Powering Local Food

Bucky Box - powering local food

The Bucky Box team are committed to using our energy on the most important challenge of our lifetimes.

 

 

There’s no shortage of projects, initiatives and causes where you could focus your energy these days – everywhere you look there’s industrial age systems and institutions which are crumbling.

 

In the 20th century we saw a huge focus on food production as a key to food utopia for all. With a growing population (4.4 billion to 6.1 billion between 1980-2000), some would say that was rather wise. Whilst we’ve boomed to 7 billion people and are forecast to hit 9-10 billion by 2020, we have to ask – at what cost has that focus on production had?

 

The existing food distribution infrastructure is incompatible with what we now know about the ecological and societal limits of agriculture – it’s time to roll up our sleeves and do something about it – that’s why we’re committed to powering the future of food.

 

We see food distribution as an acupuncture point in the food system – use the needle correctly and it can release a build up of pressure. Bucky Box is that needle – it’s a tool for entrepreneurs, community activators, and ethical businesses who are creating a better food system through local food enterprise.

 

We see building software for local food distributors to crush the admin burden as incredibly important – with only a small amount of talking to people running direct-to-customer delivery businesses, you’ll soon start hearing horror stories about hacked together IT systems and death-by-spreadsheet. Taking a hammer to this glass ceiling for local food enterprise is our aim.

 

Bucky Box - Powering Local Food

 

How does Bucky Box help with all this?

 

Sell Your Food

Customise and launch your online store in minutes and never drop a sale. An online store that syncs directly with your admin dashboard so you don’t have to manually pull in all those pesky email order notifications from your shopping cart. Our online store is designed from the ground-up for food businesses to engage their customers.

Bucky Box - Online Store Shopping Cart - Local Food Software

 

Manage Customers

Take the pain out of customer management with our admin console. Get a customer snapshot any time with profiles, account balances and order statuses. Nurture loyal customers with newsletters and direct email straight from your database. Be open 24/7 – customers can manage their own orders online, whatever time of the day.

Bucky Box - Easy Customer Contact and Management for Vege Box Schemes CSA and Local Food enterprises

 

Fulfill Orders

Instantly know what needs to go where, and when. Take the heavy lifting out of packing day admin with one click reports. A drag & drop interface makes delivery route planning easy.

Packing and Delivery reporting for Local Food delivery businesses

 

Easy Payments
Save time and stop trying to manually match accounts with our bulk payment reconciliation of bank transactions, cash & cheques. Ensure account balances are up to date, and your customers are happy.

Bulk Payment Reconciliation for Food Delivery Businesses

 

Interested to hear more and get to work?

[button link=”http://www.buckybox.com” target=”_blank” color=”green” shape=”rounded” size=”large” align=”center”]Sign up for a demo[/button]

 

 

Last Chance: Webinar on Crowdfunding for Local Food enterprise

Want to know how you can get the seedfunding together to start or scale your Local Food enterprise?

Crowdfunding for Local Food - PledgeMe + Bucky Box
Look no further! This is the last in our series of Crowdfunding webinars with a special focus on Local Food, and will be delivered by the enigmatic Anna Guenther from PledgeMe.

 

 

This webinar is optimised for the NZ time zone, and will be happening on Wednesday 5 June, at 6pm. You can tune in through our Google+ Page here.

 

[button link=”https://plus.google.com/b/113233439306730641133/events/c3qun50g5hqimd0gt8eki382oc0″ target=”_blank” color=”green” shape=”rounded” size=”large” align=”centre”]Register for Webinar here[/button]

 

It’s pretty simple to log into the webinar, you just need to make sure you have the plugin – check or download it here.

 

 

Please RSVP here:

 

Fill out my online form.

//

 

 

Expected take aways from this webinar:

  • Learn about how crowdfunding can gain you seed capital to fund the set up of your enterprise
  • Find out how & why crowdfunding is a great way of finding your early champions in your community
  • Get some insight into how crowdfunding can get you known in your area much quicker than traditional advertising

 

We look forward to seeing you online soon!

Ask Bucky Box…

Webinar Series - Software for Local Food

Hi folks,

 

We know that you may have heard about how software can help your local food enterprise, but you’re still likely to have some questions / doubts / ideas about what it can do for your local food service.

 

We’re putting together a webinar series to field some of those questions – they’ll be a series of small group webinars to maximise the amount of questions and feedback you’re able to get – likely 5 or 6 people on the call at a time. We’re grouping them into three distinct batches:

 

  • “Convince Me” – people / enterprises who are interested but have too many questions to spend the time learning a new system. You probably want to see the solution and ask questions before diving in.
  • “Lets Roll” – people / enterprises who have signed up for Bucky Box, but need a few questions answered to help them get set up. Whether it’s the language used, or how bits interact, you just need a little help to get started.
  • “Leadership Material” – people / enterprises who are getting into the stride of things with Bucky Box, but would like some hints and tips to get the most out of things. You don’t know, what you don’t know, right?

 

So, to that end, please drop us your details here – we’ll be in touch soon!

 

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.

 

-> Tweet this Story <-

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

 

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!

Tips for Local Food #4 : Leveraging Free & Low Cost Tools

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 ‘Leveraging Free & Low Cost Tools. You can also read our guide to Social technology, Funding, or Giants!

More Tips for Local Food from Bucky Box - Leveraging Free & low Cost Tools

 

Have you ever tried to run a local food business armed only with a telephone, Microsoft Excel and email?

 

Many people around the world are still forging on down this path, but there’s a revolution happening around the internet which can make things easier, create more time to do the things that matter, and free you up from painful admin.

 

Core components of local food distribution mainly involve Ordering, Customer Accounts, Communications, Packing & Delivery Logistics, and Payment Reconciliation, so lets take a look at what’s out there that can help you do these things, better.

 

Ordering

It’s time to take your customer’s orders for the week! How do they make orders at the moment? Phone? Email? Facebook?

 

Well a shopping cart can be a good way to handle online ecommerce transactions, and there’s heaps of options. Of course, generally you will need to already have a website (which you could build through services like WordPress [free]), which you can then use a plugin for – just search WordPress Ecommerce, and you’ll find many options!  Or you can use a specialised ecommerce service like Shopify (paid service), which provides themes and payment options.  Most of these options will cost either a) ongoing hosting fee, b) upfront cost, or c) % on every transaction and/or monthly service fee.

 

You’d generally be able to expect an email when orders are made, or a spreadsheet of orders at the end of the day.  Some of these options are quite flexible to create a catalogue of products so for example, you may offer a Standard Vege Box, plus a list of extras – you should be able to do this, but most of the shopping carts are created for a ‘stock list’ of say 20 or 30 products which do not change regularly.

 

Customer Accounts

Managing your database of customers needs to be carefully done to ensure you don’t drop the ball!  Some people will be regular customers, some will be ‘inactive customers’, and some will be ‘potential customers’ who have expressed interest but not ordered yet.  You’ll likely have different tasks for each of these, so you’ll likely need a to-do list of actions too.

 

You might run a spreadsheet with all these names, contact details & orders against these people, but as we all know – spreadsheets can be fickle beasts – prone to human error (ever written over a cell and found a moment later that the Undo button wont work!?).

 

A customer relationship database might be another way to deal with this.  There’s some great tools like OnePageCRM (paid service) which are created as lite-Sales tools which could be adapted to house all those relationships and schedule reminders & follow ups, or there are a number of free options in the Mac App Store, or Google Chrome Marketplace.

 

You might also like a to-do list app which synchs across all your devices so you can keep track of things – take a look at Wunderlist (free), Trello (free) or Todoist (free).  These are great if you’re not tied to the desk all day – whether you’re out on the farm, rushing around suppliers or markets, or simply on your day off & want to run a couple of chores.

 

Communication

Well if you’re not in communication with your customers, you’re likely to be out of business pretty quickly.  There’s a proliferation of tools in this space now – we wrote a little about some of them (and how to use them) in our Get Social : Using Social Media tools for Local Food guide.

 

We would heartily recommend you’re using a suite of communications including:

  • – Phone or VOIP services – such as Skype (free or low cost)
  • – Email – you can’t go past Google Mail (free or low cost)
  • – Support Desk – if you want a simple & powerful helpdesk & knowledgebase, check out Uservoice (free or low cost)
  • – Social Networks – Twitter (free) is a great service for business-to-customer communication, and channel for storytelling & reaching out to new customers. Also a Facebook Page (free) is a great way to connect less formally with your customers, tell your story and share pictures of your products, customers & suppliers.

You can also check out our blog about finding new customers & Marketing guides, as well as our roundup of existing support & resources for local food.

 

Packing & Delivery Logistics

This is where things sometimes start to get tricky. It’s one thing taking all the orders, it’s another thing making sure they get to the right place at the right time, on the right day.

 

Unfortunately there’s not a lot of tools in this space which haven’t been developed for courier companies or logistics firms shipping products around the country.  There are systems like Delivery Biz Pro (paid-service), which seem angled a bit more at home delivery services, and we expect some more to arrive with the rise of Ebay, Etsy and the likes, but mostly those goods head out in the regular post services.

 

Of course you can use Google Maps (free) as a way to pinpoint where your deliveries are headed, but it’s not highly adaptive to delivery runs with multiple drop offs.

 

Payment Reconciliation

Headaches at 11pm at night trying to match up bank accounts with customer accounts? Hastily scribbled notes on delivery sheets not making sense at the end of the month? This is one of the areas we’ve heard the most frustration about.

 

Yes, there’s 101 online accounting services – being proud Kiwi’s, we’d point you in the direction of Xero (paid service) – we use them in fact, they’re ace, and we reckon they’re streets ahead of the competitors like MYOB (paid service). That said, we don’t think they really cut it for local food distributors when it comes to matching up multiple payments, with multiple customer accounts, on a weekly basis.

 

Of course, there is another option.  Bucky Box has gathered all these insights from hundreds of conversations with local food distributors around the world – and we’ve built our tools for a better food system with them in mind.  Bucky Box helps you with Ordering, Customer Accounts, Communications, Packing & Delivery Logistics, and Payment Reconciliation, all in one turn key solution.  Check out our website to sign up for a trial.

 

Local Food Systems That Work : a National Good Food Network webinar

How can we accelerate learning and increase commerce in Local Food?

 

Check out our storify for a round up of the ‘Food Systems That Work’ webinar & full links to the recordings & slides, courtesy of the National Good Food Network:

 

 

[&lt;a href=”http://storify.com/buckybox/ngfn-webinar-food-systems-networks-that-work-accel” target=”_blank”&gt;View the story “NGFN Webinar Food Systems Networks That Work : Accelerating Learning &amp; Increased Commerce” on Storify&lt;/a&gt;]&lt;br /&gt; &lt;h1&gt;NGFN Webinar Food Systems Networks That Work : Accelerating Learning &amp;amp; Increased Commerce&lt;/h1&gt; &lt;h2&gt;Bringing together conveners of food system networks of many different sizes: very local (a section of a state), to statewide, regional and even national. Each of these networks has amplified and abetted the positive triple bottom line effects of its member businesses and organizations.&lt;/h2&gt; &lt;p&gt;Storified by Bucky Box &amp;middot; Sat, Sep 22 2012 23:47:37&lt;/p&gt; &lt;div&gt;Interesting webinar coming up from @NGFN : &amp;quot;Food Systems Networks that Work&amp;quot; http://eepurl.com/pxgEL #foodtechFood+Tech Connect &lt;/div&gt; &lt;div&gt;Don’t forget : Food Systems Networks That Work – Accelerating Learning and Increasing Commerce http://trib.al/TNQVe6 via @NGFN @BuckyEventsBucky Box&lt;/div&gt; &lt;div&gt;NGFN Webinars — National Good Food NetworkOur monthly NGFN interactive webinars give you the opportunity to learn and connect with on-the-ground practitioners and experts. Below…&lt;/div&gt; &lt;div&gt;Food Systems Networks that Work – the &amp;quot;how&amp;quot; and &amp;quot;why&amp;quot; of food systems networking NGFN Webinar TODAY! 3:30 ET, 12:30PT https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/853715690Natl Good Food Netwk&lt;/div&gt; &lt;div&gt;Buckybox&lt;/div&gt; &lt;div&gt;We’ll be tweeting live from our new Events-based Twitter feed today – @BuckyEvents!&lt;/div&gt; &lt;div&gt;We’re ready &amp;amp; waiting for the @ngfn Webinar ‘Food Systems That Work’ – hope to see you there! http://bit.ly/PYhBEE #NGFNwebinar #FoodSystemBucky Box&lt;/div&gt; &lt;div&gt;And we’re off! The @ngfn ‘Food Systems That Work’ webinar is up &amp;amp; running – Rich Pirog from @MichiganStateEU http://yfrog.com/hsy2bfpBucky Box Events&lt;/div&gt; &lt;div&gt;A big welcome to the&amp;nbsp;panelists for today:&lt;br&gt;&lt;b&gt;Rich Pirog&lt;/b&gt; (Sustainable Food Systems at Michigan State University),&amp;nbsp;&lt;b&gt;Corry Bregendahl&lt;/b&gt; (Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture),&amp;nbsp;&lt;b&gt;Marty Gerencer&lt;/b&gt; (Morse Communications) &amp;amp;&amp;nbsp;&lt;b&gt;Karen Lehman&lt;/b&gt; (Fresh Taste).&lt;/div&gt; &lt;div&gt;The very knowledgeable panel of the #NGFNwebinar today. Q&amp;amp;A yielding some interesting insights – thanks @ngfn! http://yfrog.com/hwxxgepBucky Box Events&lt;/div&gt; &lt;div&gt;&amp;quot;Value of Networks: Info &amp;amp; Knowledge Hubs, Catalysts for Cooperation, Leverage Funding, Cutting edge of Ideas &amp;amp; Innovation&amp;quot; #NGFNwebinarBucky Box Events&lt;/div&gt; &lt;div&gt;&amp;quot;What’s in your network?&amp;quot; – would you describe it as Cooperative, Coordinating or Collaborative? #NGFNwebinar http://yfrog.com/oduo5gpBucky Box Events&lt;/div&gt; &lt;div&gt;Great stories about Food &amp;amp; Fitness program in Iowa – Corry Bregendahl (Leopold Centre for Sustainable Ag) http://bit.ly/PEmH7d #NGFNwebinarBucky Box Events&lt;/div&gt; &lt;div&gt;Solid Social, Health, Economic &amp;amp; Environmental outcomes from the Food &amp;amp; Fitness Program in #Iowa – #winwin – #NGFNWebinarBucky Box Events&lt;/div&gt; &lt;div&gt;Great Lakes Food Hub Network began as a learning group; small parts, loosely joined http://bit.ly/PYtOcq #FoodHub #NGFNwebinarBucky Box Events&lt;/div&gt; &lt;div&gt;Check out more about #FoodHubs at @ngfn’s online centre: http://bit.ly/PYuy1m #NGFNwebinar #collaborationBucky Box Events&lt;/div&gt; &lt;div&gt;Food Hub Center – National Good Food NetworkA regional food hub is a business or organization that actively manages the aggregation, distribution, and marketing of source-identified…&lt;/div&gt; &lt;div&gt;Much of the discussion about Networks That Work relates well to our vision of Sustainable Food System http://bit.ly/PYvfrB #NGFNwebinarBucky Box Events&lt;/div&gt; &lt;div&gt;Sustainable Food Summit – Vision of a Future Food System | The Bucky Box BlogThis blog was republished in part on Food+Tech Connect as ‘How Technology will decentralise the global food system’ and Sustaination’s &amp;quot;3…&lt;/div&gt; &lt;div&gt;Great! Tackling Sustainability of Networks: Pork producers do % of sales to Network, is something similar poss for Fruit &amp;amp; Veg? #NGFNwebinarBucky Box Events&lt;/div&gt; &lt;div&gt;&amp;quot;You cannot legislate an ethic of sharing&amp;quot; – Great Lakes Food Hub began with trust &amp;amp; social capital, + some Vermont inspiration #NGFNwebinarBucky Box Events&lt;/div&gt; &lt;div&gt;GLFH also had inspiration from #Mondragon, Co-ops, &amp;amp; ‘Town that food saved’ http://bit.ly/PYxgUx #NGFNwebinar #collaboration #localfoodBucky Box Events&lt;/div&gt; &lt;div&gt;IntroductionIntroduction&lt;/div&gt; &lt;div&gt;Learning is central to the idea of network building. Karen Lehman suggests using #openspace to build commitment &amp;amp; co-creativity #NGFNwebinarBucky Box Events&lt;/div&gt; &lt;div&gt;Using #OpenSpace to run a collaborative meeting; links here: http://bit.ly/3Zu422 also check out emerging @CollabCafe #NGFNwebinarBucky Box Events&lt;/div&gt; &lt;div&gt;Open Space TechnologyOpen Space Technology In my experience open space is based on the belief that we humans are intelligent, creative, adaptive, meaning- and…&lt;/div&gt; &lt;div&gt;#NGFNwebinar : 2 different approaches to Communications &amp;amp; Network building: 1) Almost fully offline, 2) Using webinars &amp;amp; some socialBucky Box Events&lt;/div&gt; &lt;div&gt;We’ve got a #socialmedia for Local Food guide for you http://trib.al/KiyvYY #helpguideBucky Box&lt;/div&gt; &lt;div&gt;TY @ngfn for the #FoodSystems webinar – some nuggets of interest there, lets keep the conversation going online! Suggest a #? #NGFNwebinarBucky Box Events&lt;/div&gt; &lt;div&gt;#NGFNwebinar Lots of great info about food system networks that work!Bakari McC&lt;/div&gt; &lt;div&gt;&lt;b&gt;You can now find the fill slides, video &amp;amp; webinar details here:&lt;/b&gt;&lt;/div&gt; &lt;div&gt;Food Systems Networks That Work – Accelerating Learning and Increasing Commerce – National Good Food NetworkWe bring together conveners of food systems networks of many different sizes. Each has amplified and abetted the positive triple bottom l…&lt;/div&gt; &lt;div&gt;Food Systems Networks That Work – Accelerating Learning and Increasing Commerce – an NGFN webinarwallacecenter&lt;/div&gt; &lt;div&gt;Follow future events here:&lt;/div&gt; &lt;div&gt;NGFN Webinars — National Good Food NetworkOur monthly NGFN interactive webinars give you the opportunity to learn and connect with on-the-ground practitioners and experts. Below…&lt;/div&gt;