Cultivating 'something more'

Delivering Urban Wellbeing

A recently released report, Delivering Urban Wellbeing through Transformative Community Enterprise, summarises how the Community Economy Return on Investment tool was used to test its potential for documenting the non-monetary impact of Cultivate, a social enterprise in post-quake Christchurch, Aotearoa New Zealand.

The Community Economy Return on Investment was first introduced in Take Back the Economy as a way of identifying different types of community economy investments and the community economy returns on these investments.

This research found that while Cultivate produces a significant amount of food, its benefits extend to changed lives, changed relationships and a more positive sense of Christchurch as a post-disaster city.

Cultivate uses vacant post-quake land to grow vegetables and promote social wellbeing in Christchurch, and was started by an ecologist (Bailey Peryman) and social worker (Fiona Stewart) who wanted to create an environment where young people could learn new skills through meaningful work

The urban farms are located on privately owned earthquake-cleared ‘waste’ land that is leased on a 30-dayrolling cycle to Cultivate.

The research team was comprised of Community Economy Institute members Kelly Dombroski (University of Canterbury), Gradon Diprose (Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research) and Stephen Healy (Western Sydney University), and David Conradson and Alison Watkins from the University of Canterbury.

A community resource kit is being developed, and Kelly Dombroski and Gradon Diprose have been invited by the funder, Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities, Ko Ngā wā Kainga hei Whakamāhorahora, National Science Challenge to submit a proposal on research into diverse networked economies for urban food security.