Grow, OOOOBY, grow!

10 February 2014

Out Of Our Own Backyards, or OOOOBY as it is more commonly known, is establishing a foothold as the go-to for fruit and vegetables, delivered from farm gate to your place. Across the ditch, Sydney is now benefitting from the innovative scheme too.

OOOOBY has recently acquired Food Connect Sydney, boosting its customer base by 400 clients.

OOOOBY began as a social network for food growers and producers in 2008, as a response to evidence that modern industrial food systems are causing more damage than good.

“At the time I was in the industrial food business myself, and making a decent profit,” says Pete Russell, founder of OOOOBY.

After hearing a game-changing presentation from Sue Kedgley, who had recently returned from the World Food Forum, Pete made the ‘inconvenient discovery’ that globalised food systems were causing a great deal of damage from a social, environmental and economic standpoint. 

“It was only when I was confronted with information showing me that I was participating in a system which was responsible for many of our social and environmental issues that I began to take a new path,” he says.

Pete took a leap of faith and established OOOOBY, initially as a network for growers, launching a fruit and vegetable home delivery service four years ago. The OOOOBY network connects over 5000 food growers in New Zealand, and OOOOBY delivers a box of fresh produce to around 400 Kiwi homes in the Auckland region and 450 Australians every week.

OOOOBY’s innovative business model cuts out the ‘middle man’, working with growers to supply locals with fresh fruit, vegetables and staples such as dry goods, breads, spreads and oils.

OOOOBY is run as a social enterprise, which means all profits are reinvested into developing local food production, and ensuring all participants in the supply chain are rewarded fairly for their contribution.

OOOOBY producers are paid a static 50% of the total retail value for the supply and delivery of produce to the OOOOBY hub.

“The good news is that a global unified drive to rebuild our local food systems has been slowly gaining momentum over the last few years and is now expanding rapidly throughout the world,” he says.

Keep an eye out for OOOOBY – a local food initiative with a global application.