Photo story: food resilience in Christchurch

In the five years since the earthquake, remarkable things have grown out of the new garden city: abandoned lots are being used to grow food and city gardens are flourishing. SBN convened a hui to share stories of food resilience in Christchurch.

The earthquakes have taught Christchurch a harsh lesson in the importance of a strong food supply chain and over the past five years amazing initiatives have sprouted. This is a city leading in the design of open spaces and food systems, with vegetable delivery services for low income families, farmers’ markets, and training in organics to help local growers.

Christchurch has a novel and leading food strategy, the Food Resilience Charter and the recently-formed Food Resilience Network. The city has an enabling framework of using abandoned and unused lots for growing food, through the Life in Vacant Spaces programme and community-led food initiatives like Edible Canterbury.

The Sustainable Business Network’s work on Restoring New Zealand’s Food System convened a hui in Christchurch for members of the National Good Food Network on 4 March.  Christchurch City Council hosted the day, and speakers from around the city shared their stories of food resilience.

We visited Cultivate, run by Bailey Perryman, Kākano by Jade Temepara, and the new Ōtākaro Orchard run by the Food Resilience Network. The photos below show some of the amazing initiatives coming out of the new garden city.


Meaning ‘seed that has a garden’, Kākano is a social enterprise.

Photo credits: Tony Moore, Christchurch City Council

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Cultivate provides vegetable boxes to city restaurants and then uses the waste to make compost with Zing Bokashi.

Photo credits: Tony Moore, Christchurch City Council

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Ōtākaro Orchard

Ōtākaro Orchard is the new community garden and food hub about to be built in a vacant lot. It is being supported by Christchurch City Council and Rata, and the lease agreement was signed with CERA (Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority).

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Photo credit: Emily Dowding-Smith

Christchurch gardens by bike

Massive thanks to Christchurch City Council who pulled together the day for us, took us on a bike tour of the city and for Tony Moore’s tireless work on sustainability in his community!

Photo credit Emily Dowding-Smith


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The Sustainable Business Network has set up the National Good Food Network to collaborate on improving access to healthy food in communities. Find out more about this and our other projects here.