Website & Social Media kicks off

 

Here at Bucky Box, we’re really excited about what’s brewing.

 

Whilst Bucky Box is a process of evolution – you can read about the beginnings here – it’s starting to gather momentum.

 

If you’re new to the blog, here’s what we’re about:

Bucky Box is creating the tools for a better food system.

A better food system is one which is centred on benefiting people & planet, rather than simply economics.  Our vision is a system which is resilient, nourishing, and one where we’re able to rejoice in the pleasures of food once more.

Bucky Box is building beautifully designed, intuitive, easy to use, yet powerful web-based software to reconnect local food systems.

This web-based software is operating as a service, and it supports vege box schemes through automating subscriptions, billing & delivery logistics to make it easy to run, enjoyable, and make caring for your customers fun again.

 

Why vege box schemes? Well you can read our blog about them here, but we believe they have the potential to reconnect farmers to growers, and reduce the power of the middleman which often forces the environmental & social costs to growers and consumers, and controls the farming process.

 

We see our role as the enablers & facilitators of social good outcomes – we’re a product of the Enspiral collective and proud of it.  Enspiral understands the need for Business 2.0 (business which recognises social & environmental impacts – positive & negative) so we’re running Bucky Box as a social enterprise, and our main way of gauging success is the level of social & environmental impact we’re having.

 

So we’re searching for the best Local Food Champions to partner with and give back to, so if you have any ideas – let us know!

Bucky Box Website Screenshot
Last week we launched our new website, where you can see more about the app & the team behind it.

 

We’re also hooked into Twitter & Facebook if you want to follow our progress or find out more. That’s where the conversation happens, so we’d love to hear from you – we’re here to help.

 

If you’re interested in using the service – get in touch at beta@buckybox.com or sign up to the newsletter here.

World-wide Partners

Bucky Box re-invests 2/3 of it's profit back into the local food movement, it's called the Global Partnership Program**Updated at 22/03/12**

The Bucky Box Global Partnership Fund is an evolution in its design.  Recently we committed to our constitution that the fund will be built from a minimum of 67% of our annual profits, which will be invested back into organizations taking action to create a sustainable food system – this is part of our social enterprise / social business model.

 

We see food distribution has become a profit centre, and we realise that ‘business as usual’ with software companies partially replacing supermarkets in this space, could in fact just heap more of the same problems on food producers (farmers) and consumers (us).

 

Instead, we envision a food distribution system which redistributes profits into the ‘food champions’ who don’t necessarily have a solid business model.  We’re talking NGO’s, advocates, researchers, and people focused on education, among others… people who are working for a better food system.

 

Our model is not a traditional ‘make it, then give a percentage away’.

 

No, we back ourselves to help make change where it’s most needed, so we’re going to invest our profits back through a more blended approach:

  • Partnerships through which we can co-create solutions together
  • Philanthropic-giving where we can bring something to the table
  • Ethical Impact Investment
  • Internal resources which facilitate connections, cross-pollination & projects which wouldn’t otherwise happen

courtesy of dpict: http://bit.ly/GEguTt

We believe in something more than engaging in simple ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’.  We see our role as creating a positive impact business to its very core.  We know that positive social, environmental, and cultural outcomes can come hand in hand with economic rewards, and that regenerative solutions can flow through the veins of 21st Century Business. We believe in a more than profit future for business around the world.

 

Now… we understand you Local Foodies are some of the best advocates there is, but we’re also interested in helping out people & organizations who have supported you along the way.

 

Who gave you the spur to set up a box scheme? Where did you first learn of CSA’s?  Who brought the need for a local food system to your attention? Who gave you the education & resources to get started? Who’s helping design the future of the food system with people and planet as a starting point?

 

Let us know who those people are at @buckybox on twitter, with #BuckyChamp

 

“There’s an old Wayne Gretzky quote that I love: ‘skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.”

~ Steve Jobs

Urban Food Hui : Wellington

Last night, Sam from the Bucky Box crew, was able to make it down to a hometown meet up for ‘The Rhizome Effect – Urban Food Hui’ in Wellington (New Zealand).

 

The Hui (Maori for meeting / discussion) was all about bringing together Wellington’s community food growers, facilitators, interest groups, and backgarden producers.  We don’t yet have any form of Food Alliance like Auckland, but this is kind of where the night was pointing.

 

The Sustainability Trust & Innermost Gardens were good enough to throw together an event, and our favourite props were all in place when we got there – butchers papers & coloured pens!!

That only meant one thing ~ World Cafe!

 

And so it was, after an initial introduction round (incidentally we were the only “Software for the local food system” in the room…) we jumped into conversations around “what’s working” in Wellington.  20 minutes later, it was heads up, and a harvest of the ideas which came out of the small group conversations ~ then a big switch around to new tables, and into another conversation topic: “what could we do better to strengthen & catalyse the urban food movement?”.

 

Wow… what a couple of conversations they were! Some really great ideas floating around the room – both rich, nurturing, learning experiences through field trips & better cross-fertilisation of ideas among groups, as well as calls for better connection, communication and sharing of knowledge online and offline.  Finally – we all shifted tables once more, and found our final ‘friends for the evening’ and discussed the $100’000 question : “If we had $100’000 to make some of this stuff happen, what would we use it for?”.

 

Some amazing ideas popped up, including training & capacity building programs, website portals, and my particular bent ~ seeding social/community enterprise which would keep a sustainable revenue stream to benefit the urban food movement.

 

I’ll share the links to the harvests as and when the Sustainability Trust are able to get it all online.

 

In the meantime, if you know of any good resources on the Urban Food movements around the world – we’d love to see them!

Why Local Food?

Software for the local food movement, as if the earth matteredHere at Bucky Box, we’re really excited about the movement of local food which is sweeping the world, and we’re committed to furthering their aims for a better connected, more resilient, healthy, vibrant food system.

Why are we excited about the movement? Well, that’s a question well worth asking, so here’s what we see regarding the benefits of running, or benefiting from a vegetable box scheme;

1. Social Impact

We all know there is a link between health and diet, but so often we’re still not consuming the most basic elements of a balanced diet – especially when it comes to eating enough fruit & veges.  We generally see that when people opt in the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), growing in community gardens, at home, or get box schemes to deliver them a big tasty box of fruit & vegetables, consumption of these basics goes up. That’s got to be a good thing, right?

Recently, with the growth of powerful elements within the food system, agricultural farmers are getting a rougher deal as their prices are forced down.  A vibrant growth in CSA’s, farmers markets and box schemes have sprung up to counter this trend and support local farmers.  We believe in a food system which gives fairer deals to farmers and recognition of the amazing job they do to feed us every day.  Box schemes can bring consumers closer to the farmers, and provide the high quality produce from the farm to the door in a matter of a day or two, rather than spending a week or more in cold storage first.

Reconnect with food – often, we get things in these boxes that we don’t even recognise. We see this as a great thing – it’s an opportunity for us to learn about them, try new things, and sometimes even discover hidden gems! Indeed, variety is the spice of life!  We also tend to eat more seasonally with box schemes – reducing food miles & environmental impacts of shipping food from the other side of the world.

Social Capital – getting to know your neighbours, local farmers, building resilient communities. Many vege box schemes will run newsletters, recipe cards, and profiles on farmers and local people who are working on the food movement too – this is a great way to relate to learn about something we do every day, but often pay so little attention to.

Community hug: Social Capital

2. Enviro Impact

One delivery, many boxes – doesn’t that make a lot more sense than 1000’s of us making specific journeys to the supermarket?

Reduce unnecessary packaging – do you really need your mushrooms wrapped in petro-chemical based plastics? We don’t think so either…

Local food = less food miles. During our shift to a low-carbon economy this has to be a focus, and it’s backed up with health benefits too.  As a response, there’s already been a massive rise in CSA’s, community gardens, ‘8 mile menus’ and increased transparency over location of products in supermarkets now too.

Many boxes are specifically set up to support Organic farming methods (farmer door type operations) which means no chemicals, less damaging effects to our biodiversity, and most likey – less health issues in the long run. A recent UK Government study found organic farms use 26% less energy than non-organic farms to produce the same amount of food.

The UK Soil Association website has some great info on this too:

Animal welfare – some vege box schemes will also stock other products, such as organic meats.  Again – you can support local, fresh, ethically-raised & planet-friendly farming techniques simply by voting with your wallets.

Box of Organic Vegetables

3. Economic Impact

Fair deals for farmers – as mentioned earlier – we believe the people who feed us, should be rewarded appropriately.

Do you wonder why vegetables are getting so expensive in the supermarkets? Yep – us too! Well, largely it’s due to oil prices – both for making chemical fertilisers used in the mono-cropping food system, and for transport costs to bring your fruit & vegetables from far & wide.  Organic vege box schemes & farmers markets have the power to change both of these factors very quickly by sourcing locally & using no petro-chemical based fertilisers in their production.

Tipping points are wonderful things – if we increase the support for these kinds of schemes, we’re able to move the market dynamics simply by being concious consumers; more producers will shift to planet & people friendly farming techniques if there is more demand.

Providing an economic income without the hassle – Bucky Box aims to make box schemes more viable against the larger supermarket supply systems by automating pretty much all of the admin headache that used to come with a box scheme; subscriptions, billing & delivery logistics.  All you have to do is pack, send, and be wonderful to your customers! Perhaps you might even have some time to write a newsletter, look after the kids a little more, or even take that surfboard out like you keep promising yourself!organic stampHere’s some ideas then, how you could use Bucky Box to change your life…

Lifestyle – wanna work a 9-5 in an office job you hate? Nah, us neither! Gain your income from running a successful box scheme, where all the admin is done for you – it’s just up to you what extra ingredients you add to the customer satisfaction!

Run it as a community scheme – If you have a group of people who all want in, you can convince a local farmer or two to go organic & support a community – benefits are that normally this means even fresher veg, much greater connection with where your food is grown and the practices used, and sometimes it’s even cheaper!  Research CSA’s for more info – there’s a growing movement in America & Australia for these types of schemes.

Support a community trust – gain an income for your local charity or trust by donating any profits back to projects which will benefit your community.

Food education – use your vege box scheme as an excuse to organise events to involve your local community at local farms, educate them about seasonal produce, or simply find out more about what they might like to learn about the food system.

Heirloomers Unite! Got a passion for heirloom fruit & vegetables? Use your food growing prowess to create a network of growers who protect, conserve & thrive these beautiful species and find an income to support growing your seedbank.  What a great way to further the heirloom education too – imagine people finding those purple carrots, heirloom tomatoes & weird and wonderful corn in their boxes each week!

Colourful carrots

If you need any more inspiration – check out this lovely video from the UK Transition Network:

And here’s a link to Michael Pollan (author of ‘In Defense of Food’) talking about the importance of Eating Local from Nourish Life network: 

So there we have it; one small way you can have a positive impact on the very essence of our every day routine is to start up a box scheme and get to know the people in your community through sharing awesome, healthy food!