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]

 

 

Bucky Box was an Award Nominee: Sustainable Entrepreneurship Award

Sustainable Entrepreneurhsip Award Bucky Box Software for Local Food

 

 

We don’t get up every morning wanting or expecting adulation. That said, it’s always nice to be acknowledged for the work you’re doing and sometimes it makes you feel like other people believe in your idea too.

 

This week we were delighted to hear from the Sustainable Entrepreneurship Award organisers that we have made it into the Top 5 for this global award which is in its second year :

The sea honours people and companies who are already shaping the world of tomorrow today. They work together with others towards a sustainable future and develop intelligent solutions for the environment and society through their regular business activities or through innovative processes and projects. They focus their resources and ideas on social and ecological innovations and, in doing so, take the idea of corporate social responsibility one step further.

 

We feel somewhat humbled to have made it to the top 5 from the 260 entrants. Sadly we couldn’t jump on a plane to be at the swanky awards ceremony in Austria to meet some of the people behind the remarkable ideas and organisations which are forging a better future.

 

We were nominated in the Development & Services category of the ‘Best Project’ award – we were certainly impressed by some of the other projects and enterprises merging from this space as well.

 

Here’s to raising a glass of something bubbly to all the awesome people around the world working on projects, businesses, and badly needed services to make the world a little (or a lot) better!

 

Here’s a short video to give you a little pep talk to make the world awesome:

 

Check out SEA online here and their facebook page here.

 

** WINNERS ANNOUNCED HERE **

Check it out! We were awarded a certificate for finishing in the Top 5!

Sustainable Entreprneurship Award Trophy

Startup Challenge Spotlight : ‘Good Neighbour’ Launches in New Zealand

Local Food Startup Challenge Banner Header

We’re delighted to announce one of the first Local Food Startup Challenge entrants has just launched!

 

Good Neighbour Local Food Delivery Tauranga Bay of Plenty Building Community

 

Good Neighbour brings good food to local people in Tauranga, Bay of Plenty, Aotearoa New Zealand. By operating their food delivery enterprise, they’re able to build the fabric of the community from the grassroots and reinvest their profits in other community-based programs.

 

Good Neighbour Produce Boxes launched last week with nearly 30 large orders.  So far the feed back has been all positive with many loving the fresh quality and value in each box.   Most of all the great advantage is not only saving money  or supporting  good healthy eating but backing the Good Neighbour Vision of helping those struggling in our community through sincere love in action.  We aim to put all our profits back into our communities through funds raised in this way.  Once we get our fruit boxes up and running we will focus on the community projects targeted at people in need. In the process of helping others the dream is that others will begin to get to know their neighbours and in some way be able to say “We have a friend just over the fence”

– Cam Hill, Good Neighbour Founder

 

Good Neighbour Packing Boxes

 

We’re proud to be supporting a fantastic social enterprise like Good Neighbour, and it feels fitting that one of the first startups to launch is here in our home of New Zealand.  That said, we’ve had lots of interest from overseas for the pilot of our Startup Challenge, so who knows where the next launch will come from!

 

Good Neighbour - Delivery Day

 

Good Neighbour were one of the organisations we connected with early in their development when they were modeling how to get set up and running. We were excited to be able to work with them to provide the IT infrastructure to manage their order, customer accounts, packing & delivery logistics and payment reconciliation.

You can visit Good Neighbour’s website here, Facebook page, or get your good local food in Tauranga at their Bucky Box powered webstore.

Congrats on Your Launch

 

** UPDATE **

Good Neighbour were in the local press! Check out this little article…

Good Neighbour Press The Weekend Sun Bay of Plenty

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

 

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.

 

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.