Tips for Local Food #2 : Call on Existing Resources & Support – Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

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‘.

 

Bucky Box helps connect you to existing resources & support for local food enterprise

“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;

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:

 

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:

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.

 

Technology

 

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;

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.

 

Thanks to Jenny Huston for support in the Resources section & Kirsten Larsen for tips on Australian Government Support!

Social Business & Trendhunter feature Bucky Box : Local Food Delivery Software

A big thanks to Social Business and Trendhunter, who picked up our social good business model, and ran a story on it recently entitled ‘Organic Food Delivery Software’!

Local Food Distribution software company Bucky Box, have a social good mission

 

It’s always nice to be featured as much for our social good mission & business model, as it is for the technology which will catalyse the possibilities for local food around the world.

 

Bucky Box is a New Zealand-based social enterprise that is making it easer to deliver organic groceries. This innovative software will cut down on time and errors—making the business owner and the customer happy. The tool emerges alongside the growth of grocery schemes like community supported agriculture and other distribution models, which exist in many industrialized countries for organic food and non-organic food alike.

 

Of course, our software isn’t just suited to Organic food distribution, we can support schemes who are distributing fruit, veg, meat, juices, and a whole lot more – take a peek at our video to understand a little more.

So a big thanks to @TianaReid who hunted us down and to Social Business and Trendhunter for featuring us!

Beta testers: Ding Ding – Round Two

Bucky Box is accepting Beta Testers for a second round of testing!ROUND TWO!

It’s that time again! We’re welcoming the next round of local food enterprises who want to do away with painful admin, and move into the new, easier era of local food distribution.

Beta testing round 1 went well enough for us to open the doors to more awesome local food distributors.

If you’re running a local food delivery business that needs help on the time consuming customer support, delivery logistics, and billing side of things, we’re keen to hear from you. We aim to get 2 days of your operational work down to 2 hours weekly.

Sound like you?

Here’s the qualifiers we’re looking for:

  • You are currently operating a delivery scheme with at least 50 customers.
  • You’re reasonably tech savvy & fairly relaxed – we class this as comfortable in GMail & willing to work things out with us if there’s a bug or two, rather than shouting down the phone.
  • You deliver a standard product such as a Box of seasonal produce. This can be a ‘mystery box’ or a even a clearly defined product like a green juice or a loaf of bread.
    • Likes and Dislike preferences
    • ‘extras’ & ‘à la carte‘ ordering is coming soon but not included in this round (e.g. ad hoc extras attached to an order, or a custom build box with veges A, B and C)
  • Any repeating delivery cycle is okay this means weekly, fortnightly, daily on specific days, or one-off orders.

If this still sounds like you then drop us a line on beta@buckybox.com, we’re limiting this round to approx 12 beta customers, first come first served.

Web Tools for Vegetable Box Schemes CSA and Food HubsIf you’re not eligible, or you’re just the kinda person that likes to spread the word, pass it onto your friends – hit us up at @BuckyBox on twitter.

(confused, or don’t know what all this local food jargon means – check out the guide here!)

Cutting-edge ways to Fund your local food business – National Good Food Network (Webinar roundup)

Financing, Funding & Investment in Local Food is needed to bring about a better food systemFinding it hard to raise capital to get your local food enterprise off the ground or expand your operations?

 

Imagine a future where there’s significant community investment to help you grow the local food movement. That’s the future where we spent our morning.

 

We were listening to a webinar from the National Good Food Network on innovative & unexpected ways to raise capital for your ‘more than profit’ enterprise.

 

Here’s a teaser:

  • Speciality Deposits
  • Co-operative model
  • LION networks
  • Crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter
  • Micro/e-Lending platforms like Kiva
  • Slow Munis
  • Pre-Sales
  • Local Stock Exchanges
  • Investment Clubs like SlowMoney
  • Self Directed IRA

So make sure you check out our Storify local food funding webinar round up below, and take a look at our new Top Tips for Local Food Funding blog too.

Here’s our run down of the NGFN event, we hope it helps you get your local food enterprise funded and operating!

 

 

 

[<a href=”http://storify.com/buckybox/local-food-investment-webinar” target=”_blank”>View the story “Local Food Investment Webinar” on Storify</a>]<br /> <h1>Local Food Investment Webinar</h1> <h2>A webinar hosted by @ngfn on innovative ways to fund your local food enterprise! More information at the National Good Food Network here: http://bit.ly/y7TKRg</h2> <p>Storified by Bucky Box · Thu, Mar 15 2012 17:35:20</p> <div>Find out how the USDA supports local and regional food systems. Free webinar TODAY 3:30p ET 12:30p PT http://bit.ly/y3qVhDNatl Good Food Netwk</div> <div>Not too late to learn Cutting Edge Ways to Fund Your Food Business at the NGFN webinar -TODAY- 3:30ET 12:30PT http://bit.ly/wajAGRNatl Good Food Netwk</div> <div>The time has come! Webinar on Investment into sustainable agriculture on in 5mins! http://trib.al/CETZ4v #ngfnBucky Box</div> <div>’Cutting Edge Ways to Fund your Food Business’ #NGFNwebinar on now http://bit.ly/w07Ggl – thanks @ngfn!Bucky Box</div> <div>Study & Support of #FoodHubs – resource coming soon from USDA & Wallace Centre http://foodhub.info #NGFNwebinarBucky Box</div> <div>Panelist & speaker Michael Shuman is introduced to the webinar audience of around 80 people from around the country (and world in Bucky Box’s case!)<br></div> <div>Michael Shuman (economist & author) – ‘Local $, Local sense’ : the importance of #investment in #food. Webinars coming up! #ngfnwebinarBucky Box</div> <div>Information from NGFN:<br><span style=”font-style: italic;”>Drawing from his new book, “Local Dollars, Local Sense:  How to Shift Your Money from Wall Street to Main Street,” Michael Shuman will explain a dozen, low-cost strategies local businesses are using to secure new capital from the general public.  He will talk about specialized bank CD programs, prepurchase deals, new-generation cooperatives, internet sponsorship sites (like Kickstarter), P2P lenders (like Prosper and Kiva), community lending circles, investment clubs, municipal bond schemes, local revolving loan funds, direct public offerings, and local stock exchanges.  He also will report on the latest news of a crowdfunding reform bill – sponsored by Tea-Party Republicans but endorsed by the Obama Administration – that is working its way through Congress and could literally make trillions of dollars of new capital available to local business.</span></div> <div>$103m to relocalise food in Boulder, but #local people can fund this with a fraction of our savings & securities. #ngfnwebinarBucky Box</div> <div>Economic impact of moving 25% of food to #local: 1899 jobs, $81m in wages, $138m local gdp – in Boulder County alone! #ngfnwebinarBucky Box</div> <div>’A tiny fraction of national long term capital is invested in local markets’. Shift $ from Wall St to Local! #ngfnwebinarBucky Box</div> <div>AGREED! Software being one! "Many efficiencies discovered in current food system that are not contrary to Good Food." #ngfnwebinarBucky Box</div> <div>The Local Food investment tips start rolling in….<br><br></div> <div>Investment in Local Food: 1) Speciality Deposits (CD’s) http://trib.al/43JZ5Y #investment #food #ngfnwebinarBucky Box</div> <div>1) Speciality Deposits: Alternative Credit Union CENTS http://trib.al/Et7k9d #ngfnwebinar #investmentBucky Box</div> <div>Investment in Local Food: 2) Co-op Investment – lighter & easy to get off the ground #ngfnwebinarBucky Box</div> <div>Cooperatives take up the next 5 minutes or so – seem like quite the possibilities in this space.<br></div> <div>#Co-ops are amazing. It’s official. Food Hub with Co-op backing anyone? #ngfnwebinarBucky Box</div> <div>3) LION – local investment opportunity network – Local Food enterprises can apply! #investment #ngfnwebinarBucky Box</div> <div>Local Food Investment tip #4: Sponsorship – get in on the @kickstarter crowdfunding revolution! #ngfnwebinarBucky Box</div> <div>Haha, "The electronic Mohammad Yunus" Local Food Investment tip #5: e-Lending – get in on @kiva action! #ngfnwebinarBucky Box</div> <div>Local Food investment tip #6 ‘Slow Munis’ – Municipal Bonds http://trib.al/lHzWn8 #ngfnwebinarBucky Box</div> <div>Local Food investment tip #7 Pre-Sales – Get your money up front to aid growth! #ngfnwebinarBucky Box</div> <div>Local Food $ tip #8 Local Stock: locally raised funds for local projects http://trib.al/wV2kns #ngfnwebinarBucky Box</div> <div>Stock take of new legislation bills related to Crowdfunding – as backed by Tea Party & Occupy Wall Street.<br></div> <div>Pending legislation in US could open up a whole realm of new securities to Local Food if #crowdfunding legislation goes thru! #ngfnwebinarBucky Box</div> <div>Local Food $ tip #8: Local Stock Exchanges – Hawaii might be first off the rank! #ngfnwebinarBucky Box</div> <div>Local Food Investment tip #9: Investment Clubs like @SlowMoney & @SlowMoneyNYC #ngfnwebinarBucky Box</div> <div>Local Food investment tip #10: Self Directed IRA (there’s even a "For Dummies" book for it!) #ngfnwebinarBucky Box</div> <div>So the big question: "When the 1st $1trillion shifts from Wall St, what would you do for local food with a portion of it?" #ngfnwebinarBucky Box</div> <div>Prepare for the next stockmarket crash as everyone shifts their investment into local channels.Sustaination</div> <div>Food Hubs were talked about a fair bit as a shifting trend to open up new markets for CSA’s and local growers.  Check out http://foodhub.info to jump to the Wallace Centre’s resource portal for Food Hub information!<br></div> <div>Big excitement about #FoodHubs from Michael Shuman as future of local food on #ngfnwebinarBucky Box</div> <div>I think Sustaination might have to bring our early investment offer forward.. over excited by #ngfnwebinar — thanks @buckyboxSustaination</div> <div>Michael Shuman opens the webinar to questions.  He explains investment into Food Hubs could be a prudent move at the moment.  We also ask about investment in technology for Food Hubs…<br></div> <div>Afraid we disagree on that one! ‘Most useful basis for software in local food is redeploying old technology’ what do u reckon @sustaination?Bucky Box</div> <div>@buckybox if you *can* re-use old software, then obviously do that. But there’s *always* room for necessary innovation #foodtechSustaination</div> <div>@Sustaination I’ve not seen too many VegeBox schemes operating SAP tho. Is #Tech moving too fast to deploy old tech for emerging industries?Bucky Box</div> <div>@buckybox barcode scanners, cheap gsm cell phones for remote data capture… all useful old tech which can be used.Sustaination</div> <div>@Sustaination True, simple smart phones & tablets will have a big role in the emerging decentralised food system. Time to make it happen.Bucky Box</div> <div>Study on shifting 25% of food to Local systems can be found here (PDF): http://trib.al/eoufudBucky Box</div> <div>Great stuff @NGFN, TY for the webinar, really interesting & helpful! Report to follow here: http://trib.al/T2EFXN #ngfnwebinarBucky Box</div> <div>Ditto! RT @buckybox: Great stuff @NGFN, TY for the webinar, really interesting! Report to follow here: http://s.coop/aorx #ngfnwebinarSustaination</div> <div>Check out more of National Good Food Network & Wallace Centre’s work here:<br></div> <div>Welcome — Wallace CenterWelcome to Wallace Center</div> <div>Welcome to your National Good Food Network — National Good Food NetworkThe National Good Food Network is bringing together people from all parts of the rapidly emerging good food system – producers, buyers, d…</div> <div>Check out more of Michael Shuman’s work here:<br></div> <div>Cutting Edge Capital – Creative Capital Raising for Your Business » About UsJenny has over fifteen years of experience as an attorney for and creator of social enterprises. She has raised funds for and launched a …</div> <div>THE BUSINESS ALLIANCE FOR LOCAL LIVING ECONOMIES | BALLE – Business Alliance for Local Living EconomiesDansko Stepping up its U.S. Footprint (posted on Mar 15 2012) Philadelphia Inquirer The Dansko shoe company strives to manufacture their …</div> <div>Local Dollars, Local Sense by Michael H. Shuman – Chelsea GreenLocal Dollars, Local Sense by Michael Shuman probes the future of investing — making the case for investors to put their money into buil…</div> <div>Local Dollars, Local Sense: How to Shift Your Money from Wall Street to Main Street – Michael Shumanargusfest</div>

Disasters, Reflections & Resilience

Reflecting back on 2011, you don’t get very far without thinking of the various disasters that seem to have been hitting us in waves this year.

Image courtesy of CPL Janine Fabre (http://bit.ly/rKXKnf)

Whether it was the devastation wrought by the ‘biblical’ floods in Australia, the horrific earthquakes in Aotearoa/New Zealand, Turkey & Japan, the nuclear disaster that resulted, the ferocious storms which rolled into the US, volcano ash disrupting world travel, famines threatening the lives of hundreds of thousands, epic floods in Asia, or the man made disasters like the Rena Oil Spill.  It’s been a year with a lot of hurt around the world.

Even look just here in NZ, things seem to have been somewhat topsy turvy – the fall out from the Christchurch Earthquake is still ongoing (including a total rebuild of the central business district which is the heart of the city), there are still volunteers on the beaches cleaning up the oil spill, and we’re still wondering how there was snow falling in central Wellington.

One thing we’ve learned is that all of these events seem to affect our food system.  When the snow fell, we found the shelves were bare.  When the earthquake hit, we found supermarkets took weeks to get back up & running.  When the floods hit QLD, we heard stories of people isolated with no food.

Image courtesy of hugovk http://bit.ly/uULdCa

What we learnt, is that our current food system is remarkably fragile.  We learnt that in an emergency, we can’t rely on supermarkets for our food as they have complicated supply chains. What we learnt is that people looked inward to their communities for help and support.

Disasters and times of extreme stress show us the true state of our resilience, and all over the world, we were found lacking.

The strongest calls we’ve had for our software, here in NZ, are from those who have seen and experienced these events first hand.  The calls have come from community groups have formed as the dust settles in Christchurch, they’ve come from entrepreneurs who managed to get food direct from farms to customers when the snow blocked roads, and they’ve come from people involved in the transition movement who see our food system is built on a fuel source which will soon run out.

So, would you like some specifics?

Queensland Floods, Australia – food chains were trucking food around the country to aggregate supply and demand, but massively failed the population whilst leaving people hungry, pushing up food costs and polluting the atmosphere.  Part of this was due to agreements with big farms who are willing to engage in monocropping & mass production, whilst the smaller farms in the region are forced to sell direct to customers.  Thankfully, the awesome Food Connect were on hand, to source food from the local farmers, pay them a fair rate, package the food up, and get it out to their customers. Despite the ‘biblical’ floods. Hear Rob Pekin from Food Connect talking about their flood experience here.

Photo courtesy of Cliff Hanger http://bit.ly/ve5wx0

In New Zealand, when we had our intense snowfalls, farmers had smaller harvests which supermarkets & wholesalers wouldn’t take as they didn’t meet the ‘bulk purchase’ orders.  So whilst we were starved of greens in Wellington’s bigger supermarkets, one crafty team at Organic Boxes were able to take those smaller yields, and deliver them to the population through their vege box scheme.  I even heard of one of their ‘delivery drivers’ paddling boxes to people’s doors… report unconfirmed, but awesome if it’s true!  Needless to say their customers were delighted & thankful…

Photo courtesy of geoftheref http://bit.ly/syzqdb

When the earthquake hit Christchurch, people knew things weren’t going to be normal for quite some time, however frustration grew as the food distributors struggled to maintain regular service from their disparate supply chains from around the country.  In fact there were reports of food rotting in fields as food was being trucked in from around the country. Some of NZ’s largest food distributors did come to the rescue, and we credit them for that, but it highlighted just how disconnected we have become from where our food comes from, and how local food systems should work.  Several community groups have sprung up in the aftermath to tackle food resiliency in their areas as they now see that it is their own communities that will provide the answers in the aftermath of any future shocks.

So what do we see as the problems here?

  • We are not connected closely to local growers
  • As a farm, if you’re not big, you’re not wanted (by large supermarkets)
  • The food system is currently reliant on oil
  • When economics is all that drives your business, you wont necessarily go the extra yard if it doesn’t make you short term gains

Interestingly OpenIDEO recently ran a challenge with the Queensland Government around the need for local food resiliency, and there were plenty of ideas that flowed out of it.  So many in fact, that the Queensland Government were overwhelmed by the volume & complexity of the solutions.  They’re still working on a couple of the solutions, but there is plenty of inspiration there for people around the world to keep working on these issues.  I would also suggest you take a look at Food+Tech Connect which has a special interest in the intersection of Food and Technology, and how it can fuel a better food system.

Some solutions:

  • We all need a regional food economy with a variety of local food distribution enterprises which support local growers, and link them to local consumers, without the need for massive profits & power imbalances in between..
  • Be a concious consumer – think about what you buy, and where it comes from. Food is not a commodity so much as a deeply personal resource which we buy with alarming regularity. Make a choice which supports other people in the community around you.
  • Decouple ourselves from oil-based food systems, and return to mainstream organic farming. And yes, Organic Farming can feed the world, despite what the oil companies tell us.
  • Grow at home! Start with herbs, perhaps branch out to tomatoes in pots, or even a raised bed. Here’s some great tips on growing at home & sustainable living.

Do you want to know more about local food? Here’s our jargon buster if you’re keen to learn more!

Awesome pic courtesy of gregw http://bit.ly/vpjUEn

Vegetable Box Schemes, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), Food Hubs & Farmers Markets… cutting through the Local Food jargon

When you spend your time with local foodies, work on the local food movement, or simply live and breathe the community food systems, you inevitably end up talking the lingo.

A self-sustaining local food initiative in Paraguay

Check out communityfoodenterprise.org

We realised that a lot of people have never actually come across the local food movement, and as such have no idea what some of these terms actually mean, so we decided to give you a bit of a glossary of local food, to explain some of the food movement’s jargon.

 

So far we’ve come across a few different types of local food enterprises, and generally they’re very much characterised by passionate individuals or communities which extol the virtues of local-ness.

 

Why? Well, to those who think a lot about this stuff, local food means a few things:

  • Local – our current food system is highly energy intensive as we move our food around large distances to meet ‘any food, any time’ expectations that supermarkets have built up. If we re-connect out food producers & consumers, then we drastically reduce the costs, environmental impacts, and energy use of our food system.  We also support our local farmers, our local economies, and really – everyone that should win, wins…
  • Fresh – the less far the food has to travel, the less need for keeping things fresh artificially, post-harvest ripening, or expensive & energy hungry cold storage. Several studies show that as soon as food is harvested, nutrients decrease – so the further the fork is from the farm, the less goodness you get from your food.
  • Natural / Good – a lot, but not all, local food enterprises are very focused on Organic food production. That means no oil-based chemical fertilisers which destroy the soil, it means no chemicals sprayed onto your food to kill insects, and of course, it therefore means no chance of those nasty chemicals entering your body because of the food you eat and lingering around doing damage to you & your family. A lot of the smaller scale farming (by which we mean those who don’t see the need for miles on miles of mono-cropping) use sustainable/regenerative farming methods – ones which ensure the soil has nutrients for years to come, rather than stripping them of their health and relying on artificial, chemical fertilisers to grow things.
  • Fair – the burgeoning Community Supported Agriculture (more about that term later) model was founded on the basis of giving the farmers a fair go. That could be guaranteeing demand (buying a ‘share’ in the year’s harvest, whatever that may be), helping out around the farm, or even paying up front so the farm doesn’t carry all the risk.
  • Direct – if you know your farmer, and they know you, do you really have the need for a supermarket? Do you really agree with the incredible profits which supermarkets are making, year on year, whilst farmers are being squeezed, and us consumers are paying higher prices too? Many people have decided to go direct, get a better deal, and support their local farmer too.
  • Community – some, not all, enterprises are based very much in their communities. Whether it’s your friendly vege box delivery scheme dropping boxes at your door with personalised recipes, community supported agriculture schemes with their skills workshops, or food hubs which seek to connect the cities a little closer to the farms which produce their food, many of them seek to bring us that little step closer to where our food comes from, how it’s grown, who grew it and why it’s important to know that.

 

So, lets have a little look at these mysterious Local Food enterprises then.

 

Vegetable Box Delivery schemes

Fresh seasonal produce deliveryHave you ever had vegetables delivered to your door? Not by a supermarket, at supermarket rates, but by someone who’s gone to the trouble to get together a box of tasty seasonal vegetables, and deliver them to you direct. They come in many forms – the ‘mystery box’, the ‘à la carte’, and ‘the hybrid’;

  • Mystery – whatever the ‘in season produce’ is, perhaps taking into account your likes & dislikes, delivered to your door – pure & simple.
  • à la carte – you get the choice of what’s in your box a bit like an online grocery store; choose from whatever seasonal produce is available that week – if you really dislike several vegetables, then this might be your best bet.
  • Hybrid – some people do a bit of a mix of the two – the majority of the box is pre-defined like a Mystery box, but you can add extra items such as organic lamb, whole milk, and fair trade coffee. The best of both worlds? Beats going to the supermarket if you ask me!

 

One of the fundamental ideas about Vege Box Schemes, is that they make life easy. You get a beautiful box of vegetable delivered to your door, without stepping foot in the bright lights of the supermarket – you can support organics / local food, without making any real changes to your life, other than buying the bulk of your weekly food (presuming you eat fruit & vegetables….) direct from a local scheme.

 

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)

Beetroot, Carrots, Onions, Heirloom varieties at Farmers Market

Image borrowed from Crossing Borders (check out their CSA story): http://bit.ly/9WYkbt

In a nutshell, Community Supported Agriculture is about the community supporting farmers by paying for the season in advance to take the financial risk away from the farmer and help them budget. Here’s a blog from ‘Vegetables for Breakfast’ about the positives of joining a CSA.  But, every community seems to establish their CSA differently, but here some of the basic premises of the CSA model:

  • Pledge – the commitment by individuals / families to buy a share in the harvest of one or more farmers. This can have a couple of benefits; the farmer is guaranteed that they will have a buyer for their food, and the farmer knows their full-season budget so can plan accordingly. This cuts down on a lot of the ‘waste’ of the food system – no need for marketing, storage, loan repayments, reduced cost of delivery, etc!
  • Risk & Reward sharing – chew on this question – why is it ok for us to load all of the risk of a bad harvest onto the farmer? That’s a central thing the CSA model aims to address – by sharing the risks of the harvest failing, the community engaged with the farmer also stand the chance of sharing the bounty if the harvest is unexpectedly good – for no extra cost.
  • Community Involvement – many farmers yearn to have their customers understand some of their dilemmas. This system often gets the community directly involved in the farm – helping plant, harvest & maintain the crops. The community often learn skills, socialise, and enjoy the connection to environment whilst there. By having the community involved, they can also have an impact on the production methods used – hence why so many CSA’s support farms growing organics, biodynamics & even some using permaculture principles or biological agriculture principles. Often the community is also involved in the distribution – either dividing up the weekly shares and delivering to friends, or all swinging by a central location to pick up their own lot.

 

Community Supported Fisheries (CSF)

Flickr.com/thelexicon

Based on the same model as the above CSA’s, comes the Community Supported Fishery. The morals & ethics stay the same – support the food ‘producer’ and get food direct to the people.

 

CSF’s are springing up in North America, you can see some examples here:

 

Restaurant Supported Agriculture (RSA)

Here’s a new term for you, or perhaps not. But we’ve been reflecting on big buyers of food – be they cafe’s, restaurants, or even larger institutions like catering companies & food supply contractors.  If these enterprises jumped on board too, we would increase the demand for small scale agriculture massively.  Take the essentials of Community Supported Agriculture (pledge to buy harvest and risk & reward sharing) and apply it to restaurants supporting farmers – we’re in no doubt it’s already happening, but a movement could form pretty quickly around this idea.  Coalitions of willing cafes & restaurants engaging farmers for people & planet friendly food production – what a beautiful vision!

 

Food Hubs

See how local food hubs can nurture regional food systems

Check out the awesome localfoodhub.org!

Here’s on of the models we’re really enjoying watching emerging. Food Hubs.

 

A visual description of local food hubs & regional food enterprisesFood Hubs can take several forms, but they often embody the values of both CSA and Vegetable Box Schemes. Food Hubs such as Food Connect & CERES Fair Food in Australia, are modelling what a community based, fair, healthy, local, direct, sustainable food distribution service can be.

Food Hubs take the values of CSA’s – fair prices for farmers, guarantee them customers, support people & planet friendly food production methods (organic/near organic). They take the values of Vege Box schemes – easy, delivered to your door, accessible to city folk. Food Hubs mash the models together, enabling local food enterprises to take your support for planet & people friendly food to a whole new ethical & sustainable level.

 

We see Food Hubs as a key part in the puzzle when it comes to both urban and rural food distribution, whereby people can have as much or as little involvement in the farming side of things, and still get great quality produce at an affordable price.

 

Often food hubs see a key part of their job as educating their customers a little about where their food comes from – whether it’s flyers with info about the farms, stickers, or even full QR code food traceability.

 

You can find out more about Food Hubs at the National Good Food Network : Food Hub Center.

 

Farmers Markets

Farmers Markets are a rich part of the local food movement

Check out Farmers Markets NZ

When the farmers come to town, that’s when the magic happens! Farmers Markets are a delightful variety of colours, smells, tastes & textures where you can meet the farmers who produced the goods. Often the stall holders are the producers themselves – make sure you check out your local market!

 

So with all these choices, the question really only remains, which one works for you?

 

But then, there’s one more option beginning to emerge. It’s the Food Portal – a web service which connects farmers with consumers via the interwebs. Sadly these services seem to do little to bring farms & consumers closer together at the moment, but we’ll see how these develop – there’s definitely some things they could do to ensure people are still connected to their food, who produces it, how & why they use that process.

 

Food Portals

There’s various organisations popping up online & on mobile technology to take up the opportunity that new technology is enabling.  These organisations are providing mapping, connections & other resources which make local food possible, and are creating online marketplaces  where people can buy their food.  These organisations like Local Harvest, Sustaination, Real Time Farms, Locavore, and Local Harvest Australia are creating new markets for small scale farmers & urban agriculturists – exciting times.

 

All in all, there’s a remarkable amount of choice out there to get you moving towards people & planet friendly food.

There’s also some great organisations out there who are doing wonders in terms of education, advocacy & research into the local food movement. We decided early on, that we’re going to support these people – we love their work, and want to support it – though sometimes they don’t have a sustainable business model. So here’s where our Local Food Champions fund comes in : divert a percentage of our proceeds to these organisations to support their invaluable work – we call it closing the loop. Every little helps right?

Here’s our current partners:

Food Connect Foundation
Permaculture Research Institute
The Dirt Doctor
Soil & Health Association

 

So get out there, and enjoy your food & enjoy it local!

Find local food on your mobile

Check out LoveFre.sh – local food on your mobile!

Website & Social Media kicks off

 

Here at Bucky Box, we’re really excited about what’s brewing.

 

Whilst Bucky Box is a process of evolution – you can read about the beginnings here – it’s starting to gather momentum.

 

If you’re new to the blog, here’s what we’re about:

Bucky Box is creating the tools for a better food system.

A better food system is one which is centred on benefiting people & planet, rather than simply economics.  Our vision is a system which is resilient, nourishing, and one where we’re able to rejoice in the pleasures of food once more.

Bucky Box is building beautifully designed, intuitive, easy to use, yet powerful web-based software to reconnect local food systems.

This web-based software is operating as a service, and it supports vege box schemes through automating subscriptions, billing & delivery logistics to make it easy to run, enjoyable, and make caring for your customers fun again.

 

Why vege box schemes? Well you can read our blog about them here, but we believe they have the potential to reconnect farmers to growers, and reduce the power of the middleman which often forces the environmental & social costs to growers and consumers, and controls the farming process.

 

We see our role as the enablers & facilitators of social good outcomes – we’re a product of the Enspiral collective and proud of it.  Enspiral understands the need for Business 2.0 (business which recognises social & environmental impacts – positive & negative) so we’re running Bucky Box as a social enterprise, and our main way of gauging success is the level of social & environmental impact we’re having.

 

So we’re searching for the best Local Food Champions to partner with and give back to, so if you have any ideas – let us know!

Bucky Box Website Screenshot
Last week we launched our new website, where you can see more about the app & the team behind it.

 

We’re also hooked into Twitter & Facebook if you want to follow our progress or find out more. That’s where the conversation happens, so we’d love to hear from you – we’re here to help.

 

If you’re interested in using the service – get in touch at beta@buckybox.com or sign up to the newsletter here.