Roadmaps and Change logs

How do you have your say over the future of Bucky Box?

 

Roadmap

 

We want to spare you the technical jargon when it comes to software design and development, but we do highly value your feedback to help us build world class software for local food. Software for you.

 

Soon we will be releasing our change log which will help you keep tabs on the various improvements, fixes and updates that go on with Bucky Box week to week. Like all good new generation software, there are constant upgrades and improvements – they’re not rolled out in expensive new upgrades like Windows.

 

We have a extensive roadmap of features we would like to add to improve Bucky Box, but we still listen intently to what our community has to say – whether you’re a current customer, or someone looking to use Bucky Box in the future.

 

You can have your say in our Ideas Forum here.

 

We use the Ideas Forum to get your ideas and keep you updated on their progress, but also to allow our community to vote on them to help us prioritise those which help people the most. We highly recommend you jump in there and vote on other people’s ideas and have your own say.

 

We will be listening to your feedback and meshing it with our own knowledge gained from hundreds of conversations with local food entrepreneurs and distributors from around the world, to bring you the best possible software solution for local food.

 

Go to the Ideas Forum and share your ideas for Bucky Box now!

Ask Bucky Box…

Webinar Series - Software for Local Food

Hi folks,

 

We know that you may have heard about how software can help your local food enterprise, but you’re still likely to have some questions / doubts / ideas about what it can do for your local food service.

 

We’re putting together a webinar series to field some of those questions – they’ll be a series of small group webinars to maximise the amount of questions and feedback you’re able to get – likely 5 or 6 people on the call at a time. We’re grouping them into three distinct batches:

 

  • “Convince Me” – people / enterprises who are interested but have too many questions to spend the time learning a new system. You probably want to see the solution and ask questions before diving in.
  • “Lets Roll” – people / enterprises who have signed up for Bucky Box, but need a few questions answered to help them get set up. Whether it’s the language used, or how bits interact, you just need a little help to get started.
  • “Leadership Material” – people / enterprises who are getting into the stride of things with Bucky Box, but would like some hints and tips to get the most out of things. You don’t know, what you don’t know, right?

 

So, to that end, please drop us your details here – we’ll be in touch soon!

 

Featured on New Startups : Bucky Box helps farmers get fresh food on your plate

Bucky Box Features on New Startups

 

 

Shortly after our public beta release there was a flurry of interest and articles, but we were a little crazy with speaking to people about our software for local food.

 

In that time, the awesome New Startups online magazine covered our story, and we’ve never had the chance to point people their way till now. So, check out New Startups – they ‘collect a wide range of bright new ideas from around the globe with the intents of keeping you up to date on incredible emerging businesses, offering our reviews, and providing a place to meet & engage in discussions.’

 

READ THE BUCKY BOX STORY ON NEW STARTUPS

 

“It’s astonishing how much of our everyday uses are highly dependent on cheap oil. The food systems in our culture are without exception, and evolved over the last 30 years that is also centralized and fragile. More so then ever we face obstacles and challenges never seen before and will only be more overwhelming in the next 30 years without startups standing up and making new technologies to help, in relation to energy prices, population increase and environmental health.” READ MORE HERE

 

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

 

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.

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.

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.