We exist primarily to rebuild local food economies because we believe that changing the way we produce and distribute food is fundamental to solving the world’s most pressing social and ecological problems.
The founding team is serious about putting mission before money. To this end, the founders have transferred 90% of their shares in Ooooby Ltd to the Ooooby Foundation, a not-for-profit trust with the primary purpose of rebuilding our local food systems. This way, a large proportion of profits will be channelled into supporting local food projects such as community gardens, food growing education, purchasing land for food production and funding for local food start-ups.
We connect growers to customers through an online platform which makes local food competitive with mainstream retail on both price and convenience.
Our business model is to provide software and support for local teams to distribute local food to local customers. Each local hub manages logistics and transport within their region. We differ from traditional online retailers by mostly buying directly from local food producers in preference to conventional wholesalers. This means the food is typically fresher and the grower is paid more, because there are lower transport, storage and handling costs. We currently pay a minimum of 50% of retail prices to our suppliers, ensuring a viable margin for sustainability in the long term. We are able to pay fair prices to producers yet still offer competitive prices to customers because our software reduces supply chain costs by managing logistics. Along with licensing the software platform, we provide hubs with management services to assist them in opening and operating in their own region. Our fee structure is 8% of total sales: 3% platform license, 3% management services, 2% national marketing. There may also be a set-up fee in the region of $20,000 which may be more or less according to the complexity of each situation.
In less than five years, we have successfully deployed our model in New Zealand, Australia and the United States and now we’re ready to roll out to more towns and cities.
For shoppers we offer easy access to fresh local produce and artisan delights.
For growers and artisan food producers we offer a new and convenient channel to market which pays fair prices promptly.
For investors we offer an ethical investment opportunity that ensures that any dividends paid are used to support local food projects.
Ooooby Ltd’s ownership structure is designed to help meet the twin goals of operating a successful business while also ensuring that local food is supported and enhanced.
While Ooooby Ltd is a company which exists to make a profit for the benefit of its shareholders, the founders have placed most of Ooooby’s shares in a trust, the Ooooby Foundation, which has as its goal the rebuilding of local food systems. Examples of how the Foundation may use dividends to support local food include:
- Education on food growing and food production;
- Buying land for local food production;
- Fostering urban farming and local food distribution;
- Partnering with other organisations to develop healthy eating habits, and interest and awareness of fresh food, fruit and veg.
The trustees of the Foundation are Pete Russell, James Samuel, Karen Swainson, Davy van de Vusse and Karen Schmidt. The Foundation can have up to 12 trustees and new and replacement trustees are appointed by the current trustees. The trustees cannot personally benefit from the Foundation.
The trustees of the Foundation can permit shareholders and other stakeholders of Ooooby Ltd to have a non-binding vote on trustee candidates for the Foundation. Whilst the vote isn’t binding on the trustees, we expect that they will take it into account in their decision making. The goal is to try to ensure that there is a level of democracy within the Foundation and that people with a grounding in Ooooby and its ethos continue to play a part. The trustees will have the final say on any trustee appointment. The Foundation’s trust deed provides for a two-step process for the crew and shareholders to have a say in trustee appointments:
- The crew (but not shareholders) can nominate people as candidates for available trustee positions
- The shareholders can vote on those candidates on the basis of one shareholder/one vote. Other stakeholders who have a significant connection to Ooooby and who are selected by the trustees can also vote.
We are at the beginning of a long journey towards rebuilding our food systems from the ground up. You are an important part of the solution and together we can make a worldwide impact.