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!

#SXSWEco is on NOW!

If you haven’t heard about SXSWEco, then you should take a moment and jump over to sxsweco.com – here’s the brief run down about what the event is about:

SXSW Eco is a three-day conference addressing the need for a concerted, cross sector approach to solving the recognized challenges facing the economy, the environment and civil society. In its second year, SXSW Eco will be held October 3rd-5th, 2012 at the AT&T Conference Center in Austin, Texas.

Hosting an international audience of on-the-ground innovators and executive level decision makers from the public and private sectors as well as thought leaders from academia, this event will drive the conversation of sustainability beyond rhetoric and towards solutions. SXSW Eco is for professionals at the forefront of the post-recognition discussion who are dedicated to making progress towards solving these challenges.

Join us in Austin, Texas for discovery, cutting-edge discussion and unique networking opportunities with experienced, passionate and pragmatic professionals.


You can check out the whole event which is livestreaming at SXSWEco.com/live


One particular highlight on the schedule is Anna Lappé – cofounder of the Small Planet Institute – who will be speaking on the topic “Plenty for the Planet: Sustainable Food and a Well-Fed World” on Thursday, October 4 at 3:30PM – 4:30PM (Austin, Texas).


We hope you enjoy the conference – we’re also going to be live tweeting some bits and pieces, so join the conversation!

Top 5 ways to find more customers : an overview of local food marketing guides

Have you ever wondered ‘how & where will I get more customers?’


We’ve been asked the question a fair bit recently by people & organisations around the world who are distributing food locally.  What with tough harvests in the UK, the supermarket price wars in Australia, the food stores the size of small towns in the US, austerity measures in Europe, and the gradual rising awareness of the benefits of local food in New Zealand – it can be tough to find new customers.


We decided to pull together our own e-book on this topic, but in the meantime, here’s a couple of sites which could be useful to get you started.

  1. Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA) – as part of the ‘Be A Local Hero’ program, have developed a Marketing 101 for farmers and local food distributors. You’ll find a link to a PDF download – it’s a fairly in-depth guide to everything from establishing a brand, to working out new channels for your business.
  2. Making Local Food Work – a series of guides & toolkits for a wide variety of local food distribution models, developed to help you get started & get ahead.
  3. National Good Food Network – a database of research into business & finance behind local food distribution & farming.
  4. Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture – a solid guide for small farmers and distributors as to why & how to market locally.
  5. Lean Marketing – taking a somewhat different approach to marketing, this blog post advocates lean marketing – staying away from heavyweight strategic planning, testing ideas in small batches, and learning quickly.


Social Enterprise London (SEL) – many local food distributors are looking for triple-bottom line impact, and could benefit from the great resources that SEL create. Whilst not specifically focused on local food, they do have some good guides to smaller, more impactful business.


If you’re particularly interested in the USDA Marketing Manual – we’ve also uploaded here: USDA Marketing Manual 2012


We’d love to hear your thoughts & feedback on what’s worked and what’s not, to help build a guide for local food to build the movement around the world.  You can tweet us at @buckybox, or get in touch through Facebook.

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!  

Revista Pequenas Empresas & Grandes Negócios feature Bucky Box – Splashdown in Brazil!

Brazilian Business Magazine features Kiwi Local Food Startup!

We knew something was up when our beta channel started seeing several Brazilian requests for our beta service.  A little investigating today showed us that not only were we featured in ‘Springwise : Online Startup Network‘ this week, but our social enterprise software for local food distribution was also featured in Revista Pequenas Empresas & Grandes Negócios – the go-to Brazilian magazine for small & medium business, entrepreneurship & more!


Easy to use software created by the company help automate billing data transport and logistics, addition of production. With this, Bucky Box hopes to boost decentralized food system – small farms organic food in particular. In the company’s website, owners can manage the company, reducing the time spent on administration to a maximum of two hours weekly.


So, a big thanks to our new favourite Brazilian magazine – Revista Pequenas Empresas & Grandes Negócios! It’s not every day a Kiwi startup gets featured in a major international publication – but we’re very thankful to have been featured in quite a few at this point.


We look forward to working with some Brazilian local food schemes in the future! Roll on the decentralized food system!

Springwise features Bucky Box : ‘Software Firm Focuses on Helping Small Farms’

This morning I woke up to a (good) Twitter storm brewing thanks to Springwise featuring Bucky Box pride of place on the front page.

Local Food Distribution gets some IT support


It’s always nice to get featured on sites like Springwise, as it means quite a few more people around the world get to know who we are, and why we do what we do.  We made a conscious choice a while back that we would slash our marketing budget, and focus on social interactions & creating value, rather than empty advertising spending – which means more money would flow into our Global Partnerships Fund.


Springwise picked up the Social Enterprise structure of Bucky Box, as well as showing how we will disrupt the food system with our software:

easy-to-use software that automates orders, billing and logistics, the company aims to help propel the emerging decentralized food system in general — and local organic farms in particular — as they sell direct to customers via weekly boxed deliveries. Using Bucky Box’s web application, which is now in beta, weekly administration time can be reduced from two days to two hours, the company says; it also helps to streamline packing, delivery and support. As a social enterprise, meanwhile, Bucky Box reinvests the majority of its profits into non-profit ventures related to the new food system, including farming research, public awareness, and education.


About Springwise:

Springwise scans the globe for the most promising business ventures, ideas and concepts that are ready for regional or international adaptation, expansion, partnering, investments or cooperation.


We look forward to working with many more Local Food distributors and Small Farms in the coming months and years. Thanks Springwise for your great article!