22 Dec 2017

Cultivate Christchurch

From Country Life, 9:12 pm on 22 December 2017

Earthquake demolition work in Christchurch has made way for an urban farm that is equipping young people with life and work skills.

This year eight interns have trained at Cultivate Christchurch's farm on the corner of Manchester and Peterborough streets in the central city.

Social entrepreneur and youth worker Fiona Stewart says six of the interns work and learn on the farm for 30 hours a week with the support of WINZ.

"The focus is about employability and gaining work experience," she says.

Fiona says initially she thought a rural location would be best but the urban setting has proved ideal because it is so accessible and is part of a vibrant community.

Inner-city residents and cafes use the garden as its local greengrocer.

About 70 percent of the produce is sold and 30 percent is donated to organisations like the City Mission.

Josh is one of the interns learning new skills at the urban farm.

He spends his days making compost, planting out and harvesting vegetables. He's currently in the court system and says being at Cultivate Christchurch farm is helping him change his life.

"It's like growing yourself you know, raising yourself up, being the man you want to be, just like the vegetables, real strong and real healthy!"

The Cultivate Christchurch vegetable stall is open during the week and, every Thursday, volunteers are invited to muck in, do some mahi and korero and enjoy a shared lunch made from freshly picked produce.