The Local Food Startup Challenge – Applications Closed!

Local Food Startup Challenge - Applications Closed

Amazing buzz over at Bucky Box HQ this week after closing applications for The Local Food Startup Challenge which we launched in February.

 

We had a moment to pause and think about what this experiment has started. We really only began with the plan to offer the challenge in Australasia to see what reception it got over here. Pretty soon after launching, we were getting enquiries from all over the world from people keen to start a local food enterprise – we don’t like to disappoint people, so with a stripped back offering we made it available globally.

 

Since then we’ve been asked to do an online teaching series, worked with StartSomeGood to run a couple of crowdfunding webinars, spoken to a bunch of partners, and the most important thing – enabled a host of people to start their dream, and launch local food enterprises. And there’s more plans in the pipeline!

 

In visual terms, The Local Food Startup Challenge looks a little something like this:

  

↪ Share this Infographic ↩

 

But The Local Food Startup Challenge isn’t over yet!! It’s now time to kick into a higher gear and take all the goodies from the challenge to ramp up your business idea into a reality.

 

Are you one of the Local Food Startup challengers? Have you started delivering produce yet? If not, what’s blocking you?

 

 

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

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

[click to tweet this article]

 

Bucky Box designs for the other 90%

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

[click to tweet]

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

Stories from Local Food heroes

Sometimes you just have to be in awe of the local food community. The amount of people who believe so much in their service to get food from farm to plate, that they’ll put up with crazy-complicated spreadsheets, late nights, and still smile graciously when those systems let them down once again.

 

Today, I’m happy to post this….

Bucky Box wants to give you your life back - upgrade your spreadsheets today!

 

We’re lucky enough to speak to a lot of people thinking of starting local food schemes, or already running them, and the stories we hear time and time again are the ‘just in time’ ones….

 

“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, it’s exactly what I need, at a tiny fraction what it would cost to build myself.”

 

That was a snippet from yesterday’s conversation with an NZ distributor who’s been in the market game for 11 years and is keen to start home delivery. I sometimes feel floored when we hear these things as it makes it feel like our efforts worthwhile.  Naturally, from here the product has to match the expectations, but with the new interface I believe we’re there…

 

“We had to reduce the size of the scheme as the admin burden was ruining my family life, which is ironic as it was always supposed to be a lifestyle business.”

 

… was another one we heard recently. It makes you want to hug people sometimes, but instead we need to get them a login…

 

Go on, if you’re still running on spreadsheets, or know someone that is – take a peek at what we can do to help your local food business.

FastCoExist “World Changing Ideas & Innovation” features Bucky Box

Things are a’bubble here in the office in Wellington this morning as the Fast Company article on Bucky Box went live last night.

Fast-Company magazine's blog FastCoExist which features 'World Changing Ideas & Innovation' features Bucky BoxWe arrived at work to find the twitter feed was ticking over happily with RT of the FastCoExist piece on Bucky Box’s software for a better food system.

 

FastCoExist is one of our favourite reads. It provides daily news on ‘World Changing Ideas & Innovation’, many of them businesses working for a better world.  It’s a great feeling to be part of that club.

 

Bucky Box is working on the new operating system for emerging local food systems. We’re open for beta testing in invite-only form. Feel free to share the word to local food distributors you think might be interested.

Creating the operating system for a new emerging local food system - Bucky BoxCreating the new operating system for local food isn’t just about supporting what’s going out in the market, it goes much bigger & broader than that, it reaches into the future.  We see what has happened in the last 30-40 years in our global food systems as a step backwards in environmental & social standards which have borrowed from our future. We’ve created a more fragile food system with less resilience, and now the pressures are beginning to mount up : population growth, soil health, water quality, climate change adaptation, loss of biodiversity and ecosystem functions which are vital to our survival.  All the research points toward moving to sustainable food production, distribution & consumption, which largely means small scale farms (not industrial-scale mono-cropping), regenerative farming techniques (not chemical farming which destroys our soils) and regional food systems (not industrialized supply chains).  We see a better way, and Bucky Box is our first step in making that vision a reality.

 

Not only are we creating cutting-edge software for the local food movement, but our social enterprise structure means that we’re going to be putting a minimum of 66% of our profits back into the movement itself through our partnerships with local food systems researchers, advocates, educators & practitioners. More to come on that matter soon, so connect with us at @buckybox and be the first to hear.