Podcast: The Startup Challenge, Vodafone World of Difference, and Creating a Better Food System in Christchurch

Image from Stuff Media: Iain McGregor (http://bit.ly/YIkwCm)

Image from Stuff Media: Iain McGregor (http://bit.ly/YIkwCm)

What’s the day-to-day life like for a Local Food entrepreneur?

 

We thought we’d get in touch with one of The Local Food Startup Challenge entrants to find out what they’re up to, what they’re working on, and how they’re creating a better food system.

 

Garden City 2.0 logo

We got Bailey Peryman from Garden City 2.0 on the line and asked him a few questions about his work in the recovering city of Ōtautahi/Christchurch where new shoots of food resilience are starting to blossom.

 

 

 

Listen to the full podcast here:

 

 

Bailey is currently a Vodafone World of Difference scholar working for Soil & Health Association, and here’s the links to some of the projects he’s working on this year:

 

Garden City 2.0 are backed by our Local Food Startup Challenge. If you’re keen to find out whether you can benefit from the $0.5m Global Startup Fund too, check out the website, and start building your business today – you’ve got till May 6th to sign up!

#FoodRevolution Day is upon us!

Bucky Box is supporting Food Revolution DayToday, thousands of people around the world are taking to the streets, to workplaces, to schools, and to the internet, to celebrate Food Revolution Day.

 

“Food Revolution Day on 19 May is a chance for people who love food to come together to share information, talents and resources; to pass on their knowledge and highlight the world’s food issues. All around the globe, people will work together to make a difference. Food Revolution Day is about connecting with your community through events at schools, restaurants, local businesses, dinner parties and farmers’ markets. We want to inspire change in people’s food habits and to promote the mission for better food and education for everyone.”

 

Food Revolution Day was kicked off by the effervescent Jamie Oliver, who has been working hard since his early days as a celebrity chef, to train his passions on creating a better relationship between individuals, communities and food. We have a lot of respect for Jamie’s work on social enterprise projects such as Fifteen, Ministry of Food, and Kitchen Garden Project.

 

We decided we wanted to get involved, to lend our voice and our creativity to the Food Revolution, to support the vision of a global population which is better educated about food.  We joined Google, Spotify, IDEO, & Twitter, in pledging our company’s part in the food revolution – after all, we’re all about creating the tools for a better food system.

Bucky Box has pledged to be part of the Food Revolution - this year we'll be capturing the Farmer's Market through the lens.This year, we’ve committed to supporting better food in the workplace, and more food education for individuals in our networks.  We’re also wanting to train our creative talents on 19th May, on capturing the buzz in the local food movement.  We’re going to be out and about in Wellington, New Zealand, grabbing some of the excitement, colours, textures & delicious looking food at the Hill Street Farmers Market.

 

The only question left really, is ‘What are you going to be doing for Food Revolution Day?’.

How could you argue with a man this passionate about a better food system?

 

You can follow our day’s adventures on Facebook & Twitter – and we’ve fired up a Storify too to celebrate the #FoodRevolution internet action.

Locally sourced ingredients make up the topping for a #FoodRevolution Day celebration

Our photos of #FoodRevolution Day are up on Facebook here now.

 

Or, follow the Storify here, as it evolves:

[View the story “#FoodRevolution Day through the eyes of Bucky Box” on Storify]

#FoodRevolution Day through the eyes of Bucky Box

Celebrating the world wide day of action for better education about Food.Bring on the #FoodRevolution!!

Storified by Bucky Box · Thu, May 17 2012 23:46:05

Foodista
The media, celebrities, and the social networks are a’buzz with stories of the inaugural Food Revolution Day!
Food Revolution Day: Jamie Oliver hits 488 citiesFood crusader Jamie Oliver has succeeded in recruiting 800000 people to participate in his inaugural Food Revolution Day which is set tak…
Food Revolution DayThis Saturday, May 19, will be the first-ever global Food Revolution Day. I can not tell you how proud I am that we have more than 500 ci…
What are you doing for #foodrevolution day? Join me and @JamieOliver & stand up for real food!<http://foodrevolutionday.comGwyneth Paltrow
Check out the lovely @gennarocontaldo supporting #FoodRevolution day in London! http://foodrevolutionday.com http://pic.twitter.com/rRFEPiVDFood Revolution
In the U.S., more people die from diet-related disease every year than drugs, alcohol and war combined http://bit.ly/JVogMH #foodrevolutionRobyn O’Brien
sf.funcheap.com
Why a Food Revolution?
Jamie Oliver’s TED award speech.jamieoliver
RT @thelostescapist: @Live4TheMomentz "These fries taste…potatoey!" xD #bestmoment #foodrevolutionCaitlin DaSilva
Food Revolution Day, May 19jamiesfoodrevolution
What have YOU got planned for Food Revolution Day?
RT @jamieoliver: Check out the amazing #FoodRevolution menu at the UCLA cafeteria on may 19th!! http://pic.twitter.com/NeiujYwLPattycakes
Food Revolution Day Google Hangout With Jamie Oliverjamiesfoodrevolution
*siapin cangkul* RT @putisafira: @IDberkebun akan meramaikan #FoodRevolution #Jakarta http://yfrog.com/odi7cpFerry Arta Kusuma
Looking forward to getting stuck into #FoodRevolution Day here in NZ this weekend! Farmers Market Photography mission!! cc @FoodRevBucky Box
"I can not tell you how proud I am that we have more than 500 cities in 57 countries… standing up for real food." http://huff.to/JjpbIMFood Revolution
Remember this? http://bit.ly/crRiXe My buddy @JamieOliver is going global with it for @FoodRev Day on sat. U in?Ryan Seacrest
We partnered with Jamie Oliver’s first @FoodRev Day on May 19 to inspire change in food education. To learn more, visit http://bit.ly/HmW5ldChangeLab Solutions
Some amazing Food Revolutionary dinners happening across America this wknd for a lucky few. Hurry and grab your seat!! https://www.grubwithus.com/foodrevolutionJamie Oliver
Join @JamieOliver to bring back food education. $25 can educate a class. Host a dinner with cities worldwide May 19 http://foodrevolutionday.com/Food Revolution
RT @AlDmanii: Food revolution day ثورة الأغذية #uaeu #foodRevolutionUAEU #foodRev #foodRevolution http://yfrog.com/gyjmmvpjcute
43 milhões de crianças abaixo dos 5 anos estão com sobrepeso 19/Maio @FoodRev @jamieoliver farão um movimento #Foodrev http://pic.twitter.com/HeEfNlVgLucilia Diniz portal
Recipes abound throughout the Food Revolution Community!  Check out more on Jamie Oliver’s recipes page here: http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes
Yummy thanks to @jamieoliver oh and the stolen/borrowed recipe book @claresandford #foodrevolution http://pic.twitter.com/KGW3SXszMichelle Sandford
Join the NYC Chinatown Dumpling Tour this Sat in support of Food Revolution Day! http://bch.me/xrvLX1 #foodrevolution #NYCDumplingMark Birch

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

Urban Food Hui : Wellington

Last night, Sam from the Bucky Box crew, was able to make it down to a hometown meet up for ‘The Rhizome Effect – Urban Food Hui’ in Wellington (New Zealand).

 

The Hui (Maori for meeting / discussion) was all about bringing together Wellington’s community food growers, facilitators, interest groups, and backgarden producers.  We don’t yet have any form of Food Alliance like Auckland, but this is kind of where the night was pointing.

 

The Sustainability Trust & Innermost Gardens were good enough to throw together an event, and our favourite props were all in place when we got there – butchers papers & coloured pens!!

That only meant one thing ~ World Cafe!

 

And so it was, after an initial introduction round (incidentally we were the only “Software for the local food system” in the room…) we jumped into conversations around “what’s working” in Wellington.  20 minutes later, it was heads up, and a harvest of the ideas which came out of the small group conversations ~ then a big switch around to new tables, and into another conversation topic: “what could we do better to strengthen & catalyse the urban food movement?”.

 

Wow… what a couple of conversations they were! Some really great ideas floating around the room – both rich, nurturing, learning experiences through field trips & better cross-fertilisation of ideas among groups, as well as calls for better connection, communication and sharing of knowledge online and offline.  Finally – we all shifted tables once more, and found our final ‘friends for the evening’ and discussed the $100’000 question : “If we had $100’000 to make some of this stuff happen, what would we use it for?”.

 

Some amazing ideas popped up, including training & capacity building programs, website portals, and my particular bent ~ seeding social/community enterprise which would keep a sustainable revenue stream to benefit the urban food movement.

 

I’ll share the links to the harvests as and when the Sustainability Trust are able to get it all online.

 

In the meantime, if you know of any good resources on the Urban Food movements around the world – we’d love to see them!