Time to take your CSA up a notch?

Time to take your CSA up a notch?

Do you run a Community Supported Agriculture operation? If so you’re most likely aware that there’s a lot more talk than action when it comes to local and ethical food. The truth is that there is a fast growing crowd of conscious consumers who want to buy local and ecological food. The catch is that these people are typically busy and they’re used to the convenience of our modern food system. Their ‘want’ doesn’t translate to ‘will’ because getting along to the Farmers Market or joining their local CSA just doesn’t fit into their lifestyles. Let’s face it. People who participate in CSA’s are a rare breed. It takes commitment, community mindedness and a keen awareness of the insanity of the dominant industrial food regime to go out of your way to be part of the solution. If there were more people like you and your customers then we would be living in a better world, but the reality is that although lots of people want to be part of the solution, they’re just not willing to do what it takes.  BUT… what if we could take the solution to them? What if we could make CSA food fit their lifestyle? The more people who buy local food the better off we all are. Systemic change always starts with a small group of ‘out of the box’ thinkers who demonstrate a smarter way. As a CSA operator you’re demonstrating a smarter way to buy food. The next step is to configure the CSA model to reach more people without taking the simplicity away from your daily operations. This is where Ooooby...
Why 52% of fresh food produce is wasted and how can we change our food system

Why 52% of fresh food produce is wasted and how can we change our food system

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is on a rampage to expose the ridiculous levels of food waste caused by our modern food systems. Hugh’s War on Waste programme on BBC tells the story of a Norfolk veg farmers who were forced to discard 40% of their harvest because they were too long, too short or just wonky which equates to approximately 20 tonnes of parsnips each week. The percentage of food going to waste has been steadily increasing over the last 40 years and is now reaching ludicrous proportions. This is clearly unsustainable and begs the question ‘what can we do to reverse this trend?’ Our current food waste numbers It’s estimated that around 24% of fresh produce is wasted before it reaches the supermarkets, 9% is binned by the supermarkets and another 19% is tossed before it reaches our forks resulting in less than half  getting into our bellies.* The diagram above shows that the largest proportion of waste (24%) comes from farmers growing more than the supermarkets buy.  They do this for two reasons; the supermarket sales model is based on visual merchandising which means that they only want cosmetically beautiful food forcing the farmer to cull anything that isn’t picture book perfect, and the supermarket supply chain requires food to be in transit and sit on shelves for a long time, so even the smallest blemishes need to be eliminated in case they spread over time and betray the lack of freshness of the whole batch. The remaining part of supply chain waste (9%) comes from food that is left on the shelf.  This is the result of merchandising psychology....
We’re down with Ooooby – Adam & Tink

We’re down with Ooooby – Adam & Tink

About three years ago Tink and I moved from Wellington to a 12 acre block in Kāpiti with dreams of community and growing food. When we heard Pete and James speak at a local talk earlier this year our curiosity was piqued. After a few false starts and a lot of discussion we realised that Ooooby aligned with our dreams and values and began talking to them about how we might get involved. The more we talked the more we felt that Ooooby provides a powerful way for us to build a livelihood from our home in Kāpiti while hopefully providing a valuable contribution to the local food system. Tink is an ardent foodie and we both believe that great food is an essential part of good health. Ooooby will let us help local growers get produce to customers for a fair price.  We hope that will result more growers producing organic food for sale locally for the benefit of the entire region! We’ve been talking to lots of people about Ooooby and have been surprised and excited to discover how many people are eager to support great local food.  Bring it on! Adam &...
Is Your Town Ready To Embrace Ooooby?

Is Your Town Ready To Embrace Ooooby?

Ooooby  – Out of Our Own Backyards – Is being created by New Zealanders aiming to make it easier for consumers to eat healthy food that’s grown and produced close to where they live. It turns out that’s much harder to do than common-sense would suggest. Who would have thought? After five years, lots of conversations, screens of computer code and thousands of food boxes delivered to delighted Aucklanders, the NZ Ooooby Team is ready to share its know-how with others around New Zealand and the globe who want fresh local grown food delivered reliably to their door. Some steps to establish an Ooooby hub  You need a local champion – a person or organisation that won’t stop till it’s on the ground and up and running! Find a hub coordinator – this person needs to fit the Ooooby culture – someone passionate about local food because this is a varied and pivotal role.  Establish an entity that will be the custodian for Ooooby. We are still exploring options, but it might be an existing or new limited liability company with an appropriate constitution, a charity, a trust or a grower organisation. The important thing is that the licence holder demonstrably wants to rebuild their local food system. Find your growers. Ooooby hubs are all about building local production so most of the money goes to the people who actually produce quality food. There’s a small profit after everyone has been paid fairly and a licence fee is paid to contribute to software development, marketing of the Ooooby brand nationally and accounting support.  Setup your Ooooby hub. This is the location where growers can bring...
Why I work for Ooooby – James Samuel

Why I work for Ooooby – James Samuel

In the early conversations with Pete Russell, about building a new kind of food system with a focus on local and natural. We saw an opportunity to reduce the number of steps needed, to get food from the grower or producer to the table. It’s an exciting vision, and one I’m having a ball playing my part in. It was a breath of fresh air for me. I’d been thinking a lot about community resilience... And here was an idea, that could deal with so many of the challenges of the day. I saw an economic model that could sustain itself and grow, while having a regenerative impact on the tangata (people) and the whenua (land). We imagined systems of trading using smart information sharing to connect the growers and producers directly with customers. We wanted something that would let people offer up food they wanted to sell (to an online platform), so people could search for food that was hyper-local then walk, bike or drive to the grower of the produce to do the trade. While Pete and I dreamt of an app that would facilitate this, we first had some food production realities to confront. Reality check: NZ is currently importing 40% of the food we consume, so the fact is there’s simply not enough volume or diversity of healthy, local produce available to feed our communities, whether rural or metropolitan. We realised there’s still a necessary function of curating boxes of food to meet people’s desire for variety and choice.   We’ve been five years on the path of building a lean and replicable system, to facilitate getting local food from...