Tools for Local Food Distribution – designed for the other 90%

What would happen to food distribution if you provided enterprise-quality tools to the 90% of enterprises who can’t normally afford them?

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Bucky Box designs for the other 90%

A little over a year ago, we posed ourselves that question. It was an interesting challenge – one of turning the problem that most local food distributors have on its head.


By now, most of us are aware that local food distribution has a glass ceiling – it’s about 70-80 deliveries per week where the admin burden really kicks in and stifles growth. [tweet this]


There’s just too much complexity to handle with spreadsheets and hacked together systems when you hit this number – you’re bound to start making errors – whether it’s making sure someone’s paid their bill, that one of the boxes should’ve had artichokes instead of carrots, or that Bob & Karen had just moved house. You know – that bit of information you scribbled on a sticky note and pinned to the wall?


So, the glass ceiling is really the automation of those labour intensive admin tasks – packing sheets, customer ledgers, delivery reconciliation and matching up payments.  Take away that glass ceiling, and we know that many local food schemes can grow, get more quality & healthy food to people, and be more profitable. We know this from the handful of schemes who have invested heavily in their technology and grown accordingly.


Back to the question – how can we change the game? How can we get more local food distribution businesses operating, serving different markets & communities, providing more demand for small farms & artisan producers? How can we shift the needle on the destructive nature of industrialised food systems? How can we bring back the food webs that existed pre-industrial food distribution? Lets call that our vision of the Food Web 2.0.


The answer is not simple, but it’s the challenge that we took on. It’s the challenge that we have spent well over a year working on in various forms, and it’s the challenge that we’ve got our first solution to. Bucky Box is about bringing those tools to the masses, to the other 90% – to anyone who wants to start up a food distribution business [tweet], whether it’s 20 people in their local office, 200 people at their local church, or 2000 people in their community. Simple to use. Affordable. Ready to go.


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We’ve got some exciting news in the pipeline to get a little bit of a buzz going around Local Food distribution, as we genuinely believe decentalising food distribution is one of the most exciting challenges & opportunities in c21st. <- [tweet].


It’s the forefront of enabling regenerative agriculture, improving the health of ourselves and our communities, and of lifting people around the world out of poverty. <- [tweet]


If any of what we’ve said rings true, and you’re thinking about starting a local food enterprise, or doing what you already do – better, then drop by the Bucky Box – Software for Local Food website and sign up for a trial or just tweet us for a chat.


We’re looking forward to supporting you to create a better food system.

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!

Bucky Box talks to Radio New Zealand’s Kim Hill

Listen to Bucky Box speak to Kim Hill on Radio New Zealand

Yesterday we were lucky enough to join the International Press Personality of the Year, Kim Hill, on her Saturday morning show.


We thought it would be wise to say congratulations for her recent award, so we took along a Box chocked full of lovely organic produce! We’re cursing ourselves for not taking a photo now – Kim looked very chuffed with the Jerusalem Artichoke & Garlic shoots particularly!


It was a fantastic opportunity to see behind the scenes of one of our nation’s most-listened to radio shows, and Mark (the fantastic producer of the show) let us know we’d be talking live to around 200’000 Kiwi’s just before going live. Thanks Mark.


Listen to Will & Sam talk about Food Distribution & Bucky Box on Saturday Morning with Kim Hill here:


You can see Kim Hill’s Saturday morning online here, and check them out on Twitter at @RNZ_SatMorning

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!


The Dominion Post & feature Bucky Box

Bucky Box is in the Dominion Post


The press this week continues with more coverage of our launch in the National press here in New Zealand.


Big thanks to the team at The Dominion Post who covered the launch with a story about the rise of the “Locavore” in New Zealand.  We definitely see a rising awareness in people here, wanting to know where their food is from, and wanting to support local growers and better, healthier forms of agriculture.  It’s great to see!  We believe we need to bring the trend out of just the “gourmands and ethically aware eaters” and into the mainstream, and a big factor in that is always cost. If we strip out the expensive middlemen, and make the small scale distribution efficient, and we believe we can do that – that’s our aim!


There’s a tip of the hat to Enspiral, our social innovation incubator – our friends & colleagues.  We really appreciated all the support, encouragement & expertise they’ve offered us in the last few months especially to get us to our Public Beta launch.


You can see the full article here: “App helps consumers find locally grown food”


There’s also a version in Stuff Technology here published the same 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 – – take a look around, and get in touch!

Our new website is LIVE!

Check out our new website!

Have you swung by our home page recently and noticed a bit of a change?


That’s right! Our new website is now live with much more information about our software for local food distribution.  You can take a virtual tour of the app which is still in private beta, but soon to be available as a public beta (more news coming soon on that!), plus there’s also information on our beta pricing, and our social enterprise mission tops off the party at the bottom of the page.


We’d really love to hear your feedback – drop us a tweet!