As part of our series on Top Tips for Local Food Distribution, we’re diving a little deeper into each of the 5 tips we gave. This week is ‘Call on Existing Resources & Support’ – Standing on the Shoulders of Giants. You can also check out ‘#1 : Get Social – a guide to new media for local food‘.
“If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” – Isaac Newton
Have you created your dream job, only to find that despite offering quality local produce from farmers who care – customers are slow to jump aboard? Or are you a startup veg box scheme which needs a pointer in the right direction to get the wheels rolling?
Whatever your challenge, someone, somewhere is likely to have already faced it. Thanks to the wonders of the internet, you have access to a remarkable amount of knowledge from around the world, when it comes to local food systems. Hard to find the right bit? Well Bucky Box is here to help.
Resources & Courses
There’s some great online and downloadable resources which can help you step through the early stages of set up – call them cheat sheets;
- Growing Communities – mentoring & support for UK social entrepreneurs wanting to get started with Box Schemes.
- Sustain UK – resource guide to set up a food bag scheme [PDF].
- Soil Association – overview of Box Schemes & CSA’s.
- Local Harvest – explaining the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) model.
- Centre for Integrated Agricultural Systems – 4 tiers of food systems [PDF] and Scaling Local Food Report.
- Growing Small Farms – a guide to CSA set up.
- Wallace Centre – excellent resource guides on market-based approaches to local food.
- Community Food Enterprise – e-book download of case studies of successful local food models.
- Sustain – Food Co-ops : A Toolkit to get started.
- National Good Food Network – a resource guide for food hubs.
- Local Food Lab – a place for startups building a better food system (US).
- La Cocina – resources curated for small businesses in the food space.
- Food Innovation Centre – business & technical mentoring for food ventures in New Jersey.
- Small Business Administration – support & guidance for small business.
- FoodNYC – a blueprint for city-wide sustainable food systems [PDF].
- B Corporation – register as a B-Corp, and they provide extra support & marketing services as part of their legal structure & network (US).
- American Worker Co-operatives – resource guide to getting started with a worker co-op.
- Centre for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems – case studies on innovative business models for a better food system.
- Transition Network – Setting up a CSA:
Networks & Communities of Practice
Connecting with people & projects of interest is vital to continuing to keep your finger on the pulse of what works, as well as what new opportunities may be around the corner. Check out some of these online & offline networks:
- National Good Food Network – building value chains, relationships, systems, and infrastructure for bringing more good food to more people.
- Sustaination – the linkedin for local food.
- Slow Food – a network of people & organisations who believe food is an act of culture.
- Transition Network – a movement built on the idea of a world beyond peak oil; Transition is now truly global.
- Young Farmers Network – many farm-to-fork farmers are part of the Young Farmers network in the US, and they’re active with training & events.
- Ooooby – NZ’s local food movement.
Support from Government & Charity
There’s some admirable work being done around the world by several governments in an effort to rejuvenate local food systems, here’s some of the programs which we’ve seen which might be able to offer you some help:
- USDA – a run down of various US grants & programs supporting local food [courtesy of twitter chat].
- Making Local Food Work – a lottery funded UK project to provide support & resources for local food enterprises.
- SAOS – support, advice & hands on help for co-operative local food enterprises in Scotland.
- ICOS – the year of the co-operative shows a revival in Irish co-op spirit & support through this Government scheme.
- FARMA – UK body promoting & supporting direct farm to fork sales with knowledge, expertise & consultancy.
- DPI Victoria – Department of primary industries looks to support cooperative models in agriculture.
We will also take the opportunity for a specific focus on funding in the next Top Tips blog, but you can check out the National Good Food Network webinar in the meantime.
Mapping, Consumer Apps, Back End Systems, Traceability, and much much more is coming. Here’s a run down of a couple which might be useful to local food schemes looking to make their job easier;
- Local Dirt – a consumer app which connects customers with local food in their area.
- Food+Tech Connect – online inspiration station for the intersection between Food & Technology. Check out the #foodtech hashtag on twitter for rolling news.
- Real Time Farms – aiming to map the food system is a bold task, Real Time Farms are taking it on.
- HarvestMark – food traceability throughout the food chain.
- Seedstock – news & reviews of emerging technology & startups for sustainable agriculture.
- Visual.ly – making infographics, accessible to the masses – this service could be useful for a new spin on your impact in the local economy.
- Good Eggs – nifty new service in US for a variety of local food artisans & producers.
- Bucky Box – software for local food distribution – the tools for a variety of models of delivery & pick up food services.
There’s many more examples of technology which would enable your local food business springing up all the time, so keep tuned on the above channels (and here!) for more examples. You can also check out our blog about ‘Getting Social’ – tips for local food businesses using social media.
By no means is this an exhaustive list, so we’d love your feedback for other resources, networks, support & technology we should be adding too! Drop us a note below in the comments.