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Foraging Wild Food in Urban Spaces: The Contribution of Wild Foods to Urban Dietary Diversity in South Africa

Department of Environmental Science, Rhodes University, Grahamstown 6140, South Africa
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Sustainability 2020, 12(2), 678; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12020678
Received: 19 November 2019 / Revised: 31 December 2019 / Accepted: 4 January 2020 / Published: 16 January 2020
Globally, approximately one billion people benefit from contributions of wild foods to their food security and dietary diversity. Wild foods are known to be important in rural communities in terms of food and micronutrient provision, diversifying diets, reducing vulnerability to non-communicable diseases and overall health. However, the potential contribution of wild foods towards food security and dietary diversity in urban food systems has been largely overlooked. This study examined the contribution of wild foods to household dietary diversity in two towns in South Africa, based on a survey of 137 households. Household diets were quite diverse, with half (51%) having consumed ≥ 8 food groups, 39% consumed 6 or 7 food groups, and only 10% recorded ≤ 5 food groups in the previous 48 h. Wild foods were prevalent across the sample, with 62% of the households consuming them to some degree. Wild vegetables and fruits were the most common wild foods, consumed by 96 and 79% of the households, respectively. Although wild foods had limited significance on overall dietary diversity, they exhibited substantial contributions within particular food groups. For example, the consumption of vegetables and oil and fats was most prevalent among households consuming wild foods than those who did not. The findings show that wild foods could contribute towards diversifying urban diets at a micro-level, within particular food groups consumed, such as vegetables and fruits. Hence, wild foods are important in ameliorating the monotonous diets of some households and in turn promoting dietary diversity. View Full-Text
Keywords: dietary diversity; food security; perceptions; urban foraging; wild foods dietary diversity; food security; perceptions; urban foraging; wild foods
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Garekae, H.; Shackleton, C.M. Foraging Wild Food in Urban Spaces: The Contribution of Wild Foods to Urban Dietary Diversity in South Africa. Sustainability 2020, 12, 678.

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