Announcing The Local Food Startup Challenge

We’re launching a challenge to get Local Food Distributors started & successful around the world.

The Local Food Startup Challenge

After months of chatting with Distributors around the world who were getting started, we kept hearing that it was hard getting through the startup phase. Not only did new businesses need the IT infrastructure to help them scale up, but they needed the capital to get started, profile to let their local community know they exist, small business support, and any hints & tips from other people’s experiences to give them the jump start they needed.

 

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Local Food Startup Challenge Banner Header

 

We decided to launch a Challenge to bring these elements together, to give you the reason to get started or help you get through that difficult first year. Our challenge is open to new local food distributors, and those under one year old.

 

Enter The Local Food Startup Challenge and you will straight away get $1000 of Bucky Box credit and a package of support. Build your business over 3 months and you will be in to win the main prize!  <– Click to Tweet This

 

Take a look at The Local Food Startup Challenge website now for more information, and get started building a sustainable business today!

Local Food Startup Challenge website

Know someone who’s been meaning to start a business for awhile?
Send them the link to the challenge (http://bit.ly/FoodStartupChallenge), or drop us a note (sam@buckybox.com) and we’ll get in touch!

 

Press Release:

$500k Global Fund Announced for Local Food Businesses

See the full Local Food Startup Fund press release here. <- Tweet this Story

 

Apply to become a Challenge Partner now

Thanks to interest from various quarters, we’re opening the door to additional partners who’re looking to support Local Food Distributors in their local area. Simply fill in this form, and we’ll be in touch. <- Tweet about Challenge Partners

 

‘Fuelling the Foodbox’ : Unlimited Magazine feature the Local Food Startup Challenge

unlimited_magazine_NZ_Local Food Startup Challenge

 

Whilst we’ve not even full announced our coming challenge ourselves yet, we decided to give a little of the inside scoop to our friends at Unlimited Magazine.

 

We’re excited to soon announce the challenge fully, which will give you the opportunity to build that Local Food business that you’ve always wanted to get started, or add a little dose of rocket fuel to your business if you’re under a year old still.

 

We’re stoked to be able to support the grass roots local food movement with an exciting bunch of partners behind us. The site will be live at http://challenge.buckybox.com soon – but if you’re super keen to be on the inside track, you can sign up for more information there now.

 

You can read the full Unlimited Magazine scoop of the Local Food Startup Challenge here.

Food, The City & Innovation

 

Local Food - Conference on Food, The City and Innovation

 

 

Here at Bucky Box, we’re always on the look out to bring you some ripe pickings of interesting events, guides, resources, and ideas.

 

Yesterday we spotted this awesome conference which is happening in Austin TX on 1 & 2 February (that’s only a week away!).  It focuses on “Food, The City and Innovation“, and it’s hosted by The Food Lab.  You can expect all kinds of interesting discussions, ideas and developments to unfold from it, as it’s a cross-sectoral approach to changing the food system – featuring engineers, designers, developers, scientists & architects, among others.

 

 

Conference Poster - Local Food, The City and Innovation - Partner

 

 

Explore some of the big questions facing us in 21st century, with a team of multidisciplinary folks.  For those of us who can’t be there, you can follow along on Twitter at #FCICON on 1 and 2 February – you can also follow us to get some of the choice retweets of interesting conference tips & outcomes:

 

Bucky Box has become a Partner for the conference – along with the awesome Edible Austin and Capital Factory!  We believe entrepreneurs and startups are going to change the food system this century, so we’re proud to be contributing to the soil out of which new food startups can grow!

Trends for 2013 for the Local Food Movement

Bucky Box brings you top 5 tips for trends in Local Food in 2013

Where are the big trends of 2012 going to lead the local food movement in 2013?

 

TWEET THESE TRENDS

 

It takes a lot of research and conversations to fine tune software for the local food movement, so we’ve spent much of the past year doing just that – in the course of our endeavours we have probably spoken with over 300 food distributors, a plethora of small farmers, a large number of business people & academics looking at food systems, and read one or two articles about where the food movement has come from and is headed. So here’s our thoughts on the spaces to watch in 2013.

 

Big Data 

The rise of the internet, smartphones, tablets, and affordable technology around the world has meant that we are producing more data on our lives and all the elements which make up our society, culture and environment than ever before. In fact 90% of the world’s data was created in the last 2 years. [tweet this]

 

What does this mean? With much richer background data, analysis could reap some huge rewards in terms of insights for the local food movement.

 

Generating data on food purchases, prices, food source, distance travelled, and consumer purchasing decisions, among other things, could yield some interesting insights. What would you want to know?

 

Platforms like Sustaination, Real Time Farms, and Local Harvest are all taking advantage of the ability to quickly and easily map food enterprises – imagine if they were also then capturing what was happening at those enterprises, and opening the data for other people to work with. Thanks to innovative Kiwi company Conscious Consumers, we may soon have rich consumer purchase data thanks to a mobile app they’re soon to release. There’s also data being collected increasingly by organisations such as Grameen Bank on agriculture & food projects they’re involved in which are building the picture of the food system in developing nations.

 

Transparency & Traceability

There’s rising distaste amongst consumers for the industrial food menu. Whilst fats, sugars & salts have become the staple fare on our supermarket shelves over the last 30 years, so we have seen corresponding rises in the level of health problems around the world.

 

Consumers are increasingly aware that we cannot trust big corporates to have our best interests at heart (instead of just having an eye on the rising profits), and are taking matters into our own hands as technology begins to answer the challenge by raising the levels of transparency & traceability of our food – a trend which is also highlighted by Forbes. Traceability is also explained here in ICT in Agriculture.

 

Whatever your interests or ethics, most people at least want the choice to know what’s in their food and where it’s from [tweet this] (unless you’re part of the 51.5% of voters in California who voted ‘No’ to Prop 37 – amazing what $45m in TV advertising can do for big food!).  Traceability and transparency can deliver that information about where our food is from, how far it has travelled, how it is grown, produced & reared, and make sense of nutritional statistics to show us what the likely impact on our long term health would be should we eat it regularly – after all, a label which simply reads “Fresh” isn’t much help to anyone.

 

Mobile devices are bringing information to the fingertips at the point of purchase, so despite big corporate interests in our food system opting out of voluntary food labelling, there will be increasing demand from consumers for the information and everyone from tech companies to real food advocates to ensure people at least have the basic information to make informed decisions. As a food producer or farmer, this is an excellent opportunity to use the rise of awareness of consumers to keep food simple, clean, wholesome & nutritious and tell this story about your food to show the difference between yours and the processed, heavily treated/preserved food on the shelves of many supermarkets – it’s a recognised trend in the hospitality industry too.

 

Collaboration

Collaboration is the new black.

 

As pressures on our food system rise, we will be forced to do more with less. We face unprecedented challenges which require innovative, connected solutions, whether it’s the need for a shift to low energy agriculture, our rising global population, a health burden of rising obesity, hunger, malnutrition, wild weather events due to climate change, a global food waste scandal, the disappearance of the small farm, a missing generation of young farmers coming through, or losing the quality of our soils, our water & our air.

 

Whilst the trend for household spending on food is decreasing across developed nations, there is a rising willingness in hundreds of thousands of people to create a better food system by bringing traditionally divergent actors in our food system together to work more closely.

 

Traditionally software developers, graphic designers and farmers haven’t had a huge amount to do with one another, but now with projects such as Food+Tech Connect’s “Hack Meat” project, or Forum for the Future’s Wired4Food series they’re increasingly getting together in cross-sectoral collaborations and ‘hackathons’ to address issues which only multi-lens approaches and skill sets can solve. This is a symptom of wider collaborative approaches by private, public and community sector organisations around the world, to tackle big challenges with fresh thinking such as Kiva’s efforts to take an holistic approach to aid, development and agriculture.

 

Designing for the 90%

The rise of social enterprise (that is: mission-driven businesses focused on social & environmental challenges) around the world shows the growing appetite to make meaningful change to the lives of all, not just improve the lives of the 10% of the world which controls 93% of the wealth [tweet this].

 

With quotes like “inequality anywhere is a threat to equality everywhere” ringing in our ears, individuals, social enterprises and even some progressive corporates are throwing off the shackles of thinking philanthropy-alone-will-save-the-world and embracing market-based solutions to create genuine long lasting & sustainable change. Projects such as South Africa’s Foodpods deliver entrepreneurship & small business training, as well as quality small-scale agriculture infrastructure for its franchisee’s. Or, take d.light’s solar lamps which were designed for the developing nations to improve health, education & provide the opportunity for additional income-generating opportunities in the extended hours of light in Atauro.

 

Design for the 90% is an exciting trend to the team at Bucky Box, as we view ourselves as part of the movement which is aiming to make our product affordable to developing nations through innovative GDP-adjusted pricing, as well as focusing the redistribution of 67% of our profits back into improving global food systems [tweet this].

 

Distribution

Most of the last 50 years have been spent improving yields and efficiencies in food production; despite some advancements we still have many challenges – increasing numbers of people hungry (1 billion), a drastic rise in obesity, food price hikes, a population disconnected from their food, and huge flow-on effects into our societies.

 

Recently, speaking with the Centre for Sustainable Agriculture, we came to the conclusion that the global discussion about ‘Food Utopia’ will rapidly shift focus from Supply to Distribution [tweet this], and we believe the time is nigh in 2013.

 

The ideas that have been promulgated for the last 50 years by industrial food companies have led us to a fundamentally unsustainable food system where our reliance on oil means that we are putting 10 calories into our food system for every 1 calorie we get out. We’re losing the health of our soils due to chemical farming techniques, and whilst we’re growing enough food to feed 10 billion, we’re wasting 30% of it – something has to change soon.

 

 

2013 may herald the shift in focus from supply to distribution, and from centralised control of our food system, to decentralised food distribution through an advancement in technology, cultural education and willingness, and a rising awareness of the pressing environmental need to change the way we grow, distribute, consume & dispose of our food.

 

We see a more complex, yet more efficient future of food distribution, with a host of smaller distributors operating a variety of models – be they vege box schemes, community supported agriculture, corporate wellness programs, game-driven health schemes, or whatever other weird & wonderful ideas entrepreneurs put forth. Driven by new & improved enterprise-grade software to rival that of the industrial agriculture system – these entrepreneurial distributors will change the balance of power in our food system and ultimately, create a better food system for everyone.

 

We can see it coming, and we look forward to 2013 because of it.

 

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing
and rightdoing there is a field.
I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass
the world is too full to talk about.
– Rumi

 

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 & Stuff.co.nz 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.