Ooooby

Ooooby

New Zealand
Organization type: 
for profit
Budget: 
$50,000 - $100,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Ooooby aims to provide 'easy access to local food' globally and is an acronym for “out of out own back yards.” Ooooby is a socially minded enterprise that provides systems and support services to local areas to back the re-weaving of communities through local food. Ooooby exists worldwide as an online food grower’s social-media network as well as on land as a prototype retail concept.

About You
Organization:
Ooooby Ltd
Visit website
Section 1: About You
First Name

Christy

Last Name

Martin

Country

, AUK

Section 2: About Your Organization
Is your initiative connected to an established organization?

Yes

Organization Name

Ooooby Ltd

Organization Phone

+64 21 120 8083

Organization Address

47 Shelly Beach Road, Surfdale, Waiheke Island

Organization Country

, AUK

How long has this organization been operating?

1‐5 years

Your idea
Country your work focuses on

, AUK

Innovation
What makes your innovation unique?

The unique aspect of the Ooooby innovation is the convergence of social networking technologies with food supply chain systems. By allowing the members of the social network to contribute homegrown food to the supply chain, Ooooby 'Grocers' can amass enough local food to be a viable contender in the food market. Ooooby is like a club of micro-growers who are then represented in the market place by a local business known as an Ooooby Grocer.

The modern industrialised and centralised food system has effectively decimated the viability of local food operations due to economies of scale leveraged by the low cost of fossil fuels. Ooooby is using this unique combination of new-media technology and a resurgence in home food growing to regain a competitive advantage in the food market for local small scale family based food providers.

As the Ooooby concept develops, we intend on providing a unique ability for customers to buy food from local growers even before it has been picked from the earth, enabling super fresh food and a just-in-time supply chain which keeps costs very competitive.

Do you have a patent for this idea?

Impact
Tell us about the social impact of your innovation. Please include both numbers and stories as evidence of this impact

The social media element has been in development since December 2008 in which time a variety of milestones have been achieved including a member base on the Ooooby website of over 2,500 food growers, 90,000 unique visitors, 180,000 visits and 840,000 page views since its launch 18 months ago. This has created an enormous knowledge based organization where vital information is being shared globally. Success to date has been primarily due to ‘friend referrals’ which demonstrates the high appeal and viral nature of the concept. The social network currently has 170 groups where people can ask questions, start discussions about anything from how to build a water catchment system, to how to grow any kind of edible plant, companion planting, how to keep bees to barter and trading homegrown/made produce.
The retail prototype has been operating since September 2009 as a market stall and has achieved a supply base of over 35 micro growers (back yard growers) and approximately 100 customers. The stall provides a space for people to communicate, share, buy, sell and barter homegrown and local food within a community. The stalls also provide gardening supplies with special member prices whilst also providing an income and good social capital for the stall holder.
Other services include Ooooby-versity workshops where you can learn seasonal knowledge on food growing, recipes and more.
The engagement of Ooooby in local areas is creating a kind of contingent food economy for a community in the event of a global economic shift.
Ooooby on a larger scale is bringing back the social to the community by developing and educating people with the tools to further them with access to locally and homegrown food. It starts with one community and spreads throughout the world.

Problem: Describe the primary problem(s) that your innovation is addressing

Ooooby is the solution to our many diverse local food systems around the world that are rapidly being displaced by a globalised and centralised food system. Locally owned, polycultural farming has been diminishing at an accelerating rate over the last 30 years in place of large corporate owned monocrops. Locally owned food producers and retailers are also being displaced by the same system. The Globalised Food System sees the world through a 'one big farm' paradigm. Grow all the oranges in Brazil, all the bananas in Ecuador etc. An ecological problem with this paradigm however is that our ecosystem is built to a certain scale. The counteraction to the problems caused by this ecological imbalance is the use of petrochemical pesticides and fertilisers, which are in turn causing untold environmental damage. Another problem with this paradigm is that as countries subscribe to the globalised food system, the existing local food systems give way and subsequently collapse. Local Food Systems are an integral part of the social and economic fabric of a region. So not only does a community lose its ability to feed itself, it also puts its economic welfare at risk. More and more countries are now finding themselves in the position where they can no longer turn back and they can't afford to keep going. We are at a point in time when we need to rethink our food systems. Long term provision of nutritious foods to every human is a vision that cannot be achieved by our current means. To achieve this we need to relocalise our food systems by addressing our staple food provision at a community and regional level and to also support communities from all around the world to do the same, which Ooooby is doing.

Actions: Describe the steps that you are taking to make your innovation a success. Include a description of the business model. What might prevent that success?

Step 1. To provide a platform for home based food growers to gather and share information on.
Step 2. Provide a continuous stream of relevant and valuable information to the platform that encourages, enables and inspires food growers to improve their skills and to develop their knowledge.
Step 3. Provide a service where food growers can bring small volumes of homegrown food and barter or sell their food at a public market place.
Step 4. Promote the availability of local food to the consumers in the local region.
Step 5. Fortify the local food supply chain with new technologies to enable volume and efficiencies in order to compete with the large scale centralised systems which currently dominate the market.

The business model is effectively an eBay for local food. The difference however is that food cannot be viably sent through the post or courier like most eBay items. To solve that problem, Ooooby provides the distribution system via a local business model which brings all the food to a hub and which then enables food to be clustered and redistributed.

The main thing that might prevent success is poor choice of location for early deployment. Different regions have different levels of 'readiness' for an idea like this, so it is vital that the program is deployed in local areas that are ready, willing and able. The other possible preventer is malicious tactics by established food organisations to derail the program.

Results: Describe the expected results of these actions over the next three years. Please address each year separately, if possible

The goals for the next 3 years are:

1. To be a leader of the local food movement within NZ and Australia.

2. To be fully self funding our own expansion plans by year 3.

3. To generate social and ecological benefit in the regions we operate.

4. To be ready for succession.

How many people will your project serve annually?

More than 10,000

What is the average monthly household income in your target community, in US Dollars?

$1000 - 4000

Does your innovation seek to have an impact on public policy?

Yes

If your innovation seeks to impact public policy, how?

Not directly, but possibly. By giving people access to serve the food market at a home based micro-level we hope to demonstrate the power and sensibleness of such a concept, which may then motivate grass roots lobbying for food law amendments to further aid the cause.

Sustainability
What stage is your Social Enterprise in?

Operating for 1‐5 years

Does your organization have a board of directors or an advisory board?

No

Does your organization have a non monetary partnerships with NGOs?

No

Does your organization have a non monetary partnerships with businesses?

No

Does your organization have a non monetary partnerships with government?

No

Please tell us more about how partnerships could be critical to the success of your Social Enterprise

The right sorts of partnerships offer credibility and influence. Everyone eats so everybody is a potential subscriber to a local food service. By having the right partners we can reach people who require some kind of 'social proof' that the program is credible. We can reach more of the mainstream thinkers which is the ultimate aim for Ooooby. Mainstream consumers consume the greatest amount of food, so if we can reach these people we have the greatest chance of rebuilding local food systems to once again become the mainstay of our food choices.

We would like to learn more about how your initiative is financially supported. Please explain your business plan/revenue model

Ooooby Ltd revenue is based primarily on the support service rendered to independently owned and operated retail outlets. Support will be by way of operational software, training and marketing.
Our intended revenue streams for Ooooby include:
· Sales of retail business licenses
· Transaction fees on retail sales
· Annual membership fees from suppliers and customers.
· Directory listing fees for food growing related goods and services.
We have also identified other potential revenue channels which may include:
· Publishing of print media (Books / Magazines)
· Tagging and produce accreditation

Distribution Model
The unique aspect of the food distribution model is the supply chain system.
There are four key elements to this system.
1. Accessing premium produce from local organic farmers.
2. Tapping into the home and micro grower network.
3. Purchasing processed foods from local commercial kitchens.
4. Enabling customers to purchase food online just prior to harvest or production.
The capability to recruit and organize micro grower groups is achieved via the Ooooby member base.
Local farmer and producer participation is achieved by being able to offer higher buy prices as a result of the lean and direct supply chain.
Pre-harvest and pre-produced food purchases are achieved via an online ordering system which displays quantities of food ready for harvest or production over the coming week. This enables a highly efficient just-in-time distribution process.
The pre-harvest/production ordering system also provides customers with super-fresh and trustworthy local food, which constitutes a real point of difference from the standard food shopping experience.

The Story
What was the defining moment that led you to this innovation?

Not long ago Pete was the Managing Director and founding shareholder of a food company that imported frozen pastries and breads from Europe to Australia. The vision at the time was to build a multi-national food logistics company managing the movement of food all around the globe. Since then things have changed. The shift happened shortly after moving from Australia to New Zealand. Pete made the move with the intention of tapping into New Zealand's cornucopia of food production capacity and to build distribution channels for NZ food into Australia and Asia. Shortly after arriving in Auckland Pete attended a presentation by Sue Kedgley who is a Member of Parliament with a particular political interest in food. Sue had recently returned from being the NZ delegate at the World Food Forum held in Rome, April 2008. This was a high level conference attended by over 180 member countries in response to an accelerating increase of reports, which suggested a global food crisis. Sue presented credible evidence that we are in fact entering a global food crisis and that the globalised food system was doing a great deal of damage in the social, economic and environmental arenas. As Pete sat in the community hall listening to Sue's talk, it occurred to him that the chronic ills of our current food situation were caused by models and systems that had been built by people, like him, in pursuit of an evermore efficient and lucrative way of providing food to the people of the world. As you can imagine, Sue's presentation was not the sort of information that he was looking for. Does he ignore this information or does he take a look into this inconvenient proposition? After a few months of investigating the current global food situation, he became convinced that local food systems are the way of the future. Failing to persuade his existing business partners to change course toward local food, he chose to serve the demand in a different way. Starting Ooooby has been his way of responding

Tell us about the person—the social innovator—behind this idea.

Ooooby was started by Pete Russell in his own back yard in December 2008. Pete was previously in the business of shipping food from Europe and distributing through major supermarkets around Australia. Seeing first hand the way of the global centralised food systems, Pete decided to change direction and started working on localized food systems for the sake of the social and environmental benefits.

How did you first hear about Changemakers?

Personal contact at Changemakers

If through another source, please provide the information