How do the cities we live
in shape what we eat?


Leonie Joubert

Science writer Leonie Joubert is an award-winning author who uses different ways of storytelling to grapple with the tough issues of today as we try to find ways to live together on a tightly packed planet: climate and environmental change, energy policy, cities as development hubs, and why today’s food system leaves many of us hungry, heavy, and sick. Leonie was the 2007 Ruth First Fellow; was listed in the Mail & Guardian’s 200 Young South Africans You Must Take to Lunch (2008); was twice given an honorary mention in the Sunday Times Alan Paton Nonfiction Awards (2007 and 2010); was named the 2009 SAB Environmental Journalist of the Year (print/internet category); and was shortlisted for the 2016 City Press Tafelberg Nonfiction Award.

Vanessa Watson

Vanessa is the Principal Investigator on the Consuming Urban Poverty Project and professor of city planning in the School of Architecture, Planning and Geomatics, and the African Centre for Cities, University of Cape Town. She is a University Fellow, Global South editor for Urban Studies, co-editor for the European Journal of Development Research and co-editor of the RTPI Routledge book series. She is on the editorial and advisory boards of a number of other international journals. Her research over the last thirty-five years has focussed on urban planning in the global South and the effects of inappropriate planning practices and theories especially in Africa. Her work seeks to unsettle the geo-politics of knowledge production in planning by providing alternative theoretical perspectives from the global South. She was chair and co-chair of the Global Planning Education Association Network (2007-2011) and is a founder of the Association of African Planning Schools.

Jane Battersby

Jane is the Research Coordinator of the Consuming Urban Poverty Project, and is a Senior Researcher at the African Centre for Cities, UCT. Jane has worked on urban food issues in Africa since 2007. Having started out looking at household food security, she has expanded her research focus to consider issues of preservation of agricultural land, retail planning, food justice, food system assessments, and series of food system governance issues. She has worked with local, provincial and national governments and with global agencies including UN Habitat, FAO, UNEP, the World Bank, and the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition. She is the 2017 Premio Daniel Carasso laureate and a member of the Independent Expert Group of the Global Nutrition Report. She is also the Principal Investigator of the Nourishing Spaces project.

Samantha Reinders

Samantha is a photojournalist based between South Africa and Nepal. She holds a graduate degree in visual communications from Ohio University. She believes strongly in telling people’s stories as personally as she can and with as much empathy as possible. She has been trusted by various editorial and NGO clients, including: the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, TheNew York Times, National Geographic, Action Aid, the United Nations Development Programme, Vanity Fair, the Financial Times, and more. Samantha loves her job.

Masixole Feni

Masixole is a freelance photojournalist. He has worked for various news media such as Paris Courier, The Big Issue magazine, GroundUp and Independent Newspapers in Cape Town. He shoots projects of relevant social issues in the townships and has, over time, built an impressive body of work. Masixole started his career as a photographer in his early teens when he joined Jenny Altschuler’s Drumming Photography Workshop at the Iziko SA Museum in 1999. Between 2011 and 2012 he was formally accepted on the South African Centre for Photography’s mentorship programme. He soon began working for newspapers and NGOs, winning a number of awards along the way.

Contributing authors and researchers

Gareth Haysom
Caroline Skinner
Paul Opiyo
Gilbert Siame
Percy Toriro
Fadzai Muramba
Robyn Bowden
Robyn Park-Ross
Alison Pulker
Jo Hunter Adams
Fridah Siyanga-Tembo


The Consuming Urban Poverty project is one of a series of food-related projects hosted by the African Centre for Cities (ACC) a leading knowledge centre conducting meaningful research on how to understand, recast and address pressing urban crises, particularly on the African continent.

Since most urban challenges such as food security, climate change adaptation, economic inclusion and cultural vitality are inherently interdisciplinary and spatially layered, ACC nurtures the co-production of knowledge favouring and cultivating critical perspectives from, and of, the global south. Through its research, ACC aims to contribute to imaginative policy discourses and practices to promote vibrant, just and sustainable cities.

Kisumu Local Interaction Platform (KLIP) of Mistra Urban Futures, a knowledge hub in Kisumu, Kenya, is the which is the research partner in the case study site.

Copperbelt University
The Copperbelt University was the Consuming Urban Poverty project is the research partner in the case study site of Kitwe, Zambia.

University of Zimbabwe
The University of Zimbabwe was the Consuming Urban Poverty project research partner in Harare, Zimbabwe.


The support of the Economic and Social Research Council (UK) and the UK Department for International Development is gratefully acknowledged.

Production Coordination

Robyn Park-Ross and Alma Viviers


Idea in a Forest


We Love Jam


Phuleng Stewart


Linda Martindale

Print & Binding

Rob Gomm at Hansa Digital & Litho Printing (Pty)
GraphiCraft (Pty) Ltd


All images used on this website are by Samantha Reinders and Maxisole Feni.

For ease of reading references have been removed from website text. For a complete list of references please consult Tomatoes and Taxi Ranks.

The content of the website and the Tomatoes and Taxi Ranks book is published under Creative Commons license (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0).