After a journey of two-and-a-half years, and significant investment from local business people, that vision is now a reality. The Outeniqua Farmers’ Market opened to the public on Saturday 19 November 2011.
The five-hectare site lies opposite the Garden Route Mall at the George junction on the N2. Visitors to the Outeniqua Farmers’ Market will find nearly 80 food and craft stalls spread across a total trading area of 1 260m². The mix of trading stalls has been carefully planned to ensure that international visitors, domestic tourists and local residents find high quality, locally sourced and grown goods and produce.
After travelling the country and abroad to analyse successful markets, the designers identified seven distinct features that characterise the perfect market: ambience, clean, working toilets, clearly defined lines, strong management, discipline among the traders, wide product range and profitable stalls. The project team has worked tirelessly to ensure that the Outeniqua Farmers’ Market meets every one of those criteria.
Sustainability is key
The Outeniqua Farmers’ Market is built on a disused plantation, which was cleaned up to make way for the market. During the clean up process, over seven thousand indigenous plants were recovered from the site. These plants will be replanted or sold in an indigenous nursery. To date, over a thousand trees have been replanted around the area.
A local architect was commissioned to design the market, with a brief to ensure that it fits in with the context and surroundings. They also conducted an environmental impact assessment to ensure that the development would have minimal impact on the natural area.
The market not only takes care of the local environment. It also helps to promote the economic sustainability of the area, since every stall creates three jobs for the local community.
The land of honey and other delicious treats
Project leader Deon Mocke summarises the project:
“The word Outeniqua means ‘the land where honey comes from.’ We want the Outeniqua Farmers’ Market to be the land where honey, cheese, bread, sweet treats, cakes, international food, flowers, juices and all manner of high quality produce comes from. It will put George on the map as a destination, giving it the heart we always knew it had.”