NZ Social Enterprise Bucky Box to Simplify Distribution for Sustainable Farmers with Web-based ApplicationJanuary 16, 2012 | Melinda Clark
It’s not much of an exaggeration to say that these days, there’s an app for everything. Soon, that will include an app for increasing the efficacy and efficiency of CSAs and box schemes. Bucky Box is a Wellington, New Zealand-based social enterprise dedicated to building software to improve the world’s food systems. Their product is a simple web app that automates billing and delivery logistics for CSAs and box schemes. It’s still in the testing phase, but will open to the public in the next couple of months – simplifying distribution and making life much easier for smaller sustainable farming operations, and ideally encouraging more farms to join the sustainable agriculture movement.
Will Lau, Bucky Box’s creator, describes the app as being “like a digital operations team for a box delivery business.” It’s comprised of a front-end marketplace where customers can order veggie boxes, and an administration site that’s basically a massive customer database. Users can enter specific details, such as who will be out of town and not want their box delivered on a particular week, and the app runs through a scheme that schedules deliveries. It also automates all of the billing, saving users hours that they might otherwise spend manually creating invoices.
Barriers to entry into a career in farming for young aspirants appear to be a bit daunting, but not impossible to overcome. So says a recent report based on a survey of 1,000 farmers across the US that was carried out by the National Young Farmer’s Coalition (NYFC). The report, entitled “Building a Future With Farmers: Challenges Faced by Young, American Farmers and a National Strategy to Help Them Succeed,” cites access to capital, land and health insurance as the largest obstacles to launching a career in farming. Apprenticeships, local partnerships and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), on the other hand, were cited as the most valuable means of helping beginners get started.
The 70-acre USDA-certified organic farm in San Diego, with more than 100 varieties of crops, has about 400 Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program members, or community members who sign up to receive boxes of its produce on a regular basis, said Lucila De Alejandro, who owns the farm with her husband. Suzie’s Farm also sells its produce at 14 weekly farmer’s markets all over San Diego County, and it sells its produce to more than 50 restaurants and at least 10 grocery stores.
Frog Hollow Farm Strives to Fulfill Promise of Brentwood, CA Terroir and Raise New Crop of Organic FarmersNovember 10, 2011 | Kelly Hatton
When Al Courchesne started farming on 13 acres in Brentwood, CA, he didn’t have a business plan; he had a shovel. So he dug holes and planted trees on the land he’d purchased with business partner Sarah Coddington.
“I was young and optimistic and strong,” said Courchesne. “I could work long hours. I was willing to do whatever I had to do to plant orchards.”
That was in 1976, and in the 35 years since, Frog Hollow Farm has grown from 13 acres to 133.
The farm produces enough fruit to feed both wholesale and retail markets in the San Francisco Bay Area, and has expanded its product line to include conserves and pastries.
Establishing direct connections between local farmers and residents, community supported agriculture (CSA) has been a growing form of direct marketing in California’s Central Valley, with the number of California CSAs growing steadily since the early 1990s.
Researchers at the University of California at Davis’s Agricultural Sustainability Institute conducted a wide-ranging and in-depth study of CSAs in and around California’s Central Valley.