The Mowbray Market
Every first Saturday of the month, small-scale farmers, producers and artisans gather outside of Gordon’s Gym in Mowbray to sell their locally grown produce, homemade foods and handmade goods at the Mowbray Market.
This new addition to the market landscape in Cape Town was first launched in December 2022 by the Trust for Community Outreach and Education (TCOE) together with rural movements such as the Rural Women’s Assembly in South Africa, Mawubuye Land Rights Forum and the Inyanda Land Rights Movement.
TCOE, through its work supporting rural movements advocating for access to land and water, has established nurseries and agroecology hubs across the country. The market is largely about promoting agroecologically produced food grown by small scale farmers and initially started as a platform for TCOE’s Western Cape agreocology hubs to sell their surplus seedlings and produce.
The food system in South Africa is dominated by commercial farmers. The Mowbray Market provides a space to create a people centered food system and to begin to address the inequities of small-scale farmers accessing local markets. “Industrial farming and the market domination of a handful of retailers leaves little room in the market for small-scale farmers and producers, particularly black and women farmers, who are often not resourced. The Mowbray Market is an opportunity for marginalized farmers to directly engage with customers and to try to create new local supply chains with independent producers,” explains Robert Andrews from TCOE.
TOP: Proud farmers from Mopani Farmers Association and TCOE with their homegrown chillis
ABOVE: Farmers from TCOE, Rural Women's Assembly and the Mawubuye Land Rights Forum in conversation at the Mowbray Market
Small-scale farmers/producers Natasha Louw and Mary Marthinus from Suurbrak Aquaponics are regular faces at the Mowbray Market. Louw and Marthinus form part of the five-women aquaponics farming team at a one-hectare site in Suurbrak. “I sell the different plants that I grow in the nursery. It's also good to see what the other farmers are selling so that we can learn from them,” Louw explains. Marthinus adds that “I am looking forward to producing more for the market.” Other offerings from TCOE Western Cape hubs include indigenous herbs from in Robertson, endemic plants and seedlings grown in Genadendal and chillies from the Mopani Farmers’ Association in Limpopo.
Fisher woman Keshia Leonard from the Blinkwaters Cooperative in Buffelsjagbaai says, “every month our raw fish, rollmops, alikreukel and fish cakes are sold out at the market.” Leonard adds, “it’s great to speak to the market goers. Some even place an order for the fish they want to buy for the next market.”
RIGHT: Sarah Niemand from the Blinkwaters Cooperative in Buffelsjagbaai
The Mowbray Market also includes a range of social enterprises and independent producers such as coffee from Gangstar Cafe; handmade natural soaps from Give Her Hope Soap; vegetables from Zero to Landfill; the Big Issue; Umoja Wamama Crafters Cooperative; artisanal sauces and salts from Sauce & Things; unique crochet dolls and accessories from Meg & Rose; a homemade chilli relish inspired by a Malawian family recipe from Betty’s Chilli; honey from BeezMove, crystals and incense from the House of Healing and Meditation; homemade konfyt, jam and chutney from Poppies Homestay in Zoar; organic homegrown compost from Compost Happens; comfrey plants and products from Lotus Permaculture Homestead as well as proteas, lavender and rosemary grown at the foot of the Bredasdorp mountain by a woman farmer from TERIT.
The Trust for Community Outreach and Education (TCOE) supports rural movements of farmers, fishers, farm workers and small-scale producers to access the Commons while working towards a transformed land and agrarian sector with concrete alternatives for sustainable livelihoods as well as democratised governance, where rural people have agency to protect the Commons and their rights.
The Mowbray Market takes place the first Saturday of every month from 10h00 to 14h00 outside Gordon’s Gym, Corner of Liesbeek and Durban Roads in Mowbray in Cape Town.
- To register your interest as a Mowbray Market vendor please click here.
- For more information, please email