‘Broccoli Bonds’, Composting and Urban Food

Dr Gradon Diprose1, Dr Kelly Dombroski2

1Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research, Wellington, New Zealand,

2University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand


In November 2017, the Christchurch based urban farm and social enterprise Cultivate, raised $165,127 via Pledgeme to expand their composting programme. Cultivate convert vacant urban space into farms, employing youth interns to collect green waste and composting it to create the soil for the farms, and then growing food which is sold back to local customers. Cultivate needed capital for plant and machinery to increase the volume of waste they could compost – focusing specifically on compostable packaging (PLA). Rather than a standard return on investment, Cultivate called the pledge ‘Broccoli Bonds’ which set out a variety of ways investors could get realise their return (through food, compost, gardening assistance, and cash). While supporters and investors appeared to love the idea, Cultivate was unable to implement the composting project for various compliance and logistical reasons. The example highlights the challenges organisations face when attempting to transform urban practices around food and waste. However, it also illustrates the desire people and communities have for investing in alternative forms of enterprise that return more than just money.


Gradon Diprose is an Environmental Social Science Researcher at Manaaki Whenua Landcare research in Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand. He is currently involved in research that explores transformative environmental and community initiatives.

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