues relating to traditional knowledge, intellectual property, biodiversity, and social justice. Recent and current research focuses on the political economy of small-scale farming in Lesotho;local foodways and links to food sovereignty; impacts of agrichemical use in the South African wheat industry; realising farmers’ rights in southern Africa; intersections of farmers’ rights and digital sequence information; exploring the political ecology of net zero and nature-based solutions; changing foodways in the Cederberg Mountains; and an investigation into the networks associated with the Alliance for a Green Revolution for Africa (AGRA). Past projects have centred on the resilience of local seed systems; links between seed and food security; implications of new genetic technologies for small-holder farmers; and the social-ecological relationships within different systems of maize Agri/culture.
Central foci of the Chair are to bridge the gap between theory and the real world of environmental, inequality, and poverty challenges, and to bring critical perspectives with regard to the social and environmental dimensions of the bio-economy.
Ukuvuna is dedicated to the implementation of optimised sustainable projects within communities in southern Africa. Ukuvuna aims for a fruitful process, a period of gathering yield or produce or harvest. Something positive that cares for the earth and the people (especially women and youth). The focus is on practical skills for diversifying livelihood activities towards creating replicable models of best practice for living sustainably. The process involves a mindset transformation, adaptability and resilience of individuals, families, and society, whilst creating awareness on HIV/AIDS and gender differences.