Announcing : Public Beta – Software for Local Food Distribution

Software for Local Food Distribution - Launches Today!

 

Today, we’re announcing Bucky Box is ready for Public Beta.

 

Sign Up for 3 week FREE trial for Bucky Box : software for local food distribution

 

It’s been a fantastic road to this point; it began by being part of starting up a box scheme, then coding a prototype, joining the Enspiral social innovation family, indulging in hundreds of conversations with local food distributors in NZ and the rest of the world who shared their insights & frustrations with existing systems.  We earned some early recognition & awards, disappeared on a skunkworks, invented a new social enterprise structure for NZ, had our private beta release, worked with amazing early customers, attended sustainable food summits, battle hardened the system, had some small celebrations, achieved a bit more recognition, had a head-down winter, and finally, somewhat aptly, in Spring, we find ourselves here – ready to share our work with the world.

 

We’re delighted to say early trials have been good (that’s not to say there hasn’t been hiccups) and we’re seeing 70-80% time savings with the private beta. With our public beta release, we’re also announcing a fresh new take on the Bucky Box interface – we hope you like it!  We’ve drawn together the threads of what it takes to make Local Food distribution happen into just a couple of screens.

 

 

We announced our pricing a week or so ago too – we hope you agree, this is incredibly affordable even for local food distributors who traditionally don’t make a large mark up on their service.  We also decided we wanted to make the software accessible to enterprises in developing nations, so you’ll notice we can do GDP-adjusted pricing too.

 

It all goes back to our More Than Profit mission at the end of the day – we want to bring about a human food system that supports the collective long term health of all living systems.  You can read more about our ethics & how we have built Bucky Box to embody those values over at Bucky Box | The Mission.

 

Read the Press Release : Bucky Box – Public Beta Launch here.

Welcome to the new home of Bucky Box | The Mission

As you may know, Bucky Box is a social enterprise working to create a better food system.

 

We recently realised we were mixing the two sides to our business through this blog, so recently we started working on the flip side of the coin – the side we call “The Mission”.

New identity for Bucky Box's values-based work

Today, we launched that site and it’s accompanying blog, where we’ll take up the baton to give you the best we have to offer about food system change. We hope you like our special golden kiwifruit logo.

 

Bucky Box | The Mission site is ideal for anyone who eats food.

 

Check out the Bucky Box manifesto

 

Of course, we’ll keep up the conversation on this blog too: it’ll be more about Bucky Box “The Software“, hints & tips about local food distribution, interesting resources which will support food enterprise, and anything else we think will be useful to you – the Local Food heroes who’re distributing food from Farm to Fork.

 

We always love feedback, so feel free to hop on over to the new site – www.buckybox.org – take a look around, and get in touch!

Production, Distribution & Waste – Challenging Industrial Agriculture

 

Recently we’ve heard the same old arguments being pumped out by industrial agriculture, especially in reaction to the droughts in the US.

 

The argument goes: “There’s almost 7 billion people on Earth, and there’s 1 billion hungry. We need more food to feed the world. We must intensify agriculture; bigger & better, and we’ve got the answer – we call it a Sustainable Agriculture”.  That ‘Sustainable Agriculture future’ is typically large-scale intensive agriculture, GMO, and more sophisticated ‘scientific’ farming methods.  Inevitably the cost of this agriculture is greater, and farmers must have all of the latest information, tools, machinery & chemicals to make it happen.  It also, coincidentally, means greater profits for the big boys of industrial agriculture (rather than farmers).

 

There’s an assumption in there that needs testing: “We need more food to feed the world”.  It’s so often taken as a given, but there significant research which suggests otherwise.

 

We grow enough food to feed 10 billion people already. Eric Holt-Giménez recently wrote a fantastic rebuttal of the industrial agriculture view on the future of food. The first part of his argument centres around the point that Hunger is not caused by scarcity, but by poverty – that is what needs to be tackled to feed the hungry people in the world, not more food.  It follows on to show that Industrial Ag Vs Natural Farming does not represent the gaps in yields that are constantly talked about by GMO advocates. The longest running study (Rodale Institute – 47 year study) shows that Organic farming has better yields & profits, whilst requiring lower energy inputs & causing lower greenhouse gas outputs.

 

We Already Grow Enough Food - Infographic - Challenging Industrial Agriculture

 

The UN have put out several studies on Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture which do not support the Industrial Ag spin. They don’t stand to create vast profits from their view, but they do expect to see greater advances in sustainable development & poverty alleviation through more agriculture shifting to small-scale agroecological production. There also are gains in climate resilience and energy reduction from adopting farming based on ecological systems.

 

A 2011 report on Food Waste by the Food & Agriculture Organisation (PDF) suggests 1/3 of global food production is wasted through the supply chain or pre/post consumption. This food waste infographic featured on Food+Tech Connect supports this argument, showing it’s as high as 40% in the US.

 

It’s clear to see there’s significant work that needs to be addressed on the Consumer side of things, but this also supports our assertion that a big change needs to happen upstream.  If food distribution were to change from the centralised, industrial model that accounts for 99% of our food system, to local food webs, then we have the opportunity to disrupt the food waste in this area of the chain too.

 

The world has changed since our food system was invented – the information & web revolution has made new things possible – aggregation of supply & demand through web-based tools is just one of them.  We built Bucky Box for many reasons, one of which indicates the potential for decentralised food systems & local food webs to be more efficient than Industrialised Ag.  By re-localising food distribution with these new tools, we can efficiently move food from farm to fork with minimal wastage, instead of farm to landfill.

 

The time has come for a revolution in our food system.  It may be a quiet revolution which sees individuals consciously choosing to buy local, for small-scale farming to make a wholesale return, and for more-than-profit food distribution to rise, powered by a wave of digital tools for a better food system.

#NotInOurName – Salesforce misses the point

Have you heard of the term ‘Social Enterprise’?

***************  GREAT NEWS!!!! ***************

Salesforce has dropped it’s trademark attempt of the term Social Enterprise!

We would like to give a big Hi-5 to the team at Salesforce who decided to pull the pin & leave the term ‘social enterprise’ to mission driven businesses like ourselves, who put purpose before profit.

*********************************************************

 

Recently Salesforce.com went somewhat under the radar in applying for the trademark for the term ‘Social Enterprise’.  In some ways, we wondered how long it would take for this situation to blow up, since various companies had begun using the term ‘social business’ referring to businesses that use social tools (such as Facebook & Twitter) for customer service.

 

Truthfully, using social tools has been a big part of business for awhile – email & phone, customer forums and message boards have been a dominant part of communication in business for well over 20 years now. It doesn’t mean you’re suddenly a ‘Social Enterprise’ or ‘Social Business’ because you’re using them.

 

That said, the backlash that has sprung up against the attempt to trademark the term ‘social enterprise’ is interesting to watch.  It’s largely been led by the UK social enterprise networks such as Social Enterprise UK which launched the #NotInOurName campaign to stop Salesforce – you can follow it here on twitter. Due to Richard Branson’s outspoken support to ‘screw business as usual’, he’s even been asked to intervene through the Virgin group too!

 

The term ‘Social Enterprise’ has been used for businesses which are trading to achieve a Social, Environmental or Cultural mission for longer than Salesforce has been trading (13 years).  Here at Bucky Box, we think of it as ‘more than profit’, as we focus on maximising positive impact instead of simply the dollar value.  The distaste that has been expressed at Salesforce’s move to trademark the term is clearly evident and well founded – a company seeking to cash in on the term threatens to undermine a movement, and an entire sector which contributes millions of dollars to economies around the world, creates positive social & environmental impacts, and is seeking to redefine the compass of ‘good business’.

 

That’s why we’re standing up & giving our voice to Social Enterprise UK’s #NotInOurName campaign. Here’s our line in the sand. We believe Salesforce’s recent reply totally misses the point and shows their naïve dismissal of the issue:

 

When it comes to trademarks, businesses or organizations in different sectors can use the same trademark. Salesforce.com does not own or intend to own the trademark rights for the term social enterprise within the nonprofit sector, and is not seeking to restrict descriptive uses of the phrase by others in philanthropy, social responsibility, community involvement or mission-driven organizations.

 

Salesforce don’t seem to realise that social enterprise is not just about a sector – about philanthropy or not-for-profit, it’s a revolution in the business world which is blending social & environmental return on investment with financial.  For example, Bucky Box is a social enterprise, which is creating software for local food distribution.  So we are working in very much the same sector as salesforce, but we have a more than profit business model.  Under the trademark, we wouldn’t be able to call ourself a ‘social enterprise’, which we believe is a ridiculous attempt by a corporation to control the use of this term.  Pro bono Australia agrees with us.

 

So join us, and millions of people around the world who benefit from the work of the huge numbers of Social Enterprises, in telling Salesforce to back down and recognise that there’s something bigger than profit at stake here.

 

Editor’s note: we’ve also just had a discussion about which CRM system to use, and needless to say Salesforce did not get a look in. We highly suggest taking a look at the very awesome OnePage CRM who have a great solution which is highly intuitive compared to the cumbersome Salesforce interface!  

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!

The Guardian features Bucky Box : Kiwi Social Enterprise working for a better food system

What a lovely surprise to wake up and find yourselves featured in The Guardian’s Social Enterprise section!

Social Enterprise, Bucky Box is featured in The Guardian's SocEnt member listings

We’re proud to have created our social enterprise legal model, despite there being no NZ framework for what we wanted to achieve.  You can read a little about what we’re hoping to do outside of our work with local food distributors and our software here – More than Profit Global Partnerships.

 

In the meantime, if you’re working for more than profit on a social/environmental mission, you can get a Guardian Social Enterprise Membership listing here.