Agriculture Day at Rio+20

Today is Agriculture & Rural Development Day, with a keen focus on the happenings over at Rio+20.  The day will feature keynote speakers, a high-level panel discussion, and 13 participatory “learning events” – giving voice to a wide cross section of stakeholders. The learning events will explore concrete cases of success, which, if scaled out through greater investment, could translate into a thorough transformation of the global food system. The afternoon will showcase science innovations for a food-secure future.

 

A combination of scientific research and on-the-ground innovation has demonstrated the real and potential success of many technologies and methods. To build on their success requires an integrated landscape approach that improves agricultural productivity and rural livelihoods, while also addressing threats to forests, water, and biodiversity.

 

We’ve been reading & engaging in a fair few conversations about the future of the food system as of late, and looking into recent reports about Agroecology farming methods, the merits of smallholding agriculture, and generally thinking about how new models of food distribution can help bring about a food system which works for people & planet, rather than simply short term economics.

 

Agriculture Day is highlighting the need for Rio+20 to address global agriculture as a system with the potential for major impact on future sustainability.  They highlight Agriculture as Our Common Future.

 

 

Here’s a 7 point taster of the #Rio4Ag Alliance’s focus for the Learning Events:

  1. Global and national policies
  2. Global investments
  3. Sustainable intensification
  4. Reduce vulnerability
  5. Reshape food access and diets
  6. Reduce loss and waste in food systems
  7. Create integrated information systems

 

During today’s Agriculture Day webcast you can watch the livestream, follow along on twitter at #Rio4Ag, as well as investigating the learning events & resources on the site.  Take a look!

The Guardian features Bucky Box : Kiwi Social Enterprise working for a better food system

What a lovely surprise to wake up and find yourselves featured in The Guardian’s Social Enterprise section!

Social Enterprise, Bucky Box is featured in The Guardian's SocEnt member listings

We’re proud to have created our social enterprise legal model, despite there being no NZ framework for what we wanted to achieve.  You can read a little about what we’re hoping to do outside of our work with local food distributors and our software here – More than Profit Global Partnerships.

 

In the meantime, if you’re working for more than profit on a social/environmental mission, you can get a Guardian Social Enterprise Membership listing here.

5 Tips for Local Food Delivery

Image courtesy of The Ecologist

We realised that as of late we’ve been chatting with a lot of local food delivery enterprises from all over the world, which puts us in a privileged place to spot some of what’s working for different organisations, wherever they may be.  We thought in the spirit of open source, we’d share our musings;

 

Get Social!

The landscape of finding & engaging with customers has changed with the emergence of social media. With social media has come an unprecedented opportunity to engage in meaningful conversation with your customers & stakeholders, and tell your own story like never before.  One of the best things? With over 835 million people worldwide using Facebook & Twitter, many of your customers are likely to already be there and 100’s more potential customers in your area too.

Whilst most social media sites (such as Facebook & Twitter) are free to use, you should factor your time into the equation – like any conversation, listening as well as talking takes time.  Consider super-targeted adverts on Facebook/Twitter/Google Ad Words.  We also heartily suggest telling your story through a blog (like ours!) on Tumblr or WordPress, and for the more aesthetically inclined – share your story, your passion & your vision through sites like Pinterest or Vimeo.

Remember; make your dialogue about Quality not Quantity.

 

Call on existing resources & support

In several countries around the world, there’s now NGO’s & Government programs which are set up to help local food distributors get started, or iron out any problems.  They vary from downloadable action packs to full immersive social enterprise courses!

 

So our suggestion? Research, and make use of anything out there which could help you – you’ll be surprised what’s available!

Just some of our favourite resource hubs include; Soil Association (UK), Making Local Food Work (UK), Wallace Centre (US), Sustain (UK), Eaterprises (Australia), Transition Network (Worldwide).

 

Get creative with Funding

There are plenty of ways to fund a local food enterprise beyond mortgaging your house with the bank.  Our run down from the National Good Food Network webinar on funding local food tells you how!

Teaser for the NGFN blog: Co-operative model, LION networks, Crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter, Micro/e-Lending platforms like Kiva, Slow Munis, Local Community Pre-Sales, Local Stock Exchanges, Investment Clubs like Slow Money.

See more here: Cutting-edge ways to Fund your Local Food business

 

Leverage free & low cost tools

Let the explosion of innovation & applications that resulted from mobile technology play into your hands!  The great news about the Mac App Store, Google Play & Chrome Store is that there are more applications than ever which can help you run your business more efficiently, and many of them are free.

 

Whether you need to manage your to-do list [Wunderlist], collaborative project management [Trello], communicate with your customers for nix [Skype], manage your social media marketing [Hootsuite], or simply use collaborative document sharing & calendars [Google Apps] – there’s a host of free apps out there.

 

We also would heartily suggest you check out some of the emerging technology, specifically around local food distribution.  This is where we get to play.  There’s several options out there now, which can manage customer accounts, help you manage packing & delivery logistics, and deal with the burden of payment reconciliation. Taking away the admin burden of local food distribution is one of the main barriers to growth we can see & are doing something about!

 

Be Authentic, Tell Your Story & be about More Than Profit

We keep coming back to this as a really important part of local food distribution.  We all loathe greenwashing don’t we? So don’t do it – be authentic with the story of where you came from, where your food is produced, and how you play nice with others.  We see local food distribution as being about values, and we constantly ask people to think about business in terms of ‘more than profit’.

 

Importantly, don’t ruin it for everyone. Local delivery, organics, farm-to-fork… it’s a tiny fraction of food distribution around the world. Don’t go stomping on it by picking fights with other people trying to do something similar in your area!  Try thinking about converting other people away from mainstream supermarket shopping, and growing the local food economy?

 

Use your blog and social media to tell the story of your business. Make it about more than just ‘units’ and ‘weights of food’, and aim for something more aspirational – your Values.  Use photography, words, infographics, videos & the great testimonials from your customers to show that you’re about supporting local farmers, delivering affordable organics, or whatever else it is that got you interested in local food delivery in the first place.  But be authentic!

Here’s some of our favourite use of Creativity in Local Food to get you started.

 

Do you have any more top tips to share?

 

You can now see the expanded version of this blog here:

Wise Words

We’ve just been putting together a couple of images, with some wise words from strong voices of the fair food movement.  We hope you like – feel free to share on Pinterest / Facebook / Twitter.

 

Activist & Thought Leader, Dr Vandana Shiva (@drvandanashiva) on perspective

 

Author & Speaker, Anna Lappé (@annalappe) on Conscious Consumerism

 

Author, Michael Pollan (@michaelpollan) on food and culture

 

Author & Farmer, Joel Salatin (@joelsalatin) on how our food system has evolved.

 

Chef, Entrepreneur & Changemaker, Jamie Oliver (@jamieoliver) on American Health

 

Unlimited Magazine feature Bucky Box : flying the flag for Kiwi Social Enterprise

A mysterious parcel arrived at Bucky Box HQ yesterday.  When we ripped it open, we found the latest copy of Unlimited Magazine – ‘Inspiring New Zealand Business’.

It took us a moment or two to remember why this magazine had been mailed to us specifically, and then the penny dropped – a couple of months back, we’d had a good yarn with a friendly reporter who had heard about what we’ve been doing with Bucky Box,  and was particularly interested in our Social & Environmental drivers, and how we’d set up with a Social Enterprise constitution.

 

Social Enterprise / Social Business startup, Bucky Box, is building Software for Local Food Distribution

Social Enterprise / Business is a fairly new concept in New Zealand, and we’re modeling how legal structures and triple bottom line thinking can manifest as a business here.  This is a great opportunity to thank the amazing enspiral team who have supported & incubated us along the way!

 

The article, entitled ‘Social Circles’ features several Kiwi businesses which are focused on More than Profit – a friend of mine likes to call us “Yes, and…” Businesses.  Also featured in the article are the wonderful local food movement Ooooby, the fledgling New Zealand Centre for Social Innovation, the wonderful co-working space for changemakers (and our good friends) ‘The Kitchen’ in Auckland.

 

We have a lot of appreciation for organisations around the world who share the vision of using business for what we believe it was originally meant for – creating a better world, being an active citizen in a better society, and finding a way to do all this within the bounds of the environment we rely on. Where does the money come in? Well that’s the lubricant to make it work. We call it More Than Profit.

 

Pick up a copy of Unlimited Magazine, or head over to their website to check out more stories about Innovation, Technology, Startups & Leadership in New Zealand.

 

** UPDATE **

You can now read Social Circles : Kiwi Social Entreprenurship on Unlimited Magazine’s website now.