Fruit and veg delivery firm heads to Oz

By Ben Chapman-Smith

Ooooby founder Pete Russell aims to get local food into the market at a competitive price without squeezing the farmer.
Ooooby founder Pete Russell aims to get local food into the market at a competitive price without squeezing the farmer.

Entrepreneur Pete Russell is on a mission to revive the local food market, one city at a time.

After founding fruit and vegetable home delivery business Ooooby (Out Of Our Own Backyards) in Auckland nearly three years ago, Russell has launched the concept in Sydney.

The self-declared "start-up guy" wants to makes locally grown food as affordable and convenient as what people can buy in the supermarket.

"We believe we can do that because we can cut a whole lot of fat out of the supply chain," said Russell, of Waiheke Island.

By applying the same methods used in long-distance supply chains, he aims to get local food into the market at a competitive price without squeezing the farmer.

"If we prototype that in Auckland, we can replicate from city to city."

Russell started Ooooby about six years ago as a social network of local growers who could trade tips and swap seedlings and food.

The network soon grew to 1500 members and Russell identified a viable food production group lacking a channel to the market.

Ooooby has since grown to 16 part-time staff with a base of 40 growers, who ensure about 300 Auckland households get a box of fresh produce once a week.

"We've got a system now where we can cover all our expenses, pay everyone on less than 300 deliveries a week. So we've cracked it in terms of proving the financial model on a small customer base," Russell said.

Growers were paid at least 50 per cent of the retail price.

- NZ Herald

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