This is the first episode in a 5 part mini-series where we’ll interview 5 different farmers that have taken their produce sales online recently. In this episode, we interview Budda Browett of Los Perros farm in Malmö, Sweden.
What are Reko-Rings? This first episode is all about Reko-Rings, a distribution model without middlemen. It operates via Facebook with closed groups. The groups are run by volunteers, and no one receives payment for their contribution. Reko ring translates into “sincere consumption.” Payment is made on the FB group as well, and drop off is made in a pre-defined place. Producers are in charge of their distribution and must follow all local safety regulations.
Did you start or join the Reko-Ring in Malmö? (3:40)
We started it with a couple of friends. We heard about the platform from Finland and have been doing it for three years now. It’s exploded since we’ve started! We didn’t know it’d be this successful when we got started. We’ve gone from 10k members last year to 18k this year.
Do you find that sales go up as the group grows? (5:10)
Overall there’s a slight increase all the time. There’s more sales, but there are also more sellers.
It’s like an online farmer’s market. On Sunday, you can do your farmers market shopping from the comfort of your couch. You order whatever you’re interested in and show up once a week at the drop off point. Everyone has their vehicles open with their product ready, you come down and shake some hands and pick up your order, and you’re on your way.
When and where does the payment take place? (7:20)
For us here in Sweden, we make the amount before. You like or comment on the post where the producer lists their product, and then the producer replies to confirm. Here we have a bank transfer platform called Swish, so the transfer of funds is instant. The reply will include the price and the Swish transfer number, and once they transfer the funds, the producer will reply to confirm.
We do drop-offs every Thursday. So you can place and pay for order anytime from Friday to Thursday and then Thursday night come by for pick-up. Everything is under one post once a week; some of the posts can be quite long.
Can you make additional purchases when you arrive on the day of pick-up? (11:00)
To avoid any legal challenges, all sales must be made online, and there are no sales at the site. It can legally only be a pick-up; if not there would have to be a whole new set of laws to adhere to.
What is the commitment for the producer like for managing the pick-ups? (12:00)
The pick-up is once a week at a location that never changes. For us, it’s a parking lot. The producers are there slightly before time.
All of the guesswork of what to bring and managing transactions is excluded as all of that has already been taken care of online. It’s quite nice; you can have your entire farmer’s market experience within the timespan of one hour. You then go home with an empty truck with very little to put away. In the winter, it’s cold, and there aren’t as many producers, so we reduce the pick-up window to half an hour.
It’s really up to the admin of the group to decide on the rules. No one is getting paid to run or set up the group.
What are some of the basic guidelines? (14:30)
One of the instructions is that it’s free so that no one can charge for these services.
It needs to be transparent between both parties. The sales are between the producer and the client. You can’t come to the admin and complain about a transaction, that’s a conversation you have to have between each other.
Everything is prebought. There are no middle-hands between the products, its producer only. You’re only allowed to sell your products.
It needs to be food and or related products. We’ve made some exceptions for beauty products in our group; it’s up to each group to decide what to allow.
We’ve included in our group that you need to be grown organically, not that you have to be certified if you are g with chemicals that needs to appear in your ad for the week.
How many producers do you have in your group? (17:00)
It’s a little difficult to track since we have a number of producers with multiple members representing one farm. Sofia and I are both in the producers’ FB group, and there are 280 members in the producers’ group. There is a group for producers and also one for admin. So that’s three groups total.
With that many producers, how do you avoid confusion with your posts? Do you have a cap for a number of producers for a given product category like at a typical farmers’ market? (17:20)
It kind of happens organically. If someone doesn’t have a good product to sell people are going to know about it and they’re going to self select themselves out of the group or not compete with other producers. There’s quite a lot of sitting on FB and answering posts that means not everyone is going to want to do it. For us, there’s about 30-40 producers that post each week. We take everything as it comes.
There are 10 admins for our group. Each week we review each post before it goes up. You can post pictures with your post and it’s better to get it up earlier in the week so more people see it. We have some admins that are in charge of the online content for that week or month, and then others that are assigned to manage the pick-up site and letting producers know where to park, or buyers know where to find certain producers. Each week old ads are taken down so no one gets confused seeing them.
So if you can meet the guidelines, no matter how many producers of one kind are already in the group, you can join? (23:30)
That’s how we run it, but there are other Reko-rings that restrict the number of producers of a certain type.
You can join as a member without restriction as well. We don’t allow members to post questions asking for a certain product. It would get overwhelming and confusing to see all of those posts. If anyone is spamming we just take them out of the group.
How much time do you spend each week organizing these ads and managing the group as an administrator? (25:15)
Although getting through the weekly ads doesn’t take that much time, it can be quite time consuming to manage the group each week. It’s still a lot less time consuming than managing a farmers’ market stand, so it’s worth it. Our group is all producers, even though there are some groups that have consumers as admin.
It’s helpful to have a diverse representation of producers as questions about how we might manage any given issue or question can be better addressed by someone with expertise in that field.
As a producer, it might take roughly 2 hours a week to get through 30-40 orders. Each order takes about 2-3 messages to complete. And there’s also a lot of flexibility – since you don’t have to get all the messages replied to all at once like you would at a market, you can get to them 5 minutes here, 20 minutes there, and essentially create your own schedule around it.
So how would you go about starting a Reko-Ring from start to finish? (30:30)
Let’s propose a scenario with step by step of how you could start a Reko-ring. You’re a farmer, and you approach one other farmer to start a group with. We’re the admins, and we start a private FB group which we name after the region we’re in. We also start a private admin and producer only group. We’ll post the guidelines in the main group, and we’re off and running.
Yes – that’s it. It’s not trademarked. It’s so simple there feels like there should be a catch, but there’s not. In just a few years, there are over 50 of them that have spread all over Europe. I don’t think you’d have to rebrand it to bring it to the states. I’d never heard of it before, and if you were to call it a Reko-Ring, you’d be part of the growing movement.
When you started, how did you get other producers to join? (34:10)
We had three farms when we started. Then we started inviting other local small scale farmers to participate. We had an info night, where we invited people out to discuss the possibilities. And it just grew from there. We are glad we’ve kept it going all season long since the beginning. Even on a frigid January evening, we had over 100 customers come out.
Have you found any down-side to this model? (36:20)
There is a difficulty in managing the questions about what products are allowable. For example, can you sell coffee grounds? Coffee doesn’t grow in Sweden, so some people would say it isn’t allowed. But we already have producers selling Kombucha, which requires tea, so where do you draw the line? We also have guidelines that restrict you to a small scale, and you have to ask, what is small scale exactly?
We also have to discuss if we allow hobby farmers to post on the group. We’ve gone back and forth about this a lot, and ultimately we’ve decided we’ll give people a try but that they need to become professional producers within a specific timeframe if they are going to stay on the group because we want it to present professionally.
Since the producers are all selling side-by-side, it’s vital to hold up a certain quality standard, so no one ends up looking poor by association.
Would this work in your area? It’s simple to start, and you could have it up on a FB group in a few hours without any cost out of pocket. Find a few more producers in your area and a pick-up site with outlined rules, and you’re ready to go.
You can find a link to the description of Malmo’s Reko-Ring here and a direct link to their Facebook Group here if you are local and interested in joining.
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Diego: [00:00:00] Today, it's all about a unique way to sell your produce online, but not just your produce. It's unique way for a group of producers in any given area to sell their products online to people locally. This one's all about rekorings, stay tuned to find out what they are coming up.
Welcome to farm small farm smart. I'm your host Diego, DIEGO. Today's episode is the first episode in a mini series surrounding the central topic of online sales, given everything that's happened out there in the world lately. I think a lot of farmers want to take their sales online. how do you do that? Over the next five weeks?
We'll talk to five different producers who have taken their sales online or had existing online businesses. Prior to everything that's happening out there. The goal of the series is to give you some ideas about what's out there. What's possible how you might do it, and to help maybe narrow down some of your searching.
So I hope you enjoy it today. It's the first episode and it's with Buddha Browett of Lowe's Peros urban farming. And today we are talking about rekorings. Before we jump into the interview with Buddha. I want to give you a little bit of background in terms of what rekorings are. According to a Norwegian website that honestly I can't pronounce a rekoring is simply a distribution model without middlemen the rekoretail and distribution model offers customers a way of ordering products directly from their producer without the need for middlemen.
The rekomarket operates via Facebook is closed groups in which orders and deliveries are agreed upon. The groups are run by volunteers and no one receives payment for their contribution. Rekoitself is an abbreviation of a term that translates into sincere consumption. It's based on many different ideas of direct food distribution, such as local markets and alternative food networks, such as CSH.
The purpose of a rekoring is to establish an online local food market, offering an effective, direct, and easy way for both local producers to distribute and get their product. The communication all takes place through a closed Facebook group where consumers pre-order local food directly from local food producers and pay for it there.
The drop-off takes place at a fixed time at a predefined place without any fees. Producers are responsible for their own distribution and they're obligated to follow local food and safety regulations. All of the administration work on the Facebook page is based on the voluntary work of administrators, consumers, and producers of local food.
In this respect, Rico rains defy the standard market models. Rico started in Finland back in 2013, as a way to explore solutions to the problems that local food producers experienced. In getting access to traditional distribution today, Ricoh rings have spread throughout Scandinavia Europe and are slowly making their way around the world.
That's what rekorings are. Now. Let's get to the main interview with someone who's been involved, running and selling into a rekoring for a few years. It's Buddha brow of Los Peros, urban farming.
When you guys got into the rekoring that you have, was that something that you joined an existing one of, or did you play an active role in starting it up?
Buddha Browett: [00:03:49] So when you started the one here in Multnomah, so reccurring Multnomah with a couple of friends. so few of us got together and we'd heard about this platform before, started in Finland and we thought, we'll give it a try. Basically, we needed a new platform and we thought this one would, might be way.
Diego: [00:04:06] how long now has that one been active?
Buddha Browett: [00:04:10] We go back in time we just done three years, last week, actually. that was from the first meeting we had. And then we had the first light drop-off I think it was around the start of may. So certainly will be three years worth of doing drop-offs having drop-offs every single week for almost three years.
Diego: [00:04:26] Now, with three years of experience into this, how would you say it is gone?
Buddha Browett: [00:04:32] It's exploded. It's gone. It's gone out of control in a positive way. which is amazing. Like I said, when we all sat down around the table that day, it was like, Oh, maybe this will work. And to see how well it's gone has just been incredible.
so the last time you and I spoke was over a year ago now. And I think we were just over like 10,000 members. And now as of today, over 18,000 members in the group. So it's growing really fast. and people are really enjoying
Diego: [00:05:04] it. Do you find that sales go up as the group grows? Or is there just some people in there spectating, are the people joining the ring actively participating in purchasing? I get maybe not every week, but do you notice sales trend upward as the group does get bigger?
Buddha Browett: [00:05:24] Yes and no. yes. From when it began and that was, three, three people to choose from, but now we, the 18,000, there's definitely not 18,000 people shopping each week. but also having more variation there.
So there's more people like there's more people selling, and there's more people buying. So overall there would be like a slight increase all the time. So it's definitely going up. but at the same time, it's also there's more fruit and message of suppliers. So there's more people selling vantage. There's more people, there's more people doing everything all the time. w which way to say as a positive thing,
Diego: [00:06:01] based on what I've read about this, and from our past conversation, I look at this as an online farmer's market. Is that a fair comparison?
Buddha Browett: [00:06:11] That's how I like to describe it as an online farmer's market. So on a Sunday night, you can sit on your couch and you can watch Netflix. And when you realize that you're getting bored and you start scrolling through Facebook, you can, the, your farmer's market shopping and the company home. And then it's say also it's a cross between a farmer's market and like a car boot sale and maybe like speed dating.
So then you order whatever you want to order, you go down to the central pickup point once a week when the drop-off is all the producers are there. So everyone's got the car open or their bikes parked. And then the people who have bought something, come down, go to the different suppliers, pick up what they want, shake some hands, have a little chat and then head off. So it's like a that's where the speed dating, like a super fast farmer's market with no legs.
Diego: [00:07:09] Yeah. Cause you're going with stuff that. people are going to get and to remind people on this, where, and when does the payment take place for these sales
Buddha Browett: [00:07:19] for us here in Sweden, we do the payments before.
Diego: [00:07:23] Okay. So let's run through an example of this. I come into your ring. I see low sparrows is a producer and I decide I want to buy some chili sauce. What do I do to ultimately get the chili sauce in my hand?
Buddha Browett: [00:07:37] So you've seen my ad on the, in that group. And then you Diego, right? I want chili sauce and then I will answer you. So there's ring has its own like way of doing it. How we do it here in myeloma, is you like the comment? I like the comment. Sorry. And then I will answer under it, okay, thanks for the order. That way. I'm confirming it with you. And then here in Sweden, we have a feature called swish, which is a, how you can pay directly through people's phone numbers.
you can have like business swish or things like that. So then they get the number. They'll send the payment through. I get that in my bank account instantly. so that way the sales being confirmed. So here in Malmo, we do drop offs every Thursday. So you do that anytime from say Friday, up until the Thursday.
And then Thursday night you come and pick it up and then you get to meet me. We shake hands. I handle the chili sauce and you make tacos
Diego: [00:08:37] when you reply back. Thanks for the order. Do you say, thanks for the order. Your chili sauce comes out to 12 euros, please submit payment using this number via swish.
Buddha Browett: [00:08:51] That's exactly right. No. Okay. and then I'll confirm with them after once I've received the swish, just so that everyone, so that they know, because it's nice to get that extra confirmation money's coming.
Diego: [00:09:03] And if somebody is looking at this in Facebook, so you have the group, you have a post, which is, here's what I have do you. Post all of your product that you have available in that same post, or are you posting chili sauce in one post ferments in another post vegetables in another post? Or is it, this is the lowest Paris post here's everything we have.
Buddha Browett: [00:09:25] Yeah. So are you doing everything you have post? So each producer is putting out what they have for the week. So I was can range from yeah. Mint to onions, to potatoes, to jelly sellers, to kimchi. So it can be quite long. And then you've got those really diverse farms, which you've got everything from, meat to honey, to vege, to lambskin sort of thing. So it can, they, some of the posts can be quite long. Some of the posts are just like we make, come on butcher.
So here is our product and they might have different flavors, but it might be a bit more within the theme. but everyone's doing so each business, if I say, is just putting one post and then that's up for that week. And then at the end of the week, once the we've had the pickup, when everyone's been done in the same spot for the drop-off, then the, all the posts are deleted.
Diego: [00:10:21] And we start again then on the backend, when an order comes in, you're just logging that into a spreadsheet or some way. So when it comes time for that pickup, You'll just go ahead. Pre-pack everything from that spreadsheet. Bring it down. Do you allow extra purchases at the time or is it you got what you bought and that's it
Buddha Browett: [00:10:43] So avoid any trouble with from a legal point of view? We, everything has to be pre-ordered so there's no sales at the site, that way, because otherwise then it would be a whole new set of rules and you'd have to apply for licenses because you're selling a product and all that. St. Anne's everything is prepaid on the front end, then they're purely, it's just a pickup.
Diego: [00:11:05] And then is your ring just have one pickup a week at one point that never changes?
Buddha Browett: [00:11:10] Yeah. So we have it in a big car park. and all the producers are down there slightly before. Yeah. Slightly before all the, people come and pick up there. Okay, good. So we'll try and get that before and centralize. And then everyone else comes after that, except for there's markets.
Diego: [00:11:29] For some people here in the States can be killer days. They might have a two hour drive at six hour farmer's market, a two hour drive back and an hour on each end picking up and tearing down. So it's a 12 hour day in general. Between driving to the site being there. What's your time commitment into the actual drop-off look like right now?
Buddha Browett: [00:11:52] Am I selling more products than fresh produce? Because of the time of year we have, it's more minimal on this side because everything's made, jelly sauce is on the shelves and stuff like that.
So we can take orders up until late in the day. We get everything together and go straight down. Again, not having that guesswork of how much do we need to pack and all that comes through the farmer's market, or that is excluded having to wait around. It's quite nice. And I know people like farmer's markets in the way that they get to socialize and have a chat.
But imagine if you got to have your entire eight hour farmer's market within the space of half an hour or one hour, like you get to meet and say hi to everyone, but it's also a bit faster. And then you leave with them D truck at the end of the day, drive back home. And you've had yeah, a super-intense farmer's market where you knew the exact outcome of how much you were going to make before you even made it there.
Diego: [00:12:53] Yeah. I love this speed dating analogy. I think it really does ring true. What is the set pickup window that you guys have? What's the longest? That would be. Or does it ever change? Hey, you have an hour to pick up your stuff. It's from six to 7:00 PM. Is it half an hour, two hours? What if you guys found works for your ring?
Buddha Browett: [00:13:14] And so we have less producers and it's also cold and we're standing outside. So we take it at half an hour. And now on Sunday, it's going to, the daylight savings is going to change here. We'll be going into spring and we'll be looking at stepping that up to maybe an hour. Drop-off so usually an hour in the summer and half an hour in the winter.
But again, everyone's reccurring that exists. It's up to the admin to the site really. it's a, and we're all doing this because we love it. None of us are getting paid and there's no fees in this at all. So it's really up to each admin group to make the rules. There's some set rules that you need to follow some basic guidelines. But when it comes to how long the drop-off or where it is, that's up to the people who are creating it.
Diego: [00:14:01] Of those basic guidelines for people who might want to start one here or somewhere else in the world?
Buddha Browett: [00:14:06] So here in Sweden, we have, I'm going to be doing some translating here. So bear with me, but it's one of the guidelines is that it is free, to be involved with anchoring. that you need to have, it needs to be transparent. So you need to have, there needs to be a trust built between both parties that every sale is between the person selling and the person buying. It's not like you can't come and complain to the admins that reccurring for something else. that's a conversation you have between each other.
Everything is pre-bought. so all the sales are done beforehand. That there's no middle hands is what it's all about. Really. so this is a way for you to meet your producers, producing your food, and you're only allowed to sell your own products. So again, that's goes with the, my mental hands and that it needs to be a food or something along the lines of food production.
But again, we've made an exception where we do have some beauty, like handmade deodorants and stuff like that as well in us. But that's up to each H in New Jersey and that's, what's on like the, this is the Swedish guidelines and then more or less the same, but it's also that the need to be, we have in hours that we need to be. Growing in an organic way, whether you're certified or not, but you need to be having that in mind. And then if you are using chemicals that we want that to be in your ad as well for the week.
Diego: [00:15:47] How many current producers do you have in your group right now?
Buddha Browett: [00:15:51] in our group? again, it's a bit like that. We have 18,000 members in the group. We have. Nissan. We have 283 members in group. but some of those are double up like both Sophia and I are in the producers group. So for us like justice from a, like logistics, sorry, a Facebook logistic point of view, you have the main group, the record in Malmo in our case.
And then you have. the producers of reccurring mama as a separate group, so that we can all speak to each other. if we need an important post or each week we put out, okay, now it's almost time for the drop off. Make sure that you're there and you have your signage and then it's easy and there's a traffic jam on this road. If there's something like that. And then we also have an admin group as well. So three separate groups just for our one equity.
Diego: [00:16:44] Okay. So it really is. Free market system trust the person you're buying from trust, the person buying from you, abide by the rules with that many producers. How do you avoid confusion in posts?
Let's just say on any given week, even a hundred of those producers are going to be selling a product. That's now a hundred posts going up a week. I imagine it can be easy for any one producer to get lost in the mix. Is it just what it is? And it's how it works and it functions fine. Or is there some concern about, at some point, this is enough producers, I think of this online farmer's market analogy.
Some farmer's markets will say we want a couple meat producers, but we don't need six people selling beef and we don't need. 80 people selling vegetables. How have you guys manage that as admins of the group to really provide the best service to people looking to use it? So they're not just lost in the confusion and there is actually, I don't want to say fair, but enough opportunity for a producer to participate.
Buddha Browett: [00:18:02] it happens pretty organically in the way that. If there's say seven different people selling Teresa one week, it tends to be like, whoever, if someone has a good product, then they're the ones who tend to get the sales. Or if someone is not putting out, or if someone doesn't have a good product to sell, then they tend to wean themselves out of the group.
At the moment, because it's a weekly thing and it's like, it happens every week and there's quite a bit of sitting on Facebook and answering posts behind it. That it actually means that like we're right now, we're averaging around 30 to 40 producers a week who sell each week and now we'll be in the winter.
It's quite meat, heavy I'm products. So there's not much green light. You've got micro greens and a couple of people who've got some salad, but otherwise it's, it's quite what's the word, meat and shelf, stable products, eggs and flour and stuff like that. But once the season kicks in, then we're going to, we're going to get busy and we as everything that we've done, we just sorta take it as it comes.
So we try and have an open dialogue with everyone who's producing. Where 10 admins in the admin group. And each week before an ad goes up, like we have to approve it. So we tend to look through and see okay, is it good? Okay. Is this, and most people are coming back week to week. So then they know the drill.
When it's a new producer that comes in, then we tend to look at it a little bit carefully. We always read through it, but we tend to look through more carefully about what are they selling and are they being clear with what they're selling and how to do it? And is it their product and all those sorts of basic guidelines stuff as well.
Diego: [00:19:57] So those would be the things that you'd be rejecting, not selling your product, not a fit for the group. Maybe incomplete information in the post, those types of things.
Buddha Browett: [00:20:06] Yeah. And, yeah. So say someone forgot to write. I don't know if they're making a soft drink and they're selling that out of local ingredients and they forgot to write what the ingredients were. Then we would write Hey, you need to put the ingredients was done. And then that would change hands before we approve it and put it out.
Diego: [00:20:22] Can people include photos and video in their posts?
Buddha Browett: [00:20:26] So Val posts that's up right now. We have, we're selling. Kimchis and sauerkrauts and chili sauces marmalades and stuff like that.
And we have photos of each product and then a little like description under the photo as well, which you also don't need because you have the main text. And the main text that we have is it says who we are so lost pedals. I've been farming for drop off this state, pick up, at this age and, what we're selling and then a list of all the products that we sell.
And then underneath that, a little story about us. So let's go to seven. Farming started in, six years ago and that splitter and Sophia, and this is what we do so that people can get a little history. And then under that, we also have an ingredients list of everything that's in all of the products that we sell.
Diego: [00:21:16] Okay. Is there any sort of posting. Restrictions. I'm assuming it's each producer composed once per week. Can you just post it any time you want that week?
Buddha Browett: [00:21:27] Yeah. if you think about it the longer it's up, the more eyes you potentially haven't seen your ad. So if we have drop off on Thursday night, we try and take them. The ads we, what we've done with the admins is that we try and take a month by month where you have someone who's. No, I'm responsible for taking care of the online side of things. Like we try and give it to one or two people there and that admins, and then when we also have one or two, the admin, so it would be in charge for that month of, down at the kalpa, who can help people like, Oh, where is this farm? Or where is that sort of point and act as there's guidance down there. Okay.
Diego: [00:22:07] So I didn't even think of that. So after each pickup, Board essentially starts fresh. You wipe off all the previous ads that were timed to that pickup.
Buddha Browett: [00:22:17] Yeah. The whole slate is clean because otherwise you can get confused with all that.
Diego: [00:22:21] And so it's like a true free market here in the sense of what you said your product is going to have to speak for itself. Maybe there's a bunch of people producing what you are. It becomes a branding product quality thing. So I'm assuming you don't outside of a producer, meeting the guidelines. There is no filtering of letting people into the group.
If you can meet the guidelines, you can get into the group, whether we have 50 vege producers or whether we have 10, you're welcome to come in.
Buddha Browett: [00:22:53] That's how we do our stone here, but I know that different, there's other recordings where they have okay, now we have a meat supplier, so there's no more first year now we have someone doing dairy normal.
but we like it. We like that three freedom of being able to be more and Seymour, but again, it's ever evolving. So really we take it as it comes
Diego: [00:23:14] the customer side. Is that behind any sort of questionnaire wall at all? Or, could I literally look for your ring right now? Hit join bam. I'm in the group theory.
Buddha Browett: [00:23:25] Yes. But, yeah. And then as well, as sad means always have we have to approve each ad or each post that gets posted because the only in theory, the only people that should be posting on the wall, producers. So if someone writes like, Hey, do you have eggs this week? we don't allow that post and we'll write to that person, Hey, we have a search feature.
You can search in the, through the group. Cause otherwise it's already quite a lot. And to have more of that's the way we realized we can live with it. And then anyone spamming, then we just take them out of the group with
Diego: [00:23:59] 200 producers. Obviously they're not all selling every week. If you're in part of the admin group, that's in charge of approving ads that week. About how long do you spend doing that?
Buddha Browett: [00:24:11] the actual ads. doesn't take that much time, but this has always, there's always quite a lot to do actually. And for myself, I've taken it more of a step back from the admin group and I've been like, I've been quite open with the rest of the admins and said juggling a farm and a cafe and a three-year-old is, is quite a lot, but I'm still trying to be as vocal as I can.
And we have a, we also have a chat group with the admin so that if there's ever No, just little questions. You can just throw it in the chat and we try and be vocal there as much as we can. It's all just about being a good team.
Diego: [00:24:45] And does somebody have a couple hours into this a week?
Buddha Browett: [00:24:47] You had to be a few hours to show it takes time, but I also think that it's worth it in the way that if you compare it to a farmer's market, that you, that's time that you would probably spend walking around or. Not having any sales or whatever it might be like. It's, it wasn't, and that's if you're an admin. there's other people who are selling who on admin status show up, put them at each week and show up.
Diego: [00:25:10] And so do you admins that are consumers not producers? I was reading and he was saying, some groups are just managed by consumers, themselves. That they've started it. What is it with your ring? Is it a mix or is it all straight producers of admins
Buddha Browett: [00:25:29] Al group now at all producers? we have one in the I've made, who's like a hobby gorilla and we used to have someone who was a consumer, but she's dropped out now.
So Melville produces from all different areas as well. So it's quite fun when you have my knowledge of the meat industry and the rules behind that have very limited. So then when you have like meat producers who want to come in and there's like technical questions of, I dunno if it's say wild meat.
usually it's a Hunter who catches the wild meat and then they send it to a butcher and then the butcher's selling it. But now the Butch has become a middle hat. And we've said, no middle hands. And then it's like these weird, like technicalities where I feel like this is not my expertise whatsoever.
So then one of the other admins or a few of the other admins who are producers, that's where they can step in. So that's really handy to be like quite diverse, some admin group as well.
Diego: [00:26:28] If you look at your farm between crafting the ad on any given week, And responding to the orders and comments that people post questions, the customer service side of things. If we just stop it there, we're not including packing or drop off, but just the online portion for 30 to 40 orders a week. How much time are you putting into that as a producer?
Buddha Browett: [00:26:55] say you got 30, 40 hours a week. No back and forth thing, like maybe send two, three messages to each customer. So maybe that's, I dunno, a couple of minutes each, but all up. Maybe an hour, maybe two hours in getting a post out and doing all that sort of stuff. somewhere around that. it's sometimes it's easy to sit down and work for two hours, rather. It is do two hours of work over an entire week as well. Feels like it's more.
Diego: [00:27:28] And if you're an admin and a producer, you're going to be putting in probably the same amount of time that you would if you went to a farmer's market, but you're getting the advantages of having it prepaid, selling exactly what you're going to bring.
There's no guesswork there. And I think there's some advantage in having. Distributed hours where a farmer's market is a huge block. One day a week or multiple days a week. This might be six hours over the course of the week, but you can do it at 6:00 AM if you want, or you could do it at midnight. If you want, you got five minutes free, you can respond to a post.
It's not requiring these big chunks of time, which might work better for schedules, for people who have kids and things like that.
Buddha Browett: [00:28:17] That's it when having a kid and okay. But I can, walk out of the room and reply to military posts real quick. It's both good and bad. Cause at sometimes you feel like you're always working, but at the other time, it's yeah, but now I can focus a hundred percent or 98% on my child.
And then, I can duck out for a little bit, answer a little bit, come back and then I can still be, I think that it's a great way of doing it. Sometimes, I wish that Facebook wasn't the platform and there are other platforms and, but most people are on Facebook. like that's one of those things that we'd have to realize let's face it. This is the best platform and this is the easiest way to do it. So that's what we went for.
Diego: [00:28:59] So given that it's easy, farmer somewhere else in the world. I like this idea. I want to start one of these. I'm going to Outline how I think you have to do it and you correct me or fill in details where I'm wrong.
I'm going to approach one other farm to help me with this. And we're going to start a ring up and we'll call it the Kansas city, Missouri food ring. It's a Facebook group. It's a closed group where the two admins will also start a. Separate group for just producers who are going to join, we'll start an admin group. We'll post the guidelines into the main group of like how this all works and we're off and running like that. It's that simple.
Buddha Browett: [00:29:54] Yeah. there's no trademark on reco, but as I understand and I'd have to why you couldn't think of it as a state? I came from Finland, it's crept across the pond.
And now that in Sweden, I think it's heading out, it's in the hallway and I've heard people saying that it's not even Germany and Poland and it feels like it's such a simple concept that it feels like what's the catch. I think the catch is that it's just people who want other people to eat real food and that's it. We just want to support local. We just want to be able to do it. So it's just to get up and do it as long as you're the rules.
Diego: [00:30:35] What's the name of the ring?
Buddha Browett: [00:30:37] as it's called recurring Malmo. So Malmo is the name of the city we live in. and it's yeah, as I said, it's become really big. And now whereabouts to start, like a friends are going to start another ring within the city of Molalla, or there's already another one called recurringly.
Mom is going to be another one called reccurring Healia. So I think when we spoke a year and a half ago, we were the only one in our entire state, like in this region. And now there's. Maybe somewhere around 50. So they're popping up everywhere and everyone's it's becoming more of a household name, which is brilliant.
Diego: [00:31:12] I asked because over here, reko terminology, it's not recognized. Like I don't think people are going to see that on Facebook and say, Oh, that's what that is. So I think if you're going to start a group in the us or Canada, you're going to have to find some way to brand that where people are going to.
Realize what it is, where I think you guys in Scandinavia are very familiar with that concept, going back to 2013, it's, well-established people see reco, they know what it is over here. You put reco, Kansas city, Missouri, people are going to say, what is that? I don't know what that is. So you'd have to probably get creative and branding it over here to operate under those guidelines.
Buddha Browett: [00:31:53] Yeah, I agree with you. But I also think that women waste on it. I've never heard of it. Okay. Okay.
Diego: [00:31:59] Fair enough.
Buddha Browett: [00:32:00] When we started, no one really knew what it was,
Diego: [00:32:03] so roll with it.
Buddha Browett: [00:32:03] Yeah.
Diego: [00:32:04] I guess there was some curiosity too in it people were like, recoloring, what's rekogets people at least intrigued by it.
Buddha Browett: [00:32:11] I think it's, I think it's cool. I think it's a fun time. And then it's also, joining the movement and then there'll be even more fun. Not at all the cross, the other big, fun, too, that way and made it to the state.
Diego: [00:32:22] Yeah, fair point. Okay. I'll walk back my previous, take on rebranding and don't do that. Could one good one person manage this?
Buddha Browett: [00:32:30] One could manage it. It depends how big it gets. I know that there are groups where there's only one admin. when other the biggest recurring in Sweden. So that's why we are so many.
Diego: [00:32:40] when you initially started it, how did you get other producers to join?
Buddha Browett: [00:32:48] let me start it. It was. ask last patterns of farming. Neighbors landed us, one of our other farming neighbors. called bloom coast collective, who are actually farming anymore. So we were three farms restarted, and then we realized that we needed to get more people down there. So it was like we did contacted people that we thought.
So we knew that there was a local farm that was producing flour and eggs. Anaconda. So we called them up and sent a message. We had an him for night, one time and invited local, small producers to come to it. And most of them loved it. so then they came and they thought it was a good idea.
so they sold the first one and then they're still selling today. They sell out every week. And us fruit and veg like the veggie suppliers. We have a shorter season, so we can't be there year round, but it's pretty cool to see that it does actually work year round. So I counted that we had, I think it was 30. We were plus 30 producers on the, like the 2nd of January. So it was dark, like real, dark and cold. And we had 30 plus producers. I don't know, however many hundred people down there buying food out of the back of someone's car. to see the. To see that, it was like, all right, this is cool. This works. People are brilliant.
Diego: [00:34:20] Yeah. I love hearing the success of, and I'm thinking, like you said, what's the catch. Is there any negative to doing this? What has been the bad experience of this? Is there even if it's mild,
Buddha Browett: [00:34:34] As for admins, as I said, the other admins do a lot more than myself right now, and they're really working a lot in Mike. Playing police of no, someone wants to sell olive oil. Okay. But olives don't grow here in Sweden, but if like you get that hard, Oh yeah, no, you can't. But then now it's okay, someone wants to sell coffee. Yeah. But coffee doesn't grow. You're in Sweden. But then it's also, yeah, but it's the roasting of the coffee that is considered like the Han, like the autism part of it, like the way you're really putting in that skill and how you roast coffee, determined the flavor of it so much that it becomes something else rather than just the beans.
And you have to play those police style games. Okay. But do we allow that because if we don't allow the coffee. Then what did we say about someone who making Proliance or chocolate or what do we say about someone who's making kombucha? Because the they're using tea lag. how do you draw the line and how do you again then that, so that's one example and another one would be like that.
We say it's the smallest scale I give a who's deciding what small scale is. Stuff like that, which kind of sucks. But otherwise I would say it feels like it's, it takes quite a lot of time. And then, but for us, like with the small scale example, I feel a lot like when companies get big, but they don't really see a need for this platform anymore.
They grow out of it. That's. we haven't really seen any big companies come in here and want to sell. So we haven't really had that problem, but I dunno, I feel like it's, maybe it's just chicken things for them. So that's, they've moved on. They're on bigger things. They're selling to the big supermarket chains.
Diego: [00:36:31] I think that's a fair point. And if those are the problems that you've dealt with over the past three years of what should we allow on? What should we not? That's a pretty fair trade. I think with anything there's going to be time and work involved. I see this model. And I don't see why it wouldn't work in the us, especially in some of the bigger cities.
I look at an area like Portland, and I think, man, this thing would do so well or Seattle or Los Angeles, even so many people are on Facebook. There's no charge to use the platform. Like you can just reach the people you want to reach. There's no cost. To trying other than a little bit of sweat and time to establish this, and then you just put it out into the world and see what happens.
But the thing I love too, is like a farm could turn this on today. they could listen to this podcast and have this thing going within an hour afterwards and get started.
Buddha Browett: [00:37:38] Yep. That's it. It's And that everyone's on an equal playing field. if you're just starting up Diego's chickens and you start tomorrow, you not have a platform that you can sell. You don't have to try and getting into the farmer's market because they're all full. You don't have to try and get into local supermarket. You all of a sudden have as much reach as whoever the next biggest chicken supplier is next door to you.
Diego: [00:37:59] You can borrow their branding, essentially, because if I have, Oh, I'm in there with Los Perros, they've been established for a while. I'm just starting out. People are going to go there to see those perils. And they're also going to see
Buddha Browett: [00:38:09] where you and I a side-by-side all of a sudden, so that's fun. so when we started, we said like that we were allowing how B grow is, but then we sorta, because we want it to be a platform where people can.
Test, they can test the waters and that they can see, is this something I want to do? Do I want to become another farmer or whatever it might be? And I feel like we have lots of discussions about this exact point and it goes back and forth. But then we sorta decided now, if they're going to be hobby, then they can do it, but they can get, a few tries.
And then if they see that it works, then they have to have the intention of doing it, as a business of stepping into the next step. So we want it to be for real businesses. We don't want it to be like acutely in a platform where, you made some jam this weekend and you've got some extra, we want it to look professional and classy and than it is.
No good food coming out of it, because at the end of the day, if you're selling something sloppy that doesn't look good or tastes good, or you're not following the guidelines or health regulations, then that also affects the entire ring because then someone bought saying, bad off record rather than bad of that particular farmer.
That's the thing that we were saying, one of the main guidelines that you need to have that trust, but there needs to be open and that you need to be. In it for the intention of growing and doing this as a profession, we're giving you a platform and jumping bullet to go off.
Diego: [00:39:45] Did you guys do anything to actively recruit consumers in the beginning? I'm thinking if a farm starts this up now, or a couple of producers get together to start this up now. They can put it out on their Instagram. They can send it to their email lists. We're now selling in this way. Come check it out. There's no cost. What did you guys do to get that following and has it largely just been word of mouth? Yeah, it's built over time.
Buddha Browett: [00:40:14] Mostly word of mouth. I love us. All of us put it in our social media and stuff like that because it's rounding through social media, so it's quite easy to do. It's a closed group. So a lot of it is you can add the link and people can join. Then, once you joined the group, it's, someone does it and they realize wow, I met this local farmer. How cool is that? Cause it's really, it's pretty cool. It's pretty cool to know exactly where your food's coming from to be able to get that food and to be able to cook dinner and have that story when you're not at the dinner table, it's something special.
So we, we start before we started our first drop off, we had that info like, and then the rest of it's just been. Really what amounts it's just gone all naturally
Diego: [00:41:01] love the idea of it. Love the concept of it. I want to thank you for coming on today in very short notice to record this, I hope it helps people here in the States and around the world. That platform that I think has a lot of potential for people that want to see your ring and how it's functioning, how can they go find it?
Buddha Browett: [00:41:24] we try and keep their age ring as like potential customers. So you, as I said, it's a closed group, but as it's called recurring myeloma, if you're in a good way to do it, is there's, someone made a Google maps and so you can look up reccurring Sweden on Google and you can actually see all the different drop off points.
Diego: [00:41:44] It's one thing. if I was a local producer of anything, I just don't see the harm in not doing it. You have it, Buddha, brow it on Raechel rates. What do you think would this work in your area? Is it something that you want to try? I love the idea of this model. And there'll be more models that we explore coming up over the next few weeks in this online selling mini series, stay tuned for those shows every Monday.
I hope you enjoyed this episode, but more importantly, I hope it helped. And I hope this whole series helps make your business more diverse in more. Anti-fragile thanks for listening until next time. Be nice. Be thankful. And do the work.
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One reply on “Selling Produce Online with Reko-Rings (FSFS206)“
THANK YOU so much for this inspiring episode about REKO rings, Diego. We’ve been inspired by watching the new REKO rings in the US start to take off. The Community Alliance for Family Farmers and the Center for Land-Based Learning in California are hosting a webinar about REKO rings on May 27. We have three presenters from rings in the US to talk about how the model is working for them. If you find it appropriate to share this with your listeners/views, please share this link: https://www.facebook.com/events/704241567069435/
Again, thanks for the inspiration (and hope) in this time of change.