A Critical Analysis of the Influence of Social Innovation in Addressing Food (In)Security in the Context of Natural Disaster
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The conventional top-down, command-and-control approach to disaster management and buffers implemented during times of crisis are often rendered unsustainable, as these strategies fail to encourage community resilience. In South Africa, recent years have seen the emergence of bottom-up practices and processes where diverse actors co-create solutions. However, despite these inclusive models, local communities remain plagued by poverty and food insecurity. These social inequalities are exacerbated in the context of natural and human disaster. It is against this backdrop that this study investigates the influence of social innovation, novel solutions to pressing social challenges, in addressing food (in)security during times of crisis. The study is qualitatively oriented and makes use of semi-structured in-depth interviews, as well as literature review and document analysis data collection methods. This research endeavour is affiliated to the DSI-NRF Centre of Excellence in Food Security and the Social Innovation & Development Niche Area/Special Projects Unit. The study is conducted, given the levels of food insecurity in South Africa, amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic and its after-effects, past and ongoing floods and drought, insecure employment, widening inequality, climate crisis, etc. The study analyses the influence of social innovations that emerged to address the threat posed by the COVID crisis and the recent Cape Town water crisis on food security.