WILD FOOD WALKS at the Sustainability Institute



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 were developing with organisations and individuals. Their common commitment, be they research or practice based, 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 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


The SI engages its 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 events they offer.


Local WILD and the Sustainability Institute are working together on: 

  • evolving indigenous learning gardens that showcase innovation, propagation and cultivation to their own and visiting learners
  • supplying Living Soils' cultivated indigenous produce to market through the Local WILD Food Store online selling platform
  • introducing opportunities for their community and for visitors to experience a taste of local indigenous foods through their school feeding, dishes offered at the Green Cafe and the SI’s Wild Harvest product range and events such as Wild Food Walks
  • promoting learning through publishing - such as with Cape Wild Foods:A Growers Guide and its upcoming sequel, the Cooks Guide


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. Local WILD is undertaking a nutritional study, also for publication, to establish which of the 22 still need to be analysed.

This body of work is filling some of the gaps in easily available knowledge about the forgotten and underutilised winter rainfall edibles of the Cape Floristic Region. It supporting their reintegration into contemporary foodways, and is bringing their knowledge base closer to that of the more widely known and used indigenous foods of the summer rainfall Southern Africa.