Be The Earth believes in a world that nurtures all beings and dedicates 100% of its capital combining philanthropy and impact investing to further economies that prioritise life on Earth. Today you will hear the story of how Ooooby came to life. Ooooby is an an open and decentralised marketplace for local, small-scale and ecologically sound food supported by our Impact Investing arm since 2022.
By Pete Russel
"Ooooby was born in 2008 in the midst of the global financial crisis. At that time I was dealing with the impact of spiking exchange rates on our food importing business.
We held an emergency board meeting because we had gone from healthy profits to devastating losses overnight, and the more food we sold the worse it got - we had to stop trading to stem the losses. I remember sitting at the board table having an almost out of body experience, imagining all the boardrooms of food companies around the world at that time and wondering how many of them were in a similar boat, and what the impact on society would be if a lot of them just stopped trading in food until things settled down.
Fortunately the crisis eased after a few weeks and we were able to right the ship, but it left a lasting impression on me. This episode revealed the fragility of global food supply chains in the face of economic shocks. What if 2008 was just the beginning of a series of economic shocks? What about geopolitical shocks? Or an environmental crisis? It was becoming clear that we were entering a more volatile world and that our food system needed to adapt to be more resilient.
This posed the question, “what would a more resilient food system look like?” This path of investigation led me into a new world of possibilities and discovering an amazing array of truly inspiring examples of food production and distribution that harked back to earlier times but that also offered hope for the future. A time when small scale farms abounded and back yard gardens were prolific.
The keys to a resilient food system boiled down to human-scale production, ecological practices and local distribution. Combining these elements provided the best of everything. Happier farmers, healthier soils and fresher, tastier, more nutritious food.
But there was a problem, it was only happening in small pockets of some communities. This way of producing and eating food could transform our world, but only if it could reach enough people. There needed to be a way that real food from small farms, market gardens and cottage kitchens could become commonplace everywhere, everyday.
This vision was the genesis of Ooooby, an open online platform that makes it as easy as pie to find, buy and eat the best food from out of our own back yards."
Be the Earth is not only excited to support Ooooby on it's mission to connect farmers direct to consumers (while being paid fairly for their produce), but is also excited by Ooooby's unique governance model and long-term vision for the platform to be user-owned.