Local & Friendly Food Champion showcase: Soil & Health Association of New Zealand

Kia ora tatou!

We’re very pleased to announce the first in a stream of partnerships that we like to think of as ‘closing the loop’.  In the early stages, here at Bucky Box we decided to forego any marketing budget, and instead work with the best of the local & friendly food champions around the world – and give our customers the chance to nominate where these funds will go to. We figure that these are the individuals & organisations who are making significant headway in catalysing, educating & advocating for a fair, friendly, local food system.

So first up, is in our home of Aotearoa / New Zealand: the Soil & Health Association.

We identified Soil & Health Association as a key catalyst in New Zealand engaged in advocacy and education for Organic agriculture, organic certification, as well as publishing the Organic NZ Magazine – look out for a short story about us in there soon!  Check out their website and reasons for ‘going organic’ here!

We value the experience of the Soil & Health Association in conducting the certification of organic food in Aotearoa/New Zealand.  We enjoy a read of their magazine, which creates a strong voice for the organic sector in the country, whilst their advocacy work supports the development of awareness of the benefits of organic food.

We’re proud to have Soil & Health Association as our first Food Champion.

Meet the team: Part II: Food, Conscience & Purposeful work combine

Picture of Sam Rye; Community Connector for Better Food System softwareLet me introduce myself briefly;

West Coast Aotearoa / NZ - Sam Rye Photography Portfolio pieceI’m Sam, and I’m really happy to be part of the Bucky Box team.  For a long time, I have really enjoyed the beautiful sights & sounds that this world has on offer – I’ve travelled, I’ve volunteered, I’ve swum in oceans, lakes and rivers, I’ve eaten amazing local produce, I’ve planted trees, I’ve lived in the jungle of Borneo, and I’ve spent time trying to capture all those moments with the camera which rarely leaves my side.  I see a world where those sights will still be around for my children, and theirs in turn; however I also know I live in a world where the rate of resource use is far outstripping any conservation efforts I see happening.

Danum Valley Conservation Area - Sabah, BorneoFor awhile I ignored this concern, not knowing what I could do to be part of the solution, rather than part of the problem.  Serendipity intervened, and I found myself leaving a comfortable job in London, in favour of a volunteer stint in Borneo working on youth development, running an environmentally focused project to enhance scientific access to some remote primary jungle in Sabah.  This was a game changer for me – from the people I met, to the time I spent surrounded by centuries-old forest, and the sights of agriculture & forestry practices encroaching on these precious remaining areas.  It gave me a direction, which I followed to Australia and eventually New Zealand – working with a leading volunteer engagement organisation based around conservation work & education. Sustainable practices around our use of land, our valuing of eco-systems, and seeing some of these pristine patches of wonder, became a very important value I hold close to me.

Life has dealt me a lucky hand when it comes to the food side of things.  I grew up in the UK, but spent a lot of time in France with my family as a kid – you can’t spend time in France without coming to love food.  Everywhere I’ve travelled, I’ve delighted in the colours, smells, tastes & culture based around food.  It’s integral to our every day lives, and I love to celebrate that.  I was quite a cook as a youngster in the UK, and that’s threaded happily through my life, whatever country I’ve lived in, and I saw it for a long time as my sole creative outlet in life.  In short, food has always been really important to me – but relatively speaking, I used to know so very little about where it came from, how it came to arrive on my plate, and the importance of connecting these dots.

Finally the collision of purposeful work infiltrated my life when I moved to Wellington, Aotearoa / New Zealand back in 2010.  I fell in with the Intersect crew, and began working with Enspiral (a social innovations collective) to grow a business/movement out of our key assets – about 15 good people.  I realised more and more over the coming 9 months, that I had a burning desire to spend my life working on something which I felt would achieve considerable positive impact on the big issues of our time.  Enspiral is only just beginning, and I jumped at the opportunity to work on one of our first positive impact start ups: Bucky Box – Tools for a better food system.

So taking a step back, and realising how important addressing some of these larger issues facing us, is to me and the rest of our team, I can’t think of a better serendipitous opportunity to come my way.

courtesy of alicehenneman (http://bit.ly/pcECLm)

Our excitement is now building, and in my role as the community facilitator, I’m regularly speaking to people who are itching to get their hands on our software, as well as conversing with people who are feeling the effects of a food economy which is “externalising costs” left, right & centre – pushing them to producers and consumers.  It galvanises us to forge ahead with this project, and get these tools to the people who will begin taking our food system back into our hands.

Bucky Box goes to the Farm

Visiting CSA Farm for Bucky Box ResearchHere at Bucky Box, we sometimes need to remind ourselves why we’re getting involved in this project to build the tools for a better food system, so on Monday we decided to take a trip out to our local CSA, and spend some time with the farmers who’re getting their hands dirty to keep us fed, and look after the land.

We’re based in Wellington, New Zealand, so we took a trip about an hour and a half out of town to one of the premier growing regions close to us – the Wairarapa.

Luckily we have some good friends who run a CSA here in Wellington, so we took them along with us to meet Frank & Josje who made us really welcome at Wairarapa Eco Farm – a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm supporting the Wellington region.

Discussing ups and downs of Community Supported AgricultureWe had some quality conversations about the ups and downs of CSA’s, which are being felt all over the world as the movement spreads, but it was great to see the passion Josje had to make it work, and to involve people in the growing of food and education around sustainable organic practices.

We really see some huge benefits for CSA’s to be one of the many solutions to a more people & planet friendly food system – one which provides more resiliency, closer connections, and lower food miles.  There’s some great resources on CSA’s here if you’re interested (courtesy of Making Local Food Work in the UK).

A big thanks to Frank & Josje for spending some time with us which will help us to continue to build the best software possible for the local food movements around the world – for making us welcome at your beautiful farm, sharing stories and your passion for reconnecting our communities with the food we eat.

Check out Simply Good Food – the Wellington CSA site here (now also operating in Palmerston North!).

Take a glimpse at our full album of CSA Wellington photos here.

Growing the greens for vege box delivery

My really personal reasons for doing Bucky Box

I’ve been crashing at Sam’s place this week, Sam’s our community connector here at Bucky Box. We’ve been having some awesomely choice (welcome to Kiwi-speak) and exciting conversations about values, sustainability, and fixing broken systems… and the other night I let slip my two completely personal reasons why I find myself doing Bucky Box.

Maybe the most powerful of the two is simply about getting natural and healthy food to people. It probably doesn’t sound all that mind blowing to you, and it’s probably quite obvious, but there’s a nuance to it for me… You see, I’ve come to understand what we eat affects how we think. If we eat chemical food, we think industrially, eat natural foods we tend to think more environmentally. My hope is if we can improve the quality of food that enters our bodies, we can think in a more connected nature to our planet.

Which leads me to my second reason, which is environmental. Seven years ago, when I made a commitment to do something environmental it was about doing something ethical and cool, after all I was running a promising and profitable startup and I thought myself to be really cool. The reasons have matured a bit now, and at the risk of sounding like a raving tree hugging hippy (Hi Sam! 🙂 ), I see our planet as living and breathing, just like a life long friend, I’ve come to feel part of her and so my internal motivations have become deeper, quieter and yet stronger.

So those are my reasons, to all you awesome people doing good work in this area of fixing our food system, I’d love to hear what your reasons are. Drop us a comment!