Introducing a US-based For-Profit Potential Partner

Hi. We’re in the process of creating modifications to your fabulous program to use for our for-profit startup. I’m an entrepreneur who developed a passion for small local farmers and their food about 7 years ago (long story).

Kirsten and I talked about 2 weeks ago and she suggested I introduce myself.

I’m in Asheville, NC - a very local food-friendly place - and have a small team (6 people) of marketing, customer service and programming folks. None of us is very familiar with Rails, but we found someone who is.

Our plan is to adapt OFN to focus on farmers and other vendors at farmers markets in the US. There are already a number of commercial offerings in the US targeted at food hubs and we want to address a different market segment.

In a nutshell, the changes we plan to make will make the home page much smaller and focused on selling and we also want to simplify the consumer process to focus on picking up - no deliveries for now - and paying on pickup - no credit cards, etc.

We’ve been looking at some of the changes on your wishlist to see where our priorities overlap with yours to see if we can add value to the code base. One thing we definitely plan to do is to use the Google Maps API to geo-code and calculate distance between the consumer (using location services) and the farmers market. I think this is something many of you may find helpful.

We’re also very interested in making the product listing process much simpler for farmers.

We’ve discussed with Kirsten ways that we can coordinate to make work we do of mutual interest available to the overall project and we hope to be helpful. Although we’re a for-profit, we also believe strongly in the mission of local food and we want to be useful to the overall project. I’ve also developed a requirements document I’m willing to share with people who ask for it.

If any of you have a special interest in farmers markets, I’d love to make connections with you.

Cheers for now.


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just pinging @tim.honchel here - he is in the early stages of launching a branded OFN instance in the US. He might have ideas on how to collaborate with you.

Also just introducting myself - I am the non-tech lead on OFN-Canada. We have been talking here about the need for improved mapping and finding capacities in OFN, so I love what you are thinking and urge you to pursue this and adding enhancements to the open source code for us all to use. For example - we’ve talked about how it would be great if when a shopper comes to the OFN site - there is a feature where their location can be discovered (if enabled) and then they can search for products by distance - ie: “find hubs and farms close to me” . Second, we have wondered about ways to populate the map more quickly than one by one farm/firm entry. There are lots of other maps out there - is there a way to draw in that data and then have OFN ‘check it’ versus entering firms/farms individually?


We are in the USA and have been looking at a OFN instance as well. We Maybe with a few people working on it we can make it work in the US. The supply chain is horrible here and we have a strong hub that and around hundred farmers that would be looking to join us when we launch.

We are also planning an integration with ERPNext as a full back office solution. We have started to to build a farm vertical for it and hoping to push that out in the next few 6 months.

Just want to connect you 4 US folks together - @tim.honchel @woakes070048 @jveilleux and @neylonbill

see also: Introducing a US-based For-Profit Potential Partner and

I’m Theresa - I am the non-tech lead for the Canadian OFN Instance. If any of you want to ‘play around’ on a ‘live’ platform just email me - info at , Our platform isn’t configured for US zones - but you can use my address to experiment with a hub or whatever.

Welcome (now if any of you have interested contacts here north of the border, PLEASE send them my way. Its a little lonely up here :slight_smile: )

Hi everyone. I apologize for not responding until now. Thanks for pinging me Theresa.

I farm part-time and work part-time for the Arthur Morgan Institute for Community Solutions in Yellow Springs, Ohio. Community Solutions has for the past couple months been exploring the possibility of launching an OFN instance in the US, and has joined up with a few others with previous OFN experience. (@MikeiLL @eric) I’m excited to see interest coming from so many places and would be interested in collaborating. My time availability and software knowledge are currently pretty limited and I would love to see more people working on this. Maybe we could plan a short conference call to introduce ourselves and see how we can help one another? Here’s a poll link to see what time (EST) could work for the most people. (

We’ve only begun to have conversations and here’s a synopsis of where we are at.

  • Community Solutions, a 501©3 non-profit, is willing to serve as a fiscal sponsor for the OFN-US

  • Mike, a member of our group, has set up a staging site and would only need to renew the server contract to get the site up and running.

  • We would need to make some US-specific adaptations for currency, measurement, geography, sales tax, etc.

  • We may need to add certain features to meet US food hub needs.

  • We have some pilot food hubs who are interested in trialing the software.

  • We have applied for a USDA grant that includes funding for the OFN project and are considering several other grant applications.

  • I spoke with a USDA official who sees potential in the OFN and he made a number of recommendations regarding how we could help meet the IT needs of US food hubs and provided a number of contacts to regional

  • We need to develop a plan for advertising, revenue, new customer support, and ongoing tech support.

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Hi, Teresa. Yes, the functionality you’re describing is exactly what we’re planning: use location services in the browser to identify the user’s location - using their IP address, generally, then giving the user the ability to search using distance.

I think the identification of farms on the map by distance will also be part of our initial changes.

These code changes will be available to all, but I’m not sure about how OFN would integrate them into the core code base. We’re planning to do other modifications that you may not want, so I’m note sure you’ll want to use our code until it’s integrated.

We have sent our change documents to Kirsten and others. I haven’t gotten a response yet, but will let you know how we’re proceeding.

BTW - my developer is estimating 4-6 weeks to get our changes done. I don’t have a lot of experience with this developer, so I don’t know how reliable that estimate is.

Hey, Tim.

I’m about to head on vacation, but will fill out your doodle poll and see if we can match times at all.

I’d be glad to help out to the extent that we can. We’ve made changes for currency, some of the units and a few other things. I have a programmer working on a set of other changes, but these are aimed at the farmers market model and not food hubs.



So glad - you folks are connecting up. Eventhough I’m not in the US, I ‘feel’ your positive vibes and support up here in the land of snow :wink: Somehow I don’t feel as lonely on the OFN front. If you have any questions for me (ie experience with launching a national instance, I’m happy to help.)

Just thinking that there are a couple of key inititial discussion points you might want on your agenda…

  • do you want one instance or multiple in the US? (I’ve gone around and around this and decided on one for Canada to start - not sure that won’t change though. Single instance has the advantages of cost/administration of one server vs multiple. But the other advantage is that right now you would have to make some modifications to trade between instances. So here in Can - we anticipate trading across provincial borders for example, so one instance makes sense). Do you anticipate cross-instance trading?

  • are you talking about a branded OFN instance(s) or white label? This is an impotant consideration as it determines the future partnership and nature of involvement with the OFN global community - - and also might be good to review the community pledge terms that all branded instance partners agree to.

  • how do you plan to give back to the global commons? - development time likely - but what about support for the core commons - see here.

  • other discussions on starting local instances might be relevant and also here.

Cheers @woakes070048 @jveilleux @tim.honchel @neylonbill
pinging you @MyriamBoure since you have been a strong mentor in launching other instances previously - maybe you have something to add here?

@tschumilas I own a technology company a have several tech that work at the company. So right now we have a developer that I plan on having him devote half of his time to the project. We would look over the road map and add any additional features that anyone might need. For the server management that is what we do for a living and are very capable of handling high scaleable applications. We are willing to contribute in anyway that we can. I also do plan on rolling a percentage of the profits into OFN common core as the software would not exist with out it.

The reason that we like the software is how it was designed and the community values behind it.

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William -

I also own a tech company, although you sound more techie than I am. We’re running on AWS right now and we’re already doing the mileage calculation, section piece.

Our focus is going to be on farmers markets, not hubs, so probably we won’t be running into each other much. I’m in NC, where there’s a very strong Farmers Market community.

I hope we get to talk soon.


We are going to be going after both. We have about 120 farmer markets in the state of Maine and also have about 5 hubs.

Hi all

I have just sent a detailed email response to @jveilleux’s questions, with draft/proposed approaches to coordinating:

  • feature discussion and definition
  • code contributions when features are of value to the whole community
  • participation and contribution to the OFN Commons and Community

As these are the first significant white-label OFN projects there’s a bit to think through, so will await his response and then we can update this discussion here :slight_smile:

It looks like tomorrow at 4pm EST works the best for the most people. I’ll write back tomorrow with details of how we can connect at that time.

I’m setting up a video call on Google Hangouts. For those who would like to join in, the link is:

@jveilleux @Kirsten

Hello All,

Today I would like to discuss and get your view points on one of the most important changes that we are going to make in OFN. As @jveilleux has mentioned in his introductory post that we would like to focus more on showing the Nearby Markets to a customer’s location as compared to the general approach followed in the present software. Our flow would be as follows:

  1. When a user comes to the website we would try to fetch the User’s approximate Geo location.
  2. If point 1 is successful then after clicking on “Shop Now” button on the home page the user will be shown a list of nearby Farmer’s Market.
  3. If point 1 is unsuccessful we would ask the user her zip code so that we can show the Farmer’s market in a predefined mile range. The mile range can be changed by the user.
  4. We would be showing the Market Names instead along with their distance from user’s present location.
  5. Please consider the flow to be same for the rest of the part even though it would change a bit according to our needs.

We would like to get the viewpoints of the community so that we can build something useful for all in the best possible way.

Sorry I did not make this. I was on vacation and had less connection to the Internet than usual. Did the call happen? Can we talk later this week?


Will respond to this tmrw morning aus time @ravi

first up I am copying this post into its own explicit thread so that others can see / comment on it - it’s ‘hidden’ in us for-profit here so no one else will have read it!

That’s cool about Maine. I grew up there. Do you have a personal connection or just got lucky?

Tim -

Did you get any response? Want to talk in person? I’m jveilleux on skype or 704-543-6613 by phone.