Bucky Box was an Award Nominee: Sustainable Entrepreneurship Award

Sustainable Entrepreneurhsip Award Bucky Box Software for Local Food

 

 

We don’t get up every morning wanting or expecting adulation. That said, it’s always nice to be acknowledged for the work you’re doing and sometimes it makes you feel like other people believe in your idea too.

 

This week we were delighted to hear from the Sustainable Entrepreneurship Award organisers that we have made it into the Top 5 for this global award which is in its second year :

The sea honours people and companies who are already shaping the world of tomorrow today. They work together with others towards a sustainable future and develop intelligent solutions for the environment and society through their regular business activities or through innovative processes and projects. They focus their resources and ideas on social and ecological innovations and, in doing so, take the idea of corporate social responsibility one step further.

 

We feel somewhat humbled to have made it to the top 5 from the 260 entrants. Sadly we couldn’t jump on a plane to be at the swanky awards ceremony in Austria to meet some of the people behind the remarkable ideas and organisations which are forging a better future.

 

We were nominated in the Development & Services category of the ‘Best Project’ award – we were certainly impressed by some of the other projects and enterprises merging from this space as well.

 

Here’s to raising a glass of something bubbly to all the awesome people around the world working on projects, businesses, and badly needed services to make the world a little (or a lot) better!

 

Here’s a short video to give you a little pep talk to make the world awesome:

 

Check out SEA online here and their facebook page here.

 

** WINNERS ANNOUNCED HERE **

Check it out! We were awarded a certificate for finishing in the Top 5!

Sustainable Entreprneurship Award Trophy

Mapping Local Food Webs : Guide to Getting Started

Local Food Webs are often complex and dynamic, but there’s great value in seeing how they’re connected.

 

How can we visualise the interconnection of our local food economies, gain greater support from local government, and catalyse more community resilience & trade?

 

Bucky Box brings you CPRE's guide to mapping food webs

 

If you want to learn more about the value of local food webs, you can download the full report from Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) which details their 5 year study into 19 projects in the UK.

 

 

The key findings cover economic, social, environmental & cultural aspects of local food webs and include:

  • Local Food is a key driver for local economies, which is at threat from industrial supermarket growth.
  • Local Food webs contribute to the strength of smaller outlets, maintaining the attraction of town centres through local food and contributing towards their diversity, character and the community
  • Providing channels to market for new and micro, small and medium- sized businesses, supporting producer businesses and enabling farming to remain diverse and varied in production and outputs including values supported by consumers such as freshness, provenance and seasonality
  • Encouraging engagement of consumers with food and, through the human scale and connection within local food networks, enabling shoppers to understand the realities, challenges and impacts of food production and to choose to make a difference individually and collectively.
  • Enabling sustainable & regenerative agricultural practices, and encouraging diversity in our food system.
  • Building community and a rich culture around a central premise – food.

We particularly appreciate the aspect that Local Food is a concept – not a certification or label.

“The concept goes beyond that of a supply chain to look at the retail system, and food’s wider impact on the quality of places, the environment and community life in both urban and rural areas.”

 

Whilst the research being heavily UK-focused, we believe that many people from different nations will benefit from reading this research, and using the associated Mapping guide. It has resonance here in New Zealand, and from all the people we’ve been speaking to around North America, Europe, Australia, The Pacific & Asia – we believe it will strike a chord there too.

 

This research was done by CPRE, but they’ve also released a Toolkit to help with local food web mapping in your area. You can take a look and download it for free.

As we mentioned earlier, there is also another element to any of these sorts of projects – networks are dynamic. Whilst the initial mapping project gives insights into the current state of play, it’s key to keep track of the evolutionary nature of a network/web, to continue to gain from these insights.

We’re very excited by a project by some friends in the UK called Sustaination, which aims to do just that – map the dynamic nature of food webs – kind of like a Linkedin for Local Food.  You can check out the project here – Sustaination : Local Food Everywhere – sign up for a profile today, and encourage other friends in your local food web to do the same, and start benefitting from the power of visualising your connections.

It’s a great example of how Technology can continue to support the fantastic work at the grassroots of the local food movement.

So, what are you waiting for? Get mapping today!

Celsias features Bucky Box : Social Enterprise taking on the Food System

 

Thanks to Celsias for featuring a little article about Bucky Box‘s ‘flip side’ – our social & environmental mission which aims to tackle a Food System in dire need of disruption!

 

It’s nice to see our golden kiwi logo being used, which we devised to show people that we’re about much more than software – you can see more about The Mission here too.

 

Celsias is the home of New Zealand Sustainable Business, so it was a delight to be featured here.  Read the full article : Bucky Box – a Social Enterprise to try to create a better food system

 

 

 

One thing we realised yesterday is that the change we wanted to see, is already starting to occur.  Whilst chatting to a particularly inspirational local food distributor in New Zealand, he told us “I realised that the software would cost upwards of 10’s of thousands of dollars to build, and was almost ready to give up on the idea, but then I opened the paper and read that Herald article, and thought ‘Hallelujah!’ someone’s already doing it! I had to get in touch, and it’s exactly what I need, at a tiny fraction of the cost of what it would cost to do it myself.”

 

Talk about warm fuzzies for the day!

 

Welcome to the new home of Bucky Box | The Mission

As you may know, Bucky Box is a social enterprise working to create a better food system.

 

We recently realised we were mixing the two sides to our business through this blog, so recently we started working on the flip side of the coin – the side we call “The Mission”.

New identity for Bucky Box's values-based work

Today, we launched that site and it’s accompanying blog, where we’ll take up the baton to give you the best we have to offer about food system change. We hope you like our special golden kiwifruit logo.

 

Bucky Box | The Mission site is ideal for anyone who eats food.

 

Check out the Bucky Box manifesto

 

Of course, we’ll keep up the conversation on this blog too: it’ll be more about Bucky Box “The Software“, hints & tips about local food distribution, interesting resources which will support food enterprise, and anything else we think will be useful to you – the Local Food heroes who’re distributing food from Farm to Fork.

 

We always love feedback, so feel free to hop on over to the new site – www.buckybox.org – take a look around, and get in touch!

#SXSWEco is on NOW!

If you haven’t heard about SXSWEco, then you should take a moment and jump over to sxsweco.com – here’s the brief run down about what the event is about:

SXSW Eco is a three-day conference addressing the need for a concerted, cross sector approach to solving the recognized challenges facing the economy, the environment and civil society. In its second year, SXSW Eco will be held October 3rd-5th, 2012 at the AT&T Conference Center in Austin, Texas.

Hosting an international audience of on-the-ground innovators and executive level decision makers from the public and private sectors as well as thought leaders from academia, this event will drive the conversation of sustainability beyond rhetoric and towards solutions. SXSW Eco is for professionals at the forefront of the post-recognition discussion who are dedicated to making progress towards solving these challenges.

Join us in Austin, Texas for discovery, cutting-edge discussion and unique networking opportunities with experienced, passionate and pragmatic professionals.

 

You can check out the whole event which is livestreaming at SXSWEco.com/live

 

One particular highlight on the schedule is Anna Lappé – cofounder of the Small Planet Institute – who will be speaking on the topic “Plenty for the Planet: Sustainable Food and a Well-Fed World” on Thursday, October 4 at 3:30PM – 4:30PM (Austin, Texas).

 

We hope you enjoy the conference – we’re also going to be live tweeting some bits and pieces, so join the conversation!

Top 5 ways to find more customers : an overview of local food marketing guides

Have you ever wondered ‘how & where will I get more customers?’

 

We’ve been asked the question a fair bit recently by people & organisations around the world who are distributing food locally.  What with tough harvests in the UK, the supermarket price wars in Australia, the food stores the size of small towns in the US, austerity measures in Europe, and the gradual rising awareness of the benefits of local food in New Zealand – it can be tough to find new customers.

 

We decided to pull together our own e-book on this topic, but in the meantime, here’s a couple of sites which could be useful to get you started.

  1. Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA) – as part of the ‘Be A Local Hero’ program, have developed a Marketing 101 for farmers and local food distributors. You’ll find a link to a PDF download – it’s a fairly in-depth guide to everything from establishing a brand, to working out new channels for your business.
  2. Making Local Food Work – a series of guides & toolkits for a wide variety of local food distribution models, developed to help you get started & get ahead.
  3. National Good Food Network – a database of research into business & finance behind local food distribution & farming.
  4. Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture – a solid guide for small farmers and distributors as to why & how to market locally.
  5. Lean Marketing – taking a somewhat different approach to marketing, this blog post advocates lean marketing – staying away from heavyweight strategic planning, testing ideas in small batches, and learning quickly.

 

Social Enterprise London (SEL) – many local food distributors are looking for triple-bottom line impact, and could benefit from the great resources that SEL create. Whilst not specifically focused on local food, they do have some good guides to smaller, more impactful business.

 

If you’re particularly interested in the USDA Marketing Manual – we’ve also uploaded here: USDA Marketing Manual 2012

 

We’d love to hear your thoughts & feedback on what’s worked and what’s not, to help build a guide for local food to build the movement around the world.  You can tweet us at @buckybox, or get in touch through Facebook.

Production, Distribution & Waste – Challenging Industrial Agriculture

 

Recently we’ve heard the same old arguments being pumped out by industrial agriculture, especially in reaction to the droughts in the US.

 

The argument goes: “There’s almost 7 billion people on Earth, and there’s 1 billion hungry. We need more food to feed the world. We must intensify agriculture; bigger & better, and we’ve got the answer – we call it a Sustainable Agriculture”.  That ‘Sustainable Agriculture future’ is typically large-scale intensive agriculture, GMO, and more sophisticated ‘scientific’ farming methods.  Inevitably the cost of this agriculture is greater, and farmers must have all of the latest information, tools, machinery & chemicals to make it happen.  It also, coincidentally, means greater profits for the big boys of industrial agriculture (rather than farmers).

 

There’s an assumption in there that needs testing: “We need more food to feed the world”.  It’s so often taken as a given, but there significant research which suggests otherwise.

 

We grow enough food to feed 10 billion people already. Eric Holt-Giménez recently wrote a fantastic rebuttal of the industrial agriculture view on the future of food. The first part of his argument centres around the point that Hunger is not caused by scarcity, but by poverty – that is what needs to be tackled to feed the hungry people in the world, not more food.  It follows on to show that Industrial Ag Vs Natural Farming does not represent the gaps in yields that are constantly talked about by GMO advocates. The longest running study (Rodale Institute – 47 year study) shows that Organic farming has better yields & profits, whilst requiring lower energy inputs & causing lower greenhouse gas outputs.

 

We Already Grow Enough Food - Infographic - Challenging Industrial Agriculture

 

The UN have put out several studies on Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture which do not support the Industrial Ag spin. They don’t stand to create vast profits from their view, but they do expect to see greater advances in sustainable development & poverty alleviation through more agriculture shifting to small-scale agroecological production. There also are gains in climate resilience and energy reduction from adopting farming based on ecological systems.

 

A 2011 report on Food Waste by the Food & Agriculture Organisation (PDF) suggests 1/3 of global food production is wasted through the supply chain or pre/post consumption. This food waste infographic featured on Food+Tech Connect supports this argument, showing it’s as high as 40% in the US.

 

It’s clear to see there’s significant work that needs to be addressed on the Consumer side of things, but this also supports our assertion that a big change needs to happen upstream.  If food distribution were to change from the centralised, industrial model that accounts for 99% of our food system, to local food webs, then we have the opportunity to disrupt the food waste in this area of the chain too.

 

The world has changed since our food system was invented – the information & web revolution has made new things possible – aggregation of supply & demand through web-based tools is just one of them.  We built Bucky Box for many reasons, one of which indicates the potential for decentralised food systems & local food webs to be more efficient than Industrialised Ag.  By re-localising food distribution with these new tools, we can efficiently move food from farm to fork with minimal wastage, instead of farm to landfill.

 

The time has come for a revolution in our food system.  It may be a quiet revolution which sees individuals consciously choosing to buy local, for small-scale farming to make a wholesale return, and for more-than-profit food distribution to rise, powered by a wave of digital tools for a better food system.