Not your average bean-counter

Not your average bean-counter

OR “What to do with those greens in your Ooooby box” Our calendars had the “Ooooby in the Valley” gathering locked in for a few months. The last one was two years ago and we were overdue. So last week our geographically dispersed crew came together for some much needed face to face time, though our crew video calls must be working because Pete and Susan had to think hard whether they had actually met in the flesh (they hadn’t). As a lead in Thursday was a full day strategy session with Mark Barr, generously hosted by Deloitte’s who gave us a meeting room in their Auckland office. In the context of wanting to actively support rising stars in the enterprise space, Deloitte’s have been helping us better understand investment protocol and organisational structure options that could match our mission driven organisation. Ooooby in the Valley offers the core crew a chance to check-in and allow the space for the magic that comes from being together for a few days.   On Friday I met Susan, Davy and Nick off the ferry and we drove out to the village, and Pete’s home, which he kindly toured us. Rather artfully and without wasting time, Susan soon invited us to pair off and ask each other a few key questions, including: “What do you most appreciate about yourself?” What a fabulous way to get grounded and present, before launching into visions of a transformed food system and Ooooby’s part in it. Pete had listed some top level questions, with the last scraps of chalk in his house.  Ooooby is working to make...
A Challenge Worth Taking On

A Challenge Worth Taking On

When I first reach Frans de Jong at his Matamata orchard Southern Belle, he asks me to call him back in five minutes since he’s busy checking the weather. “A very important part of the job,” Frans tells me through a joyous laugh and a thick Netherlands accent. A family-run business, Southern Belle is the current supplier of delicious Red Sweetpoint capsicums to dozens of Ooooby customers each week. It also produces feijoas. Last April the orchard was announced Supreme winner of the Waikato Farm Environment Awards where it collected the Harvest Award, the Innovation Award, the Integrated Management Award and the Soil Management Award. “It was very humbling,” says Frans who tells me that his arm had to be twisted to even enter the competition. “As a family, we usually work longer hours than most. But I’d like to turn that into a positive.” Frans credits marking oneself out from the crowd as the biggest challenge for smallholders and a factor likely to determine whether or not they will achieve success. “We’ve established ourselves as a quality grower by doing things totally differently,” he tells me. “That’s not to say it’s always easy to do, but you have differentiate yourself to make it work.” So how did he do it? While at first the de Jong’s listened to advice from the previous owners of their farm, it wasn’t until Frans applied his own background in analytical chemistry to processes at Southern Belle that the magic started to happen. “You start to look at things differently and understand the biological system,” Frans explains. “For example, learning to use predator insects to control harmful insects and beneficial soil microbes in the root zone to...
A week at Ooooby Matakana

A week at Ooooby Matakana

I am part of the Ooooby Matakana team. I love to eat out of my own back yard! We grow most of our own fruit and veggies and when there is excess I can sell to Ooooby. These broad beans were picked in the morning and in the Ooooby boxes later that same morning. I am hoping to grow tomatoes for Ooooby this summer. ~ Robin Barclay Tuesday started with a quick visit to the Auckland hub to say hello to Daphne, Leonie, Chris and Ben before jumping in the truck with Mark to take produce to the Ooooby Matakana hub for the packing day.  The mood was good humoured and relaxed, even though there were some challenges – the Ooooby crew were short staffed and some produce had not been supplied as expected. Finding local produce With Robin’s Broad Beans and Patrick and Louise’s potatoes, the boxes had a good sampling of local produce and looked great! The crew finished just in time as customers began arriving, after school pickup. Some boxes were picked up and taken to other drop points in Warkworth, Leigh and Wellsford. Behind the scenes I spent the following day with Katya, who has been finding her way in the supply coordination role and doing a great job of managing the seemingly endless variables that are inherent when it comes to finding and buying fresh produce. On Thursday I learnt about the Customer Happiness role from Mel. She is about to pass on the  role to Gabrielle, but the Matakana crew are hoping she can continue to work her magic with the Ooooby Matakana Facebook page. A growers meeting was held on Tuesday the 3rd at...
Why we’re starting an Ooooby Hub In Christchurch

Why we’re starting an Ooooby Hub In Christchurch

Fresh local organic food is found mostly at weekend Farmer’s Markets. So, Garden City 2.0 created a mid-week home delivery service that provides greater access for households craving real food, plus it gives these same growers at the market a reliable and consistent new revenue stream. Since we began, a little over two years ago, we’ve been talking with Ooooby about how they have been developing their service. Earlier this year, the team at Garden City 2.0 realised that so many of the operational processes we need for the crew, along with features we want to offer customers, have already been built into the Ooooby software and systems – so it made perfect sense to form a new partnership here in Christchurch. Ooooby is bringing advanced IT infrastructure, uber-efficient operational systems and people-friendly interface. Together with our knowledge of the local market, organic supply networks and connections with Christchurch communities, we feel this is a compelling proposition and a really positive step for our local food system!   Furthermore, we’re excited about shifting our existing packing hub into the inner city – a melting pot of innovative, community-led projects and collaboration. The purpose of this is to reveal the true nature of the food distribution and make it more accessible and interactive for the public. Fresh produce looks amazing, it’s so radiant and full of life that it really is a pleasure to be around, let alone work with. It captures people’s attention and this visibility is our most powerful engagement tool, so we want to be in a space that can host this activity and multiply the impact...
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 &...