THE SUSTAINABILITY INSTITUTE and Local WILD
About Making KOS and Local WILD
Loubie Rusch has been exploring the forgotten and neglected wild foods of the Cape since 2010. She has foraged and observed them in nature, has grown, cooked and bottled them and has shared about them, all under the name Making KOS. As time passed, her wild food journey evolved into finding ways for local indigenous foods to contribute to recalibrating the social, economic and ecological imbalances we are surrounded by.
She founded the non-profit Local WILD to consolidate the various collaborations that we're developing with organisations and individuals. Their common commitment, be they research or practice focused, revolve around reintegrating forgotten and neglected local indigenous and wild foods into local foodways*. They address getting to know them, growing them, developing market access, or making use of them in cooking and processing. Their impact varies, from adding to people's livelihoods or wellness, to reclaiming or strengthening localized food culture, or regenerating local biodiverse ecologies. Some are rural projects, others urban, participating both with people who still remember them, as well as with those to whom the plants are not at all familiar.
* the cultural, social, ecological and economic practices of the production and consumption of food
About the Sustainability Institute (SI)
The SI is an education institution that engages students in transformative learning, from preschool right through to postgraduate level. Their reflective research and education programmes call on participants to go on to actively contribute towards just and generative futures. They aim to deepen the learner's connection to place, to self and to community.
Their school children and teachers training programmes are Montessori based, their academic programmes are affiliated to the University of Stellenbosch, and their range of short courses are completely independently formulated. Their Living Soils programmes offer practical learning to their participating students, local households, and farmers in training. Their Nourish programme feeds the campus' school learners daily, caters to staff and learners through their Green Cafe, and caters to the various public events they offer.
Their campus in Lynedoch includes a range of buildings for learning and a mixed income residential ecovillage. The property includes food gardens, a woodland thicket and a variety of natural and landscaped environments that offer a mixture of opportunities for connecting to nature.
More About Local Wild’s Collaboration with the SI
Loubie and the SI have been collaborating in various ways since 2016. The SI’s support back then made it possible to establish the Cape Wild Food Garden in Khayelitsha. That expansion into exploring the cultivation of wild foods previously only wild harvested, is what has resulted in this first publication, the Growers Guide.
With the SI managing the financial, marketing and distribution aspects of a publishing collaboration, a next phase of expansion begins.
In addition to publishing, Local WILD and the SI are also working together on initiatives such as:
- evolving the SI’s indigenous plantings that innovate and showcase propagation and cultivation to support practical learning for their students and visitors
- bringing cultivated indigenous ingredients to market by Living Soils supplying to the Local WILD Food Store an online selling platform
- offering opportunities for the SI's own community and for visitors to get a taste of local indigenous foods through events such as Wild Food Walks, school feeding, dishes offered at the Green Cafe and the SI’s Wild Harvest product range.
About the Book
Cape Wild Foods: A Growers Guide is the first book that Loubie Rusch and the SI have collaborated on. It shares practical plant and cultivation information about 22 plants with edible components, to help small farmers and gardeners with how to include them in their home or food gardens.
Its sequel, A Cooks Guide, is currently being written. It is aimed at home cooks, chefs and culinary students and brings recipes and recipe ideas about the same 22 plants.
The two books, along with a nutritional study about the same plants, is filling some of the gaps in accessible knowledge about the forgotten and underutilised winter rainfall edibles of the Cape Floristic Region. They will help with integrating them into contemporary foodways, and will bring their knowledge base closer to that of the more widely known and used indigenous foods of the summer rainfall Southern Africa.