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.

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!

 

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.

Twitter Hashtags for Local Food!

Twitter bird hovers holding #LocalFood signHashtags are a great way to follow specific areas of interest on Twitter, so here’s our run down of hashtags we follow to keep up on the amazing work going on around the world in the local & organic food movement.  Set up a couple of feeds in tweetdeck / hootsuite, and watch the good news roll in!

 

We’ve also been curating a list of people who talk & work on creating a people & planet friendly food system for you to follow.

 

General Farming & Agriculture:

#agriculture / #farming – very general catch all for Agriculture / Farming tweets

#food – general catch all for all things food

#agchat#foodchat – hosted by AgChat.org (“The AgChat Foundation is designed to help those who produce food, fuel, fiber and feed tell agriculture’s story from their point of view.”) – disclaimer: AgChat is sponsored by several corporate & Government interests, but there’s some interesting discussions on both sides of the fence.

#AgChatOz – spurned off the back of the success of the above – this is the space for Australian Farmers & Ag professionals to connect around their home country’s specific challenges and opportunities.

#AgriChatUK – likewise the need for connection and chatter in the UK farming community brought about this hashtag, you can read the full story here.

#AgGen – young farmers and the future of farming is discussed in this growing community. Started in the UK.

#AgChatNZ – Kiwi’s don’t like to miss out, so they spun out this hashtag to talk New Zealand farming. Largely facilitated by the Federated Farmers organisation, which is fairly conservative in their tastes, so tends to be fairly ‘conventional agriculture’ based. That said, there’s interesting work with Biological Farming in NZ, and we’re pushing hard for more Sustainable Ag content in the community too.

#goodfood – often used by daily tweeters to simply chat about their tasty dinners, but there’s quite a bit of use in relation to people & planet friendly food.

#foodbloggers – find & chat with people who blog about Food, there’s even an International Food Blogger conference organised by Foodista!

#SustainableAg / #SustAg – keep in touch with the Sustainable Agriculture discussion on these hashtags.

#Agroecology – keep an eye on this hashtag, as whilst it’s not highly used at the moment, it’s an emerging trend toward Regenerative Agriculture, with a focus on renewing the health of our soils.  Agroecology was identified by the UN Special Rapporteur for Food Security, as a key component in sustainable development, and got a fair bit of press at Rio+20.

#FoodSystem – a hashtag we believe will slowly rise in use, as the local food movement grows, and we understand that we live in a dynamic global food system.

#profood – recently on the rise, focused on all things organic, local & ethical in the food system!

 

Local Food

#localfood – complete with RT bot, the local food hashtag is growing in its use and conversations are often found around it.

#eatlocal – another prolifically used local food hashtag, well worth following!

#locavore – for the ‘ultra local’ fans amongst us, locavore is a term used mostly in Australia & US.

#realfood – people seeking to differentiate from industrialised agriculture can often be found on this hashtag.

#SlowFood – keep up with the Slow Food movement.

#SlowMoney – a movement which grew out of Slow Food, which seeks to raise capital for innovative Food Enterprises which seek to create a better food system.

#Foodies – a term applied to people who follow ‘good food’ practices.

#UrbanAg – check out the discussions on urban agriculture

#TEDxMan – explodes in use during each TEDxManhattan, the 2012 event was themed “Changing The Way We Eat” – report here.

 

Local Food Initiatives & Enterprises – the shorthand

#VegeBox / #VegBox – tweets about Vegetable Box Delivery Schemes.

#CSA – discussion & broadcasts about Community Supported Agriculture.

#FoodHub – find out more about the emergence of Food Hubs around the world on the FoodHub hashtag

If you need a run down on Local Food jargon – check out our guide here.

 

Organic & Permaculture

#permaculture – a big community and movement behind the permaculture principles of agriculture, find out much more on this hashtag.

#organic – the organic movement is growing exponentially year on year, follow its progress here

#biodynamic – an organic method of farming which considers holistic symbiosis of the soil, plants and animals as a self-sustaining system. A little traffic from a defined community, much like permaculture.

 

Health & Education

#FoodRevolution / #FoodRev@JamieOliver created the Food Revolution movement in USA, and the thriving community which use this hashtag also have tools available to co-ordinate through the Food Revolution website.  2012 went down with 1000’s of tweets from around the world – check out our Food Revolution Day photos here.

#FoodDay – a 2011 day launched in USA to bring conversation about healthy, affordable food produced in a sustainable, humane way, to the masses

#FoodSummit – Conferences around the world have been using this hashtag, but we joined all the forward-thinkers at the Sustainable Food Summit in Australia.

 

Focused on the 1 billion who go to bed hungry

#poverty – used by a diverse group of people, mainly those interested in sustainable food production, development, activists, social enterprises

#changedinner – seeking to address the food distribution problem, @30project launched ChangeDinner campaign in late 2011

 

Intersection of Food & Technology

#foodtech – a thriving community is also growing around the Food+Technology Connect crew who are specifically interested in how technology can change our food system for the better.  There are also great stories highlighted by the Seedstock team in regards to sustainable agriculture focusing on startups, entrepreneurship, technology, urban agriculture, news and research

#localfoodsoftware – popping up now & then as more software, like Bucky Box, becomes available.

 

Follow @buckybox!


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In addition to the above, we sometimes use #socent when we’re talking about the social enterprise foundation to our business – learn more about that here: Video – ‘Tools for a better food system‘.

 

Thanks for reading – please do let us know of any other hashtags we should include, or feel free to pop us on your own list, and we’d love to connect with you at @buckybox!

Twitter Bird sings Local Food Movement hastags

Press Release : Catalysing Local Food, Globally

– FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE –

 

CATALYSING LOCAL FOOD, GLOBALLY

1 November 2012

 

Kiwi software company, Bucky Box, are on a social and environmental mission to disrupt the global food system and this week they’ve announced the public release of their software for local food distribution.

 

The social enterprise company aims to level the playing field against the industrial food distributors such as the large supermarket chains which account for 99% of where we get our food.

 

Bucky Box is a web-based application targeted at local vegetable box schemes, community-supported-agriculture and food co-ops, and has been doing private trials for 18 months.

 

Community Connector, Sam Rye commented, “We’ve put a lot of work into making the software simple and easy to use, yet it’s pretty sophisticated under the hood – it captures two years of learnings and conversations with local foodies all over the world. We were amazed at how much interest there was both in New Zealand and overseas.”

 

The local food movement has been growing in New Zealand, and is already in full flight around the world especially in the countries where food has become highly industrialised such as the US, UK & Australia. Rooted in the idea that farmers should get a fair deal, many people are unable to afford fruit and vegetables, and our over-reliance on cheap oil throughout food production, storage & transport, the movement sees farmers & entrepreneurs taking up the challenge to cut out the middleman and go direct to consumer.

 

“Whilst getting a box scheme up and running in Auckland, I started looking around at people all over the world doing the same thing, and realising how inefficient we were being by running things with spreadsheets & scraps of paper. Having a background in software development from the first smartphone days, I realised we could do this better. Early indications from our beta testing shows about 80% reductions in admin time and we’re still launching new features.” says Will Lau, the founder of Bucky Box.

 

The story goes that Bucky Box found it’s team at the disruptive incubator, Enspiral in Wellington, where they established an innovative social enterprise structure which will see a 67% profit share back into the local food movement through collaborative partnerships.

 

“We wanted to ensure our intentions were clear and that we didn’t end up extracting value out of the very people we seek to support – small scale farmers and the lifeblood of all local economies; small businesses & entrepreneurs. So, we set up this new style of business model we call social enterprise.” said Lau.

 

“We’re incredibly excited to be based in Wellington where we can feel a new kind of business emerging in our networks. Social innovation is indeed alive and kicking in the Creative Capital, and we’re stoked to be a part of that, something that people can point to and show what 21st century business will look like.” said Rye.

 

 

Bucky Box has already received international recognition from the likes of Fast Company and Springwise, and is set to launch the software globally from 1 November.

 

Find out more about Bucky Box at www.buckybox.com or join the conversation on their Twitter feed.

 

– ENDS –

 

Contact for Media Enquiries:

Sam Rye | Community Connector | Bucky Box

+64 211 141343 | sam@buckybox.com

http://www.buckybox.com

http://www.buckybox.org

http://www.twitter.com/buckybox

http://www.facebook.com/buckybox

 

The Bucky Box Media Kit is available here [zip file]

 

About Bucky Box

Bucky Box was formed as a social enterprise in 2011 with a vision to catalyse local food, globally.

 

With a mission to ‘bring about a human food system that supports the collective long term health of all living systems’, Bucky Box is a new type of business.

 

The software is beautifully designed & intuitive to use; it tackles online ordering, customer database, packing & delivery logistics and payment reconciliation.  It is offered on a software-as-a-service basis, and can be used in any country in the world with an internet connection.

 

Bucky Box is part of the Enspiral group – a social innovation accelerator and eco-system based in Wellington, New Zealand

 

For more information, visit: www.buckybox.com or ‘Bucky Box | The Mission’ page: www.buckybox.org