OCF Mountain Whale CottageYesterday the first Oranjezicht City Farm market of 2015 was held on the grounds of the official residence Leeuwenhof of Western Cape Premier Helen Zille, dubbed as ‘Villa Zille’.  It was the first time that I attended the market since its move to the premier’s property six weeks ago, and I was impressed with the location, the parking offered, and the use of the property by those who attended.  The highlightOCF Helen Zille Whale  Cottage was seeing Premier Zille mingling with the crowd, herself shopping at the market!

The move to Leeuwenhof resulted from a suggestion via Twitter, when it was announced by the Oranjezicht City Farm that they would have to close down the market adjacent to the Farm, given the bureaucratic requirements of the City of Cape Town and Heritage Western Cape,two years after the market first started operating adjacent to the Farm. This is what the Farm management, led by Sheryl Ozinsky, wrote at the time:

‘As you may be aware, the Oranjezicht City Farm has not been in a position to erect the tents in Homestead Park for our weekly Saturday Market Day for the past several weeks. As part of our urgent and sustained engagement with the key decision-makers and others up to the highest levels of the City and Provincial governments, a further application was submitted to Heritage Western Cape as required by the City of Cape Town. That application was considered yesterday, 26 November 2014, with the decision made to deny our request.  We had been hopeful that our application would be granted, subject to conditions that would show full respect for the heritage fabric of the site, but also allow Market Day to remain viable.  However, in addition to the denial of our application to erect the tents, new requirements were introduced by Heritage Western Cape that increase the difficulty of securing permissions for the site, and limit the scale of the market beyond viability. These include:

  • The recent rezoning of Homestead Park by the City of Cape Town that appears not to have followed due process and therefore may not be valid and must first be resolved
  • An investigation into potential title deed restrictions not previously raised by any of the authorities, including when permission was granted for establishment of OZCF (which is on part of the same Erf as Homestead Park)
  • New archaeological investigations of sub-surface heritage resources in Homestead Park
  • A market carrying-capacity analysis and site plan for Homestead Park

Given these new requirements, the time it would take to address and resolve them will extend well into 2015 and perhaps beyond. Additionally, it would take additional expenditure and prioritisation from several departments within the City of Cape Town to address these requirements, leaving the process and its progress well outside of our scope of control, and us only able to influence indirectly and to a limited extent. Further, even with the fulfilment of these requirements, there is no assurance that the permission we have been seeking for Market Day for well over a year would be granted.

We therefore come to the undeniable conclusion that the Oranjezicht City Farm Market Day needs to cease operating with immediate effect.

Over the past two years we have done everything that has been asked of us by the City of Cape Town in order to operate Market Day in Homestead Park. We have been told repeatedly by our councillor and responsible Mayco Member to continue to operate and followed the advice given by City of Cape Town officials regarding numerous applications and other documentation to file and processes to follow. As volunteers who have contributed thousands of working hours to date we cannot see a way to take on these additional requirements and keep Market Day going at a high standard as an open air, more limited, less frequent event. We also have little confidence that additional requirements will not surface, and that the goalposts will not be moved yet again.

The implications of this decision have serious negative consequences for the operations of OZCF, our farm workers, traders, small scale organic farmer suppliers, school groups, tourists, sponsors, our volunteers, the community and partner projects and organisations across the city and beyond. We are now assessing the best ways to keep OZCF operating at a sustainable level of excellence.   We are saddened and disappointed that the flourishing Market Day we have all come to love and treasure cannot continue. OZCF will be hosting a public meeting on Wednesday 3 December 2014 at 18h30 at St. Cyprian’s School, Gorge Road in Oranjezicht and all are welcome to attend. We thank everybody who has shown us support‘.

OCF Villa Zille Whale CottageThe Premier responded immediately, saying that she would check the logistics, and gave the green light shortly thereafter.  More and more Capetonians attended the market at the new venue, and the parking made availableOCF Parking Whale Cottage yesterday for 150 cars made it even easier to support the market.  The Moroccan marquee is erected permanently at Leeuwenhof, helping to contain costs. In the marquee were many of the familiar traders, offering for sale City Farm and other sourced fruit and vegetables, organic fruit and eggs, baked items, fresh fruit juices, cheeses, breads, cupcakes, cakes, coffee, prepared salads, and more.

OCF Lamb Fold Over Whale CottageAlongside the marquee plants and plant holders were sold, and food vendors had set up stands, including Sababa offering Middle Eastern and Mediterranean foods; Sexy Foods offered burgers and other options; lovely was the Lamb Fold Over prepared with great love and care (left); and a fascinating stand called NitroCreamy, which offered four ice cream flavours Ferrero Rocher, roseOCF NitroCreamery Whale Cottage and edible flowers, mango sorbet, and organic peanut butter.  I ordered the Ferrero Rocher, which was poured into a mixer from a plastic bottle, and a pipe with liquid nitrogen was put into the bowl, creating the ice cream at -100ºC (right).  It was thick, rich, and creamy!  NitroCreamy operates a pop-up at Wembley Square on weekdays.   A long table had been set up, so that one could sit and eat, and meet more market-goers.

OCF Pool Whale CottageThe market shoppers can order picnic baskets, or take their own purchases to the vast lawn, and meet up with friends and family.  Capetonians are also invited to bring along their swimming gear, to enjoy themselves in the Premier’s pool, watched over by a lifeguard.

It was so busy at the Market that one had to have patience, especially at the food stands while one’s order was being prepared.   It gave one the opportunity to breath deeply and to smell the Premier’s roses, to enjoy the wonderful location withOCF People Whale Cottage views of Table Mountain and Lion’s Head, and to meet other lovely market goers.  It gave me a feeling of pride that our provincial government, which owns the property, is giving back OCF Residence Whale Cottageto its constituency, in sharing a provincial asset for a half day per week.

Oranjezicht City Farm Market, Leeuwenhof, Hof Street, Tamboerskloof, Cape Town.  www.ozcf.co.za  Twitter: @OZCFarm  Saturdays 9h00 – 14h00

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com  Tel (021) 433-2100, Twitter:@WhaleCottage   Facebook:  click here