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Urban farm raising capital with ‘Broccoli bonds’ on PledgeMe for social good
Tue, 10th Oct 2017
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Christchurch-based urban farm Cultivate Christchurch are looking to raise up to $200,000 to expand their composting service by issuing ‘Broccoli Bonds' to their crowd.  “We're expanding our composting service because we want to write waste out of history. Our company has a circular economy model. We grow local produce with youth on our hyperlocal urban farm, our produce is sold to local restaurants and cafes, and we collect organic waste and compostable packaging that is composted on our farm to be used in making produce,” says co-founder Bailey Peryman. Cultivate Christchurch was launched in 2015 by landscape ecologist Bailey Peryman and youth worker Fiona Stewart.

They met through the Vodafone Foundation when they both received World of Difference awards.

After realising crossover in their work, they decided to join forces to launch an urban farm in Christchurch focused on educating and hiring the city's youth. Cultivate Christchurch aim to raise a maximum of $200,000 by issuing ‘Broccoli Bonds', an innovative offer that not only provides a financial return to their crowd but can in part be repaid with produce.

Peryman hopes that the produce repayment will have both health and community benefits too, connecting the urban community to the land.  Currently Cultivate Christchurch provides three services: growing and delivering produce in the CBD, composting collection, and edible landscaping.

The core purpose is to build a network of urban farms that provide a setting for transformative work with youth. “There are over 4,000 high risk and extremely high risk young people in Christchurch according to Treasury Statistics,” says Peryman. “Our goal is to create a sustainable enterprise because the bigger we grow the more young people we can employ, and the more opportunities we can provide for the community as a whole. While our main focus is young people, the benefits ripple out from our work. Our aim is healthier soil, healthier produce, healthier people.” The minimum investment in the Broccoli Bonds is $500 and lenders will be able to choose between three combinations of principal and interest repayment.

They will be able to choose 5% cash interest, half produce half cash repayment and a 10% cash interest, or full principal repayment in produce and a 15% interest rate.  The money raised will be used to expand the existing composting service. “We started off with some land that was leased to us for free, and growing local produce with young people. We started composting for ourselves, and despite our best efforts to bury this service, people keep on asking us to provide it. So, we've decided to add it to our core offering,” says Peryman. Barry Grehan, PledgeMe chief lending officer, says it is exciting to see a new innovative bond structure on PledgeMe. “The response from potential pledgers so far has been awesome. They love the idea of their principal being repaid in produce, and actually being able to come to the farm and show their families how it all works.” Cultivate Christchurch's Broccoli Bonds will go live at 3pm on October 12.