Fresh Produce Hawkers in Cape Town
This from today’s Cape Times:
“Fresh produce hawkers have lodged an urgent application in the Western Cape High Court to stop the City of Cape Town’s law enforcement officials from demolishing several structures they trade from in Mitchells Plain in terms of a by-law relating to streets, public places and the prevention of noise nuisance.
It is the city’s stance that the structures were erected without consent.
And while the notices were served to traders in that area only, traders from other parts of the province fear the city will take action on them too, says attorney Rooshdeen Rudolph.
They formed the Western Cape Fresh Produce Crisis Committee and, according to Rudolph, its membership is growing after news of the city’s action spread in the informal trader industry.
Rudolph said two structures have already been demolished.
In an affidavit before the court, committee vice-chairman Zihad Bam said Rudolph wrote to the city on behalf of the committee to ask it to give the traders 14 days to make written submissions regarding the issue.
However, no response was received, prompting the committee to lodge an urgent application in the High Court.
Bam said it would not prejudice the city to wait for another 14 days, “especially if regard is had to the fact that (the committee’s) members have been trading in the manner they have for years without causing any harm to the environment or the community”.
“To date there has not been a single incident reported to the SA Police Service to suggest that the members of the applicant committee are causing a threat or disturbance in the area,” he said.
The case was supposed to be heard on Friday but did not proceed because the parties involved were negotiating a settlement.”
Walmart takes on food deserts in the US
Sigh - everytime you pick an easy target they do something seemingly good.
Walmart has teamed up with Michelle Obama to address the lack of fresh produce in blighted areas of American cities:
In certain parts of the U.S., you can’t turn a corner without bumping into a farmer’s market or grocery store. But there are plenty of spots in the country where consumers lack these options and are instead forced to shop at junk food-filled convenience stores. Walmart, that bastion of low-priced, imported goods, has a plan to bring fresh food to these so-called food deserts—and probably make a hefty amount of cash in the process.
Walmart announced this week that it will open up to 300 new locations over the next five years in food deserts across the country as part of an initiative spearheaded by Michelle Obama. These locations, along with the 218 stores in food deserts that Walmart has opened over the past four years, will serve 1.3 million people—many of whom have no other option for fresh produce and unprocessed foods other than Walmart. The company is, in other words, virtually guaranteed to be the biggest grocer in these locations (Walmart already makes up 25% of grocery sales nationwide). The competition is almost nonexistent.
“By opening stores where customers need them most, Walmart will help build healthier families and stronger communities. We believe every single person should have access to an abundant selection of fresh fruits and vegetables at an affordable price,” said Leslie Dach, executive vice president of corporate affairs at Walmart, in a statement.”
The food desert plan is part of a larger plan by Walmart to make local, healthy food more accessible to customers. Walmart recently announced plans to double sales of fresh produce sourced from local farms in U.S. stores by the end of 2015. The company also expects to invest over $1 billion in its global fresh food supply chain over the next five years.
Would small, locally owned groceries be better for food deserts than Walmart? Possibly—they help foster community and probably pay a bit more than Walmart’s notoriously low wages. But here’s the thing: These mom-and-pop groceries aren’t showing up fast enough in food deserts, if at all. In the meantime, obesity rates are steadily climbing and Walmart knows that there are a lot of underserved markets for its produce and other cheap goods. At least the superstore is providing healthy options for people who, in many cases, wouldn’t have access to them otherwise.” (link)
University of Cape Town