How does SUSTAINATION work?
SUSTAINATION is an online service which makes it easy and profitable for food businesses to find each other, talk, and trade.
Simply by joining the dots, small businesses create local and regional food networks which have the efficiency to compete with supermarkets and megafarms, whilst creating livelihoods and preserving regional identity.
- Local business marketplace shows you who wants to buy and sell near you
- Find local produce by distance, season, quality, business type and so on
- Show who you trade with to demonstrate your commitment to transparency and local community
- Split delivery costs by sharing journeys with local businesses
- Tweet to Trade makes sending out a local trade offer jaw-droppingly easy
- Find customers keen to stock your produce
- And much more! Trade fresher and more nutritious food, reduce food miles and packaging, enjoy a more direct relationship with your partners…
- Contribute to your local economy and the money stays local. We can create thousands of livelihoods across the country.
- More nutritious, better quality food as the fresher it is, the healthier it is.
- Encourage good local businesses by shopping with those businesses who care most about where you live.
- Greater variety as you eat more seasonally, with more native varieties.
- Save waste and pollution - from food miles to packaging to food waste, it all falls.
- See where your food comes from on the maps which show every hop of its journey.
- Find out what’s around you and discover interesting new places to eat both at home and on holiday.
- Support your local countryside by supporting farmers, who are natural stewards of the land, if they can afford to be.
- Satisfaction of it all making sense at last. Apples from New Zealan during the UK apple harvest?! How did we ever let it get so bad?
We believe that better information and better food is good for all of us. That’s why anyone can start using SUSTAINATION's platform for free. Being sustainable means having a business model, so we charge a reasonable fee to those who use us regularly, or wish to trade further from home. It's priced to pay for itself.
Why are we crowdfunding?
We'd like people to use Sustaination as quickly as possible. Crowdfunding gives us the opportunity to ask you to be involved in creating the future you want.
We'd love your help to spread the word, help steer us in key decisions, give early feedback, and share with us your ideas. We'd also like your financial support.
But only £1000?
Nope, we're trying to raise £15,000 here! Our cash flow forecasts require £150,000 (We're not messing about here: we've got big plans and need to be realistic, and doing things right takes money. Unfortunately.)
But the rules are that if we don't raise 100% of our target, then we don't get any of it. We have opportunities for match funding, so we can double whatever we raise here. By demonstrating that there is popular support for our service, you'll help us open more doors to other larger funding opportunities. If ever there was an opportunity to make an investment which makes a difference, this is it.
And because we're offering Christmas presents, we want to be sure we can send them out in plenty of time. If we were £100 short of £15,000 then a lot of people wouldn't get presents, which would be just too sad for everyone.
What we'd like from you, and what we'll give you in return
We're working on our prototype, and would like to launch the service early 2012 to give plenty of time to sign up before the days get longer and busier again. By next November, in time for Christmas, we'd like to have 10,000 businesses trading regularly.
1. Your wallet holds the change we need
Even though the internet is a very efficient place to work, the costs of running a business add up pretty quickly. Your contributions today will be spent on professional fees, the marketing material to help spread the word, attending meetings and presenting at conferences and events, running servers, and keeping our utility companies happy.
We've cut back on full-time work to be able to work on this, but we'd rather be working on this full-time. We'll be able to do this when we have more paying customers but for now, we'd love your help to get there.
We have a number of offers of match funding, so the more we can raise now, the less we'll need to raise later.
2. Your time, skills, and enthusiasm
- Register a local business: We’d like you to help your favourite local food business claim their profile, list their produce, and say who they trade with. You could even add a review whilst you’re there. It will take about 25 minutes, and you’ll reinforce a friendship.
- Add trade connections: We’d love to know who’s trading with who, since that really helps everyone understand the local food network and make better use of local resources, eg by sharing delivery routes. (5 minutes)
- Help someone use our service: Whilst we make it as easy as we can, lots of people just don’t understand why, for example, a twitter account is useful. Can you go in (take your tablet / laptop!) and spend 30 minutes helping them register with us and how to add an update to their profile? (30 minutes)
- PR: We'd love some help spreading the word to the press. Ideally a partner we can have a long term relationship with, so perhaps a company who'd like to give something back? (up to 1 day per week)
3. Please talk and think about us
It’s so easy not to think about things these days, but it’s vitally important that we do.
- Make us feel all warm and fuzzy: Like us on Facebook, follow us on twitter, join our newsletter. We’ll keep you up to date with lots of interesting things, and you’ll help us feel worthwhile and useful. It’s primitive psychology, but it works for us.
- Change your status, or write about us: tell people why you’re talking about @sustaination and www.sustaination.co.uk. There are lots of reasons to like what we’re doing, and it would be interesting to know what grabs you most. Send us a link to your blog piece and we’ll add you to our website.
- Talk about your food: Imagine the journey your dinner has taken. Talk about it with those around you. How far do you think it's travelled? Is that good? What we think in terms of 'local food' or 'sustainable food'? What's the difference?
Good food for everyone, forever?
Imagine you're in charge: How would you supply good food for everyone, forever? That's a really hard question, so let's start with a supermarket: How would you create a supermarket suited to the 21st century?
You'd want it to be all the things we love about supermarkets, but with none of the things we hate. It needs to be convenient and local. It would be good if it could alleviate environmental, economic, and social pressures (rather than create them...). It needs to make a fair and sustainable profit, and strive to help as many people as possible earn a fulfilling and sustainable livelihood… this is how we started.
"I'd love to buy more locally, but it's just not convenient"
If this sounds familiar, you're not alone. Whilst 48% of us want to buy local food, only 13% of us go looking for it at markets or independent shops. This means 35% of us are not getting what we want.
The best way to get ANYTHING done is to help the people who want to do it anyway. Is the main reason we don't buy local food just because it's not on the shelves?
Why don't businesses stock more local produce?
Because businesses face the same problems we do. We want better, but when pushed for time or low on money, we go with what seems most convenient.
Report after report has shown there are hundreds of thousands of restaurants, shops, hotels, schools, manufacturers, hospitals, catering companies, and pubs who find it too hard to buy; and hundreds of thousands of farmers, producers, bakers, and market gardeners who find it too difficult to sell; and thousands of local delivery companies who'd love to do more business joining them up.
So: the buyers, sellers, and distributors all exist… and all of them want more business... we'd have to invest BILLIONS to compete with any supermarket, but can we join up all these businesses to create something which does better?
You want to know more?
You can find out lots more about what we're doing, our mission, and the social dividend we create by signing up to our newsletter and browsing our www.sustaination.co.uk. But life is fast, so here are a few quick things you may like to know:
Why are we doing this?
If there's one thing the internet is good at, it's making it easy for people to help themselves to solve problems. From CompareTheMarket to Facebook, eBay to Tahir Square, we know that if you couple information with self-interest, lives change pretty quickly. Not everyone, and not all at once, but as our nemesis says: every little helps.
Who are we?
We are a collection of passionate people who are great at what we do, and love doing it. We're geeks, food growers, procurement buyers, and a marketing and social media specialist.
The last time the tech team worked together in 2007 they created an emergency collaboration system for the Government; 2 years before that, they invited a twitter-like system for the Police for communicate with security guards in specific geographic areas; and before that we built a global risk analysis system for the insurance industry. They are a very sound investment.
We're delighted to have social media and marketing expertise from the Soil Association, a local food buyer from Greene King, and other networks and individuals in food, farming, and media all working hard to create Sustaination.
Our advisory board also includes an impressive and illustrious range of professionals. Read more about them on our site.
I'd like to see some numbers
All statistics quoted come from very credible 3rd parties like Mintel, IGD, and The Grocer. See www.sustaination.co.uk/facts for some more astonishing facts.