Documenting the process of establishing a new instance of OFN.
Why should I create a local OFN?
Most distribution systems are obscure… a few big groups control a very important share of the market. The farmers and eaters don’t really have a say on which products they want to grow/eat, how it’s been produced, the prices they should get/pay for those products for the system to be fair and sustainable.
OFN can be a powerful lever to create a transparent food system and enable consumers and producers to connect, either directly, or through the middlemen that they want, each one being autonomous.
How to start step by step:
Build a team. Share the project locally connect with people who may be interested in it. Get in touch with existing hubs (buying clubs, CSA, …) producers and consumers. Establish the needs of your community but remember think big and broad and know that this is possible, you can make a difference
You can also use social media, participate to conferences, to gather interest in the project, and survey consumers and producers if you feel it’s needed.
In parallel, build a “minimum valuable product” of the platform so that beta testers can start using it, and you can build your local version with your users. To learn how to get the platform up and running, see this post.
With the relevant stakeholders, establish a legal entity, NGO, foundation, association, cooperative or company whose mission is in line with the OFN goals and values. This legal entity will enable your instance to look for grants, and also to invoice the hubs for the use of the platform…
… because you also need to find a sustainable business model to enable your local instance to work properly, as you will incur costs, (server hosting fees, domain registration, potentially a developer who can adapt some things on the platform, or develop specific features you need. Or a project developer who will communicate about your project so that potential users learn about it, and also provide support to the hubs. Your business model can be very light, and you can take a very little commission, but you need to think about it too.
Note: you will want to consider the region/territory that you wish to cover. Some countries work well with a single instance, some countries are best to connect with others to enable the critical mass required to be a strong non-profit, as well as open up for cross border trading (such as in Scandinavia)
Look for funding: crowd funding, donators, grants … we have worked on a database categorizing funds to cover regional, national, EU and global needs. Find chart and new topic here: Taking a collaborative & strategic approach to philanthropic funding
Start listing what you need to adapt for your local instance. For example language ( OFN in foreign languages), or you can also see in the wishlist what is already listed. You don’t have to wait for others to develop features you need, but then you need either to find someone who is ready to work on that volunteering, or find funds to pay someone to do it