Australian Fair Food Forum

Starting a new box scheme - tips please!

The Sunraysia Local Food Future @slff group is starting a new box scheme and are after templates and tips from others who have had similar experiences. @rob - do you have some templates that might be useful to share from Baw Baw Food Hub?

@slff if you have other questions that are specific perhaps ask them here and @rob and @kirsten can share lessons learned - @jademiles2 would probably also have useful answers!

Sure do. :smiley: @slff @Jen

We use a Google Sheets document to plan our boxes each week, as we find this makes it easier for multiple people to check in and work out what on earth is going on. I’ve created an example version that anyone should feel free to copy into their own Drives. There a few annotations about how things work in the form of notes placed on pink cells in the doc…

The contents of the boxes and the extras ordered in the example are an actual plan that we used for the boxes on the 7th of February this year, so it represents real-world usage of the sheet.

I should note that there are some formulas in play here that google has developed that are not portable back to plain old Excel, so I wouldn’t recommend attempting to export it as .xlsx

Link to the example document is here

I’m working on a version of our subscription management sheet that I can make available, but we’re anticipating that this will be made obsolete by the introduction of the Standing Orders functionality into the OFN in the near future…

Thanks so much for sharing this resource @rob! Now that we have contacted our growers for prices, it will be so much easier to calculate the price of our boxes. Love your work!

@slff No probs mates :+1:

@wholesale is there anything that Food Connect could offer as advice for a group in Mildura just starting a box scheme pilot?

@rob Great template!

We supply wholesale to a number of community box schemes and probably the most common challenge for new ones is meeting order minimums. For example, we sell tomatoes in 10kg boxes and often a co-op will only sell, say, 6kg amongst it’s members in a given week. As a result they don’t purchase the box as it presents the risk of not selling the rest. This often means that the group co-ordinator is out of pocket for the remaining amount.

There are a few ways around this, but the two simplest I’d suggest would be:

  • Have a “threshold” for items. In the above example, if a co-op was able to pre-sell 8kg they might just buy the box and then aim to sell the leftover 2kg among members. This helps to ensure that you don’t miss out on offering variety to members. While there is the risk of having leftovers, if you make it clear to members that there will be a few extras for sale then that generally helps move leftover stock.

  • Initially, try limiting the range of products available to your members. For example, we might have 5 different varieties of apples available in a given week (all in 14kg boxes). If you then release the full availability list to members, you might find that some people want one variety and others want something different again. In the end, you might have sold a total of 14kg, but all in different varieties meaning you aren’t able to buy a full box of any. So a simpler way in the beginning stages might be to just sell one type.

I hope this makes sense (and that I haven’t wandered to far off course!). But I’d definitely say the key in the beginning is to keep it as simple as possible as much for the sake (and sanity) of the group co-ordinator as anything else. Let me know if you have any other questions. And good luck!

1 Like

@slff how is your Out of the Box vegie scheme going? It’s been a couple of weeks now since you launched, I’d be very interested to hear what some of your early learnings and challenges have been?

thanks Rob, this will be amazing for us at the Beechworth Food Co op too.

I think we’ve shared our produce sheet with Kirsten and Serenity before, but here’s an example that includes food miles. We’d LOVE to have something simpler to use…Produce Sheet

@EKR the link requires permission, any way of making it public? Would love to checkout your food miles sheet!..suggested sharing permissions so the public can see, but not edit…