Instance Managers Circle Meeting: Q2 2023 (Combined Agenda and Minutes)

# Facilitator/s: Evonne

# Note taker/s: Bernie

# Meeting time:

  • Tuesday/Wednesday 11/12: Tuesday 11 April 8pm / 2000 hrs UTC

# Meeting link:

# Notes from last meeting: [Instance Managers Circle Meeting: Q1 2023 (Instance Managers Circle Meeting: Q1 2023 (Combined Agenda and Minutes))

# Participants:

  • Australia - Amida

  • Greece - Petros

  • Ireland - Evonne Boland

  • New Zealand - Bernie Mabbs

  • UK - Nick Weir, Patrick Mallery, Aaron

  • USA - Kent Lorentzen, Sara George

  • Brazil

  • Belgium

  • Canada

  • France

  • Germany

  • India

  • Italy

  • Iberian peninsular (Catalonia, Spain, Portugal)

  • South Africa

# Meeting recording: [Playback]


Check in

New Global Roles:
@dthomas explains his strategic role in this 8 minute video

@Petros_OFN_GR, Global Finance Administrator

Petros has met with most core instances to identify issues and improvements. Exploring:

  • How to keep with financial processes e.g. monthly updates of global spreadsheet with current balance - have a clear view of cash flow and cash runway
  • How to optimise or reshape existing processes and costs, create new tools that will help us run the financial projections in a more transparent way into the future.
  • How to enhance performance of new and emerging instances.
  • Thinking more strategically.
  • Communication, coordination - are all IM on the same page? Observation that each instance is running its own race.


  • How to make contributions to the global pot
  • Reassuring to know that there is oversight to help us be more effective and look more grown up to funders
  • Suggestion for Annual Appeal across all instances

@lauriewayne1 explains the Community Weaver role in this 2.5 minute video


  • Finance: Some confusion on who makes decisions around funding allocations - is there a wiki/handbook on e.g. how do you update a global product sheet; N8N server went down - is UK paying for this? Who pays for what e.g. when costs increase.
  • The network is incredibly complex for new instances, not talking about software, but communications e.g.1) Discourse where there are multiple posts happening on multiple topics; 2) Slack.
  • Concern that Laurie’s role could get quite big - recognise that we all need to take some responsibility and not reinvent the wheel/duplicate work. Need to make it easier for new people.
  • Onboarding instances and people - create a space where information easy to find.
  • Need to understand what integrations exist or have already been built by other instances.
  • Develop an index/central repository
  • OFN Handbook - who is the audience? Designed for new instances - probably needs updating. There is a separate GitBook for developers.



  • Integrations and automations for managing instance more proactively: Evonne

  • What are Instances doing now & what can be shared? What’s the best way to share?

  • Communication within the IM Circle - is the Slack channel useful? What do you need from this Circle, what would be most useful for your needs as an IM?

Discussion points:

  • Poll - propose voting on priority of instance issues and proposed decisions/resolutions to guide next IM Circle meeting
  • How engaged are quieter instances on Slack, how can we remove some of the noise for IM Circle content?
  • IM Circle purpose - info sharing or sociocratic decision-making. Attendance patchy impacting circle effectiveness.
  • User support and troubleshooting
  • Running a business - community of practice
  • Have more of a strategic decision making role - not all instances are represented in the Stewardship Circle
  • New feature development - guide product development roadmap e.g. which feature would be more effectively/easily monetised. How to convert to more organic revenue


Proposed Skill Shares -

  • N8N Overview

N8N Integrations - opportunities and process for managing the wishlist pipeline

@amida will follow up on status of work on N8N repository. Caution raised around propriety nature of N8N.

  • Self-care for Instance Managers



Hi! This is from Slack! :slight_smile:

From Aaron H:
What came up in IM call this week was re purpose of this channel / group, there seemed to be 3:

  1. Ask tech/platform related questions (support)
  2. Share / explore ways of running instances (business)
  3. Make decisions on how we run OFN (governance)

There was talk of splitting off (1) into a separate channel as this is most of the chat on this channel, and for larger instances who don’t have one person covering multiple roles (like UK), we end up having multiple people in this channel as it covers lots of different things. Not sure how useful / relevant this is but thought I’d share!

Response from @lauriewayne1 in Slack:
Hey @Aaron Hirtenstein haha don’t we all want just what is relevant! :slightly_smiling_face: Really most people do not use the group tagging function so realistically being in or not in the group won’t materially change the noise level, I don’t think. Darn, I wish I had seen that topic in the agenda for the IM meeting (as you might expect, I have opinions haha!).

I would have shared a couple of possibly-helpful links from previous incarnations of this conversation on Discourse: an explanation of the IM category, and a description of the original idea of the IM circle and there are a few other items of interest in that corner of the Discourse world.

One of the conclusions to note that came out of those early conversations is that Slack is one of several tools we have at hand to support the IM role. It’s really good for some things (quick conversations/questions in text or real time via a huddle and answers/announcements) and horrible at other things (searchability, document versioning). We don’t have to use Slack for everything, and we don’t have to use tools in isolation. Our idea is that for non-urgent/non-quick topics where conversations and the evolution of ideas takes place over months or years, Discourse or Gitbook offer serious advantages over Slack. For attention-getting and day to day things that don’t need to be persistent or ongoing, Slack is a superstar (including for pointing out that specific discourse posts are in need of reading or response).

So for me, I might suggest that Instance Managers - Open Food Network Community would be a good place to discuss business, funding, business models, and legal/organizational challenges and solutions. In fact, I am at the point of being a big hypocrite right now, because I am using Slack to make a looooong post that should really be in Discourse.

I am interested in the third item too - I’ll watch the recording (haha so hard to attend a meeting after the fact) to understand who the “we” are and what “run” means.

And in the meantime I think I will copy this whole response over to discourse. Maybe see you there?

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