Cultivate Christchurch is a social enterprise that supports youth development through urban farming. A farm produces organic food for business and the local community, while the organisation employs ‘at risk’ young people not engaged in education or other work.
Young people are encouraged to become stewards of the land through organic and regenerative farming practices. Earthquake-damaged land is converted into living spaces where soil health is paramount.
Staff are paid the living wage. After being supported and employed by Cultivate Christchurch, they are transitioned into education, employment or training based on their interests. Those who require follow on support are able to come back.
Pre-Covid, the organisation’s main customer base was local hospitality and food was delivered by e-bike. When lockdown took away this market, Cultivate Christchurch quickly decided to support the wider community by offering home deliveries of fresh produce. As well as meeting a need for people unable to get to a shop, this meant crops weren’t wasted.
Weekly residential subscriptions increased from 35 to more than 200. As a result, the team now delivers across Canterbury using a courier service, collating local deliveries to reduce carbon emissions.
Cultivate Christchurch changed its online sales platform, all the while maintaining health standards and social distancing. It created a Facebook group to share tips and recipes and support the local community. It also collaborated with other producers and similar groups, and is creating open-sourced training manuals.