Traditional leafy vegetables (TLVs) have formed part of rural household food security strategies for generations. The role and production of TLVs (morogo / miroho / imifino) were determined in three culturally and agro-ecologically diverse rural communities in South Africa. A questionnaire survey was combined with qualitative methodologies to access the indigenous or local knowledge associated with the production of these crops. This paper focuses on factors that are unique to TLV production systems. TLV production is dominated by women farmers in an attempt to sustain immediate household food security. The cultural environment within which the women find themselves, their ability to access needed resources and the use of technical knowledge (predominantly local knowledge) are interlinked. Research and extension need to recognize the potential role of TLVs in food security strategies of households and the influence of the cultural environment on this female dominated production system. These factors play a significant role in the women's ability to produce and maintain household food security.