Thesis Thursday: Frans Pieters

This dissertation; situated in Delft, on the eastern edge of Cape Town, aims to improve livelihoods by establishing a productive urban agricultural operation. This will create jobs, supply healthy food and re-establish farming as a lucrative business in an impoverished community. It is intended to inspire people to transform the landscape of local food production and sustainable agricultural practice.

© Frans Pieters

Most impoverished communities tend to feel the effects of a formal food system that is set up to deliver to more established urban areas. This forces low-income communities to rely on informal retail to supply health food, often at a premium, both for user and supplier. Food supply chains are dispersed resulting in food costs and over-reliance on an extensive transportation sector. My project aims to decrease this footprint allowing nutritious foods to be grown and sold locally. This benefits both the consumer and the producer.

© Frans Pieters

By investigating the leading NGOs promoting urban agriculture and food security in the Western Cape, I have been able to extract valuable spatial lessons from these organizations. I have applied them to create a model of urban agriculture and local food production that can work in these demanding landscapes.

© Frans Pieters

I explored the natural and urban conditions at various scales to determine the number of inputs required for a successful operation. I also investigated the selected technologies to enhance land productivity and food production. Furthermore, I selected systems to establish a sustainable operation in a landscape where resources are valuable and scarce.

© Frans Pieters

With high unemployment a regular statistic in impoverished communities, there will always be labour available and when given the opportunity, local residents can take advantage of the many benefits that such a project can deliver. I hope to develop a model that can be implemented around communities all over South Africa and the world and establish a new type of agricultural model that can supply both the formal and informal food sector.

© Frans Pieters

My project is about celebrating a new agricultural model, none that is integrated into the urban landscape with a particular focus on local production within an impoverished community. It consists of a production farm with educational, research and retail components and a large-scale greenhouse that is intended to change the landscape of Delft.

© Frans Pieters
© Frans Pieters

The farm will run various agricultural operations in a sustainable manner, where waste is recycled and reused allowing for a closed looped operation. Growing, processing, packaging and distributing of produce will take place from the centralized hub. The greenhouse will be the celebratory moment of my project and I envision it to transform the landscape of Delft and the way in which the farming is perceived from a local perspective. The building will showcase all kinds of food growing technologies and will become a landmark in the area as a place of education and production. Specialized crops and seeds will be cultivated, stored and displayed for visitors from around the world, a one of a kind building that fuses food production, education and public interaction.

© Frans Pieters