The project “Delivering Urban Wellbeing through Transformative Community Enterprise” aims to explore the work of Cultivate, a community enterprise that uses the common spaces of two urban farms transform green waste from restaurants into rich soil and high quality fresh produce. This produce is then sold back to local restaurants, supported by and supporting youth interns.

Social enterprises have proliferated in post-quake Christchurch and other parts of New Zealand in recent years, seeking to create ethical social and environmental returns on investment, rather than just profit for shareholders. Cultivate differs in that it a) is based on earthquake-cleared land that has been transferred into ‘common’ management and use through the work of Life in Vacant Spaces and the Christchurch City Council and b) uses its financial surplus to employ social workers and counsellors who work on the farms alongside the youth interns. This form of collective mental health care is especially significant when traditional mental health services in Canterbury and elsewhere in New Zealand are struggling to meet population demand.

The project will explore the conditions which enabled Cultivate, and document and measure the transformative social and environmental outcomes of Cultivate. This blog follows the progress of the project and provides updates for stakeholders.

Our project is funded through National Science Challenge 11: Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities, one of 11 Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment-funded Challenges aimed at taking a more strategic approach to science investment..

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