CHALLENGE 4b: Community Eco-markets

This is Challenge 4b from the main Cape Town framework challenge



Note: All our challenges are collaborative. Skype, email or contact us if you want to work with us in real-time! Let’s make a better world for everyone together!


An eco-market is an important part of the local circular economy strategy,especially for communities that are currently underserved and lacking in any infrastructure. An eco-market can serve as a centralized hub that produces goods and services centrally within the community to facilitate easy resource sharing to produce a diversity that meets much of the communities need. It can serve as the community center and makes sense to integrate local community manufacturing, restaurant and other retail, eco-tourism and education into the market. The nearness of a number of appropriate local producers also makes community level industrial symbiosis feasible.

The logical anchor tenant of such a center would be agri production center to produce foodstuffs and materials that can be used to create value added products such as processed food, clothing, medicine, furniture and a host of other materials and services. To incorporate circular design principles, products should be designed with remanufacturing in mind as well as recycling. There should be repair shops in the eco-market as well as small scale recycling. Food produced in a circular way with low energy and material inputs.


Activity: Global brainstorm session and begin initial design

Model to explore
An agri-hub: could be permaculture-based, agro-ecology, low carbon greenhouse, urban farm within an old building or any combination of these that grows food organically and at high density using circular flows.

Explore using thermal mass of water or stone for storage of solar energy during day for slow release at night. Also consider passive geothermal heating and cooling. Energy can also come from onsite agricultural waste form processing plant and from food waste.

Recirculated in various size loops with various intermediate treatment regimes

Obviously no waste at all. Recirculate all organic and human waste into nature. Recover organic nutrients, methane, water and other bioresources when possible.

Use companion planting and variety of flora and fauna in circular ecologcial cycles. Consider analyzing indigienous varieties of flora and fauna.

Co-locate eco-market in strategic areas. Plant other field crops around eco-market…bamboo, industrial hemp. Design using permaculture zone principles.Use Open Source farming techniques for harvesting.

Explore using alternative local currencies and economic value systems

Work with community to present their unique vision of this

Co-locate community agile applied education center in eco-market so that education and all other processes from food growing, harvesting and processing to local community manufacturing and waste treatment are all part of applied education curriculum

applied science, technology and math curriculum tightly synchronized to:

  • food production
  • manufacturing
  • waste engineering
  • water engineering

local economy

Surrounding manufacturing

  • Use open community manufacturing systems to process agri-products into value added products such as foodstuffs, sauces, canned vegetables or fruits, preserves, dried, seeds, medicines, etc
  • Also process other crops for materials such as textiles, building materials, furniture, etc
  • All products designed for remanufacturing
  • Manufacture reusable packaging onsite for community customers to have their own containers that are refilled

Surrounding retail

  • food market
  • restaurants that cook food fresh from the market
  • textile and clothing shop
  • clothing shops that sell clothing and other textile products
  • furniture shop
  • hardware shop