Project of the Day: The Open Food Network

The Open Food Network is a free, open source project aimed at supporting diverse food enterprises and easy access to local and sustainable food.They’re not only addressing one of the critical issues of our time (and future), they’re also “…proudly open source and not for profit”, working under P2P protocols. Please support their current crowdfunding campaign. Watch the video, read the campaign description below,  and spread the word about this most inspiring initiative. We hope to see many Open Food Networks around the world; we believe that this campaign is a critical step towards the attainment of that goal.

From the Campaign Page:

We are building the Open Food Network to put control of the food system in the hands of farmers and eaters. Join Us!

The Open Food Network is an open, online marketplace that makes it easy to find, buy, sell and move sustainable local food. It gives farmers and food hubs easier and fairer ways to distribute food, while opening up the supply chain so eaters can see what’s going on.

It’s good for farmers, good for eaters and good for the food hubs, local businesses and communities that want real food.

We are proudly open source and not for profit – creating software with and for the global fair food movement. Contribute now to get this platform launched for use by farmers and food hubs in Australia, with the software available for use all around the world!

We know that OFN has the potential to really disrupt our food systems – in a good way. But we need you to get on board now and help make it happen.

How will OFN help fix the food system?

Lots of people are working to break the stranglehold that supermarkets and large agribusiness have over our food system. We’ve spent 3 years talking with many farmers, producers, eaters and local enterprises (like food hubs, independent retailers and co-ops) about how we can work together to take back control of our food. The Open Food Network is our response.

By turning the existing food system on its head, the Open Food Network provides efficient ways for buyers (hubs) to connect with many smaller sellers (producers) and distribute food into their communities.

GOOD for Farmers and Producers

There is currently a big gap between selling through “the big guys” or doing everything themselves to distribute directly to eaters e.g. setting up and running their own online store, farm gate sales and farmers’ markets. For many farmers, these are not enough and take time away from the important work of growing our food.

Farmers need scalable, sustainable systems for distributing their food.

OFN makes it easier for farmers to sell directly and possible for them to work together and with others (like food hubs) to streamline marketing and distribution, while maintaining full transparency and control. With the OFN, farmers have the freedom to set prices, choose who they trade with, when, how often and under what terms.



GOOD for Eaters

It’s time to reconnect with our food! We’re ready to abandon the supermarkets and get good, honest produce from people we know. But sometimes it’s hard work to shop and eat locally.

OFN makes it easy to access locally grown food direct from the grower or transparently through hubs. Just go online, find what’s near you and shop . .

It’s like an online shopping centre, full of local food!


GOOD for Communities and Food Hubs

“Middle men” matter . . the problem is when there are only two! We want every community to have many different ways to get sustainable, local food. Local food enterprises – like buying groups, co-ops or larger scale wholesalers, retailers (and everything in between) can make this possible.

OFN provides simple online ordering and shopping tools that make it easy to set up a hub and start moving food – while keeping the farmers and prices transparent all the way through. It removes admin barriers to small and medium sized food hubs working with local farmers

The OFN provides an ultra-flexible system for food hubs, enabling communities to set up what they need. Food hubs using OFN have complete freedom over:

– Your customers – whether they are households, buying groups, institutions, food service etc

– Your mark-ups and fees – OFN has a flexible fee structure so you can set it up how you want it, easy, transparent, independent

– Who you work with – OFN supports diverse networks, partnerships and social enterprise, with relationships and flexible fee structures



The Open Food Network:

– is an online marketplace that farmers and local hubs can use to distribute food
– makes it easier to find, buy, sell and move sustainable local food
– is software that helps organise the trade and distribution of locally grown food
– lets you manage your ordering, scheduling, payment and delivery cycles
– lets eaters order locally grown food from their chosen hub
– puts eaters in touch with the people who grow their food
– lets farmers list their own produce, set their prices and tell their own stories
– basic trading is free for farmers and eaters to use
– is proudly open source and not for profit

Tipping Point Goal: $25,000

Total Funding Goal: $100,000

Tipping Point Goal

We’ve done the numbers and – together with grant funds and some blood, sweat and tears – an additional $25,000 will get the software to the point where we can launch an ‘open beta’ OFN service in Australia (open to anyone in Australia to use for profiles and basic trading). The money will go towards designers, engineers, developers and testers.

This is our tipping point goal. If we raise this amount, the campaign will be a success and we’ll get your pledged donation.  If not, we won’t get anything.  Please help us at least make our tipping point which will get the basic OFN into the hands of all the farmers and communities that need it!


Ultimate Goal

 Additional funds raised up to $100K will build the features we need for a full beta public launch in March 2015.

Amazing volunteers, our own money, and seed grants from VicHealth and Sustainable Table have enabled us to get this far. And we’ve been able to provide enough features to do working trials with our fabulous hub partners in Australia and abroad. But there’s so much more that could be done.

We understand what is needed. If we raise more money, we can build more of it.

Word is spreading and there are food hubs, networks and developers around the world who are keen to get on board. We want to help that happen . . so

Funds raised over $5,000 in any individual country will support a mini-pilot with partners in that country. It would be amazing to raise enough funds to build features AND set-up local chapters internationally.

Want to be part of it? Pledge now . . and we’ll reward you . .

You can see the gifts to the right of the page, and they include:

Rewards for individuals and fans:

OFN computer stickers, shopping bag and food hub friends calendar.

In Australia, you can also support hubs in areas that need them most, participate in #openfarm day and come to our launch party!

“This is useful, I want it now” . . (rewards for enterprises – producers and hubs):

An OFN profile and help shape what comes next

In Australia, you can also get a basic online store of your own set-up; be part of our #openroad training and promotional tour; and/or access higher levels of support for more complex hub set-ups

For organisations and local / regional networks: promote your organisations and network by being one of our first groups – you’ll get set-up, training and profiles for your member enterprises or stakeholders.

You can help us by contributing funds to the campaign using the donation buttons on the right. Every little bit makes a difference, so even if you can only spare $20, we will absolutely put it to good use.

Also – tell your friends! We’d love if you could share our campaign on social media and talk to anyone you know in the food industry about what we’re doing.  Can you send an email to a local farmer or producer? Do you know anyone with a passion for great quality food?  Please tell them about us and ask if they can help.

We believe in open and transparent processes and working for the common good.

We live this philosophy in the way we are developing the Open Food Network.  The OFN is an open source project, which means the code we develop is publicly available for anyone to use and change. In addition, we are building up detailed documentation on the Open Food Commons for anyone who wants to go deeper, and see how we’re spending your money. You can keep an eye on us throughout the development process and see what we’re up to every step of the way.

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