As consumers become more conscious of where their food is coming from, demand for local food is growing. Local food distributors (such as Vege Box Schemes and Community Supported Agriculture) are spending countless hours every week on admin to meet this demand, taking time from building their business. Wellington company Bucky Box, has a solution - one they call ‘tools for a better food system’. The social enterprise has created software that automates admin tasks such as ordering, packing, delivery logistics, customer accounts, billing and invoicing - radically improving the painful process of delivering farm fresh produce to customer doors. This allows the producers to focus on producing and distributing the food, not the paper work.
Bucky Box wants to shift the world back to local and organic farming and believe the tipping point for this will be when oil reaches around $200 per barrel resulting in organic food becoming cheaper than industrially farmed food. But that’s too far away for founder Will Lau.
Lau was working on starting up a vegetable box scheme in Auckland and soon saw the need for the software around the world. “When you pull back the veil, the last 50 years have seen a radical change in how our food is produced around the world, 99% of global food production is industrialised
i.e. grown with the aid of oil-intensive pesticides, herbicides, chemical-based fertilisers, and that food is then shipped around the world on the back of 'cheap oil,' ” says Lau. “We hold a vision for the world where all of our food is good for those who grow it, healthy for those who eat it and nurturing to our planet.”
'Save and Grow'
- a new initiative from the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, argues that decades of intensive farming has ravaged the world’s natural resources, causing land degradation, sapping water supplies and contributing massively to climate change. “These current agricultural techniques are neither sustainable, nor working for us,” says Lau.
Bucky Box reinvests 66% of their profits back into projects that support people and planet friendly food systems, such as organic farming research, food awareness, and education. An innovative Global Partnership Fund
which see Bucky Box gift, invest and commit resources to the organisations that develop the local food movement through research, advocacy, education and social business. They call it 'closing the loop'.
Lau’s background in website and mobile app development led him to create the Bucky Box project, and he soon found a startup team in Wellington-based design and development collective, Enspiral. “The team has been working hard since mid-2011,” says Community Connector, Sam Rye. “We are now bringing the app to market, having benefited from TechNZ funding, which Grow Wellington helped us apply for.”
"We created Bucky Box to create a positive environmental and social impact for one of the biggest challenges we face as a global community. This is a matter of acting for future generations, and we see sustainable and regenerative growth as a key element to that, we've modelled how it can be done with our own business too," says Rye.
Since launching officially in May 2011, Bucky Box has already received notable business recognition. The enterprise was nominated for the Social Innovation Award at the 2011 National Sustainable Business Network Awards. Last year they won the New Zealand section of the Global Entrepreneurship Week’s CleanTech category, in the sub-category of ‘Air, Water and Energy’. Bucky Box has also been featured in Fast Company
and a number of blogs around the world.
Bucky Box is looking for farmers, vegetable box delivery schemes, community-supported agriculture and food hubs as their primary customers and are currently open for beta testing
With a global market, big growth potential, and a clear need shown by a decent waiting list to the 'invite-only beta testing', Bucky Box is a Wellington company worth keeping your eye on.