Lukhanyo Urban Farming Network is an innovative urban farming startup working with schools, neighborhoods, and micro-farmers in South African townships to address chronic food insecurity.
The ongoing food security crisis in South Africa’s townships is a complex challenge linked to widespread poverty and unemployment, environmental conditions, inadequate infrastructure, and inefficient distribution systems. The Lukhanyo Urban Farming Network (LUFN) seeks to address malnutrition and hunger by increasing access to nutritious food, developing local farming skills, and generating sustainable employment opportunities.
Founded as a small-scale community garden and training center by Jeremy Jones in 2015, LUFN has since grown through incubation at Lukhanyo Hub into a thriving urban farming company focused on leveraging public and private partnerships to implement a network of school food gardens in Khayelitsha and across metropolitan Cape Town. LUFN works with students, staff, and the surrounding neighborhood to provide fresh organic produce and deliver skills and nutrition programs.
LUFN is continuing to broaden and diversify its activities beyond project delivery to include the provision of water resilient growing systems that will allow micro-farmers to improve yields and better adapt to climate impacts, mentoring programs, and harvest management and market coordination services, contributing to the continued scaling up and coordination of the urban agriculture sector in South Africa.
The success of the LUFN model has resulted in a partnership with the Western Cape Education Department focused on the roll-out of school food gardens to eleven sites. Building on an initial skills program catering to school children, LUFN has developed its own training system in collaboration with the government-led Expanded Public Works Program and Community Workers Program and a social enterprise that aims to improve outcomes for unemployed youth and adults.