‘Alternative foods’ and community-based development: Rooibos tea production in South Africa's West Coast Mountains

Nel, E.L. and Binns, T. and Bek, D. (2007) ‘Alternative foods’ and community-based development: Rooibos tea production in South Africa's West Coast Mountains. Applied Geography, 27 (2). pp. 112-129. ISSN 0143-6228



Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.apgeog.2006.11.001


Rooibos tee (red bush tea) (Aspalathus linearis, Fabaceae), which is indigenous only to the Cedarberg and neighbouring mountains of South Africa, has become popular internationally as a result of its apparent health-giving properties. Situated within the broader contexts of alternative food networks, alternate economic spaces and local/community-based development, this paper examines how two marginalised communities have successfully penetrated international markets by supplying organically produced rooibos tea which is certified by the international Fairtrade system. Focusing on the cases of Wupperthal and Heiveld, the paper explores the dynamics of the production and marketing process and the key variables involved. Success has been achieved through active NGO support, which has engaged with local skills and social capital, and has led to significant social and economic upliftment among the participating communities. The experience illustrates how, given the right conditions, poor communities in the South might participate successfully in global alternative food networks.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Rooibos tea; South Africa; community-based development; NGOs; alternative food initiatives; alternate economic spaces; Fairtrade
Subjects:Y Unknown > Subjects to be assigned
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Science > Geography
ID Code:546
Deposited On:05 Mar 2007
Last Modified:06 Jan 2012 16:18
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