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!