Cultivate Christchurch’s mission is to grow food and people, together.
Fiona Stewart and Bailey Peryman founded Cultivate when the opportunity arose to collaborate – the opportunity afforded to them by their status as Alumni of the Vodafone NZ Foundation World of Difference award. This collaboration occurred in late 2014, and they were awarded funding by early 2015 which allowed Cultivate to establish their first farm in September that year. The project now manages 2.5 hectares across four different sites, and annually supports 8-10 young people from diverse backgrounds into employment. Cultivate also hosts over 300 people on 'Experience' workshops, and diverts 2.5 tonnes of food waste from landfill each week to build soil for food production, which is then sold to chefs in the Christchurch CBD.
What problem are they trying to solve?
Cultivate addresses the distinct lack of employment training and work experience for young people with high support needs. These young people are often not engaging in any form of education, employment or training. Simultaneously, they are addressing food insecurity (the state of being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food) by increasing the accessibility of fresh fruit and veg for people in local communities.
What impact is Cultivate Christchurch making?
In the last financial year (2017-18), Cultivate’s youth programme produced ten successful transitions to employment for young people who were considered at high risk of becoming long-term disengaged from employment, education and training. Using Treasury data, they valued this at a $1.3M in savings to the taxpayer for Corrections and Welfare costs alone. Cultivate’s food waste collection service, Cultivate Compost, diverted approximately 100 tonnes of waste from landfill and converted this waste into new soil. The conversion was conducted on a 3000m2 site in the CBD that was previously rubble, with low amenity value to the local community. This site is now a bustling hive of food and biodiversity.
What is Cultivate Christchurch’s business model?
Cultivate’s business model is designed to support them from their initial high levels of grant funding, through to being primarily funded by revenue generated from trading activities. They intended to meet this goal within 3-5 years, and have just entered their fourth year of operating. Outside of grants, Cultivate’s revenue comes from sales of produce to CBD chefs and residents, food waste collections from CBD hospitality outlets, landscape construction contracts and maintenance contracts. They often have an exclusive relationship with a developer.
Where to from here?
Cultivate Christchurch is striving to become financially independent within the next 12 months. Their primary focus is opening a fresh produce store at the Riverside Market. The Riverside Market is a covered Farmers Market in a prime CBD location, open seven days a week.
Alongside this, Cultivate believes their youth programme delivers public goods and services that the Government should be funding. Their other main objective is to gain a contract that rewards them for generating these positive youth outcomes.
With both of those objectives achieved, they will be in a position to invest in new ventures that are already showing promise within the greater Christchurch ecosystem.
Fiona Stewart & Bailey Peryman
Date of Creation
Number of Employees
Limited Liability Company
Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing
Creating training and employment opportunities
Health and Wellbeing
Community and regional development
Addressing social exclusion and isolation
Children and young people
People with mental illness and addictions