Balsamiq – A whole lot of good!

Every now and then you come across people who really make you sit up and take notice.

We’ve been hard at work continuing to make Bucky Box as usable as possible, so we’ve been looking for the tools to enable us to do this as easily as possible.  We stumbled across Balsamiq who developed a wireframing application which enables us to quickly and simply visually mock up what we want new pages to look like for our awesome developers like @ootoovak@allan_enspiral to code.

We got to talking, and told them what we’re up to with Bucky Box.  They kindly let us know that they have a special category for ‘do-gooders’ – in fact they’ve given away something like $680k of licenses to their awesome software to date! Way to go Balsamiq!!

Check out their blog about their view about giving back here! We’re truly thankful to Balsamiq for providing us with some licenses to help our team nail down our last round of designs, to get Bucky Box launched to the wider world.  We know they understand our mission, and the potential impact we can catalyse around the world with these tools for a better food system.

So take a look at the video below, and see if you can spot the mockups we put together using Balsamiq’s kickass wireframing software;

Bucky Box : submission for Cleantech Open to represent New Zealand in Global Entrepreneurship Week

Cleantech Challenge Champions

Wow!

We’re rocking here at Bucky Box today, with the news that we have won the New Zealand section of the Global Entrepreneurship Week’s ‘Cleantech’ category!

A good friend suggested we enter our company’s story into the competition a while back, and we found out we were through to the top three entries last week.  Then on Monday we found out we had won the national competition in the ‘Air, Water & Energy’ category.

Our entry will now be shown at the Global Entrepreneurship Week’s competition in San Francisco, but you can get a sneak peak at the first cut here;

A massive thanks to all our friends, family, and the mighty Enspiral crew back here in New Zealand, for all the support & encouragement following the announcement. It means a lot. We’re proud to be representing our country in this competition, especially on the wave of national pride sweeping the nation from the All Blacks massive win on the weekend!

Richie McCaw raises Webb Ellis trophy as champions of RWC in front of All Black team

Image courtesy of ruggaworld.com

Next stop for Bucky Box & our tools for a better food system… San Francisco!!

See official press release from GEW here about the Cleantech win.

Disrupt & Support

I’ve spent a bit of time on Twitter lately, for my sins, and have been simply astounded at how many people are out there who’re working on a more planet & people friendly food system.

I’ve seen everything from hydroponics to beekeepers, urban designers to organic cosmetic boxes, bloggers & restaurant owners, environmental engineers to grass roots GMO activists.

It’s been really encouraging – we know we’re backing a swelling movement, and we’re here all guns blazing ourselves.

Our view is one of disruption of the status quo, and support of the individuals, communities & organisations who’re getting on with creating a better world.  We aim to disrupt the existing food distribution system – one which wields so much power – by directly supporting the farmers, community food enterprises & small scale food distributors with the tools to enable a local food movement.

Software is our team’s background (well except for mine which is environmental conservation & business..) so we were in a good position to create the web 2.0 tools for the people we know can create the kind of food system which will support people & planet more readily than the holders of the power in the industrialised food distribution, who are simply ‘working for their shareholders’.

Too much power in food distribution will cause a problemDisruption is important – it can create systemic change. Take what Napster did to the music industry for example; one simple innovation in digitising and sharing files has blown apart a system which is still re-sprouting in its wake – those that try to fight or cling on to the old paradigm will eventually be left behind. Those that embrace, innovate, and find new ways – will be rewarded with inheriting a new system.  We see disruption of the power balance of food distribution in the same way.

We realise of course that we are not going to do this on our own – in fact the ground work is already well underway – food hubs, vege box schemes, organic farmers, fair food bloggers, sustainability consultants, local food enterprise resources, education & future thinkers are already doing stirling work in this area.  That’s why we’re working with local & friendly food champions like Food Connect and the Soil & Health Association, who are doing great work in education, advocacy & research into what a sustainable food system looks like.

In the meantime, before our launch, we look forward to hearing from you about what your view of a better food system is, and how you’re working towards it.

Local & Friendly Food Champion showcase: Food Connect Foundation

We’re extremely pleased to announce the second in a stream of partnerships with local & friendly food champions!

Our good friends at Food Connect in Australia are known around the world for the fantastic work they’ve done on creating a sustainable, fair, organic approach to local food distribution.

The two schemes already running in Australia work on a mix of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) and Vege Box scheme to get the food from the rural producers to their ‘city cousins’ where towns people pick up their food.  We’re supporting the Foundation side of their work – “the Food Connect Foundation supports entrepreneurship that promotes soil fertility, appropriate scale organic farming and small food enterprises”.

If you haven’t already seen Rob Pekin, the founder of Food Connect, speaking at TEDxBrisbane – here’s his 18 minutes of heart & reason:

The back story: 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. We see that these are the individuals & organisations who are making significant headway in catalysing, educating & advocating for a fair, friendly, local food system. We support their work to the hilt.

A man and his local vegetables - Food Connect CSA ethical enterprise

The Food Buzz

It’s been a great couple of days in the Bucky Box camp, with some exciting research and chatter continuing as designs are finalised, code is written, and decisions are made.

Image from foodandtechconnect.com

Today we spotted an interesting project regarding the cross over of new technology and the agricultural industry: Hacking the Food System.

It’ll be a global conversation, using social media as well as a couple of offline conversations which are being convened.

We can think of plenty of topics which might come up in conversation – food distribution is what we’re working on, but traceability and visibility of where & how food is produced seems to be up there, as well as how the information now flowing into social media can be shared, analysed & used to learn more about the food system we rely on.

We’re looking forward to being involved in the conversation – we hope you will be too.

As web & software developers, we have a keen interest in how this area starts to take shape, so applause to Danielle Gould (@dhgisme) for pulling this together.  It’ll be a great opportunity for the world to come together to talk about some of the opportunities that this emerging intersection will have for the global food system.

In further social media finds this week, we’ve been enjoying the following;

PopTech 2009: Michael Pollan from PopTech on Vimeo.

 

How do these genetically-engineered crops compare to non-modified crops? (Photo: Peter Blanchard/Creative Commons)

The TakePart food report titled “What is Big Ag keeping from you?

And finally, hearty conversations with Food Connect‘s founder, Rob Pekin, about Food Connect Foundation’s mission, and calls from around the world to replicate what they’ve been doing for the last 10 years. Here’s his TED talk in case you’ve not seen it already: