OFN companion services platform

In addition to using OFN, people need other services to function as a “village”. E,g, group decision making with loomio, accounting with opencollective, a community/market currency/credit system, meeting/event management, etc.

OFN makes sense to me as the tip of the spear. Everyone can unite around food. What are the additional services people need and want to act locally and what are the best integration points that support OFN?


Hey @socean - let’s talk! There are a number of folks in the global community working with data interoperability - biggest might be work with the Data Food Consortium in France, Canada, and elsewhere, and the UK’s Food Data Collaboration and of course everyone is a fan of our API. I am writing a USDA grant right now with the working title “Building open source tools for value chain data flow to empower producers at any scale” - would you like to collaborate on that kind of work at all? (yah the title is rough but don’t worry, it changes every 15 minutes or so).

Aloha Laurie!

I’d be happy to contribute in any way that I can to helping. I have done a fair amount of research on my own regarding ancillary systems, although my focus has been mostly on communications and community building.

Regarding Hawaii having its own instance:

Practically speaking, Hawaii is so isolated I think its important for the systems providing basic services to run independently. Until just recently, I might agree that a separate instance is unneeded. However, these are not normal times. One of the major goals is food security in the advent of world crisis.

Also, the likelihood of trading with any mainland communities seems remote to me.

Socially speaking, Hawaii regards itself as its own country living under the occupation of the US. Only mainlanders see Hawaii as just another state. This natural cognitive bias is the source of most social friction here.

The area that I live in is one of the enclaves of Native Hawaiians where this sentiment runs especially strong. Naturally, we need locals to want to be involved. Ownership of the systems and data is also important because it is connected to the idea of sovereignty.

It will also be important to translate everything into Hawaiian asap.

All that being said, it may make sense to start on another instance and then migrate to local servers. I’d like to understand the issues better. It seems pretty clear though, that Hawaii will need its own instance eventually. Otherwise, how can it be counted on to help meet the goal of food security when it would be needed most?

I’m not an alarmist, or a prepper. I want civilization to thrive and evolve not collapse in ruin. At the same time, I see no reason to ignore world events. Hawaii is very keenly aware of its dependence on shipping, etc. We all wonder from time to time if the ships will stop, especially when there are so many empty spaces on shelves now. OFN could turn out to be key to many people’s survival. I’d like to be ready… if no need, great! We’ll enjoy all the other benefits.

It was nice meeting you in the online meeting this morning. I’m looking forward to learning more and hooking up with people who are contributing to OFN’s progress.

Thanks, totally makes sense from a cultural standpoint, Steve! It will be so cool to see OFN in ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi. I was not around when Katuma was born, but I imagine the thinking might have been similar. Have you taken a look at the Community Pledge and thought about whether you would propose to join the community as an Associate (“OFN Hawaiʻi”) or to white label? @instance_managers, can you pitch in any perspective/opinions here?

I’m not sure about what path to choose, but either way I expect to contribute fully to OFN globally.

Looking at the community pledge, it seems the white label path may be the way to go.

On a related subject:

Open Collective has two organizations, the one that provides the platform to collectives, and a foundation that acts as a fiscal host for a lot of collectives.

The fiscal host charges 5% of all deposits in a collective’s main account to provide the services that help collectives run AND stay in compliance with the IRS. They give a portion of what they collect to the development of the platform.

Might I suggest considering a similar model? E.g. OFN Foundation is a fiscal host, and the devops ( and other support systems, e.g. on-ramping ) get funded by a percentage of the whole network’s revenue.

There is a gaping hole in the startup process… what kind of entity will be responsible legally? I’m assuming that Cooperatives are the favorite form of incorporation for OFN members, but if you investigate the OC foundation I think that you’ll find that there is a much easier way to start up.

Non profits, coops, etc. all require boards of directors and officers. Collectives do not. Those positions are filled by the parent organization, the fiscal host. The collectives themselves can choose any form of self-governance. This makes the operations of the collectives much less formal and more responsive.

If OFN became an OC fiscal host ( a legal option ), many of the money problems could be solved and it would be much easier to ramp up and and maintain shops and hubs. It also addresses the issue of “what kind of affiliate are you?” as everyone would be under the same fiscal host. Also, donations and grants could be accepted at every level and scale and still use global administration.

OC’s open accounting system can also be a real boon as it is completely transparent and uses participatory governance to decide how to allocate funds at each level.

In terms of possible integration partners, that would be one of the first I would choose.

That is my long answer to your short question. BTW, no problem signing a pledge. Mechanically, how?

I just want to add that there is nothing sacred about the 5% tithe. That number could be anything or collected differently. The fiscal host, in this case OFN, would make that decision as a matter of internal policy.

Open Collective has its roots in New Zealand, so I am sure that they have covered some of the ground related to managing international operations. They also have a branch for Europe.

My next choice of integration partners would be Cyclos, or something very much like it.

I think that it is important to keep the wealth created by local producers in the local economy. Some internal kind of currency/credit system is needed to do this. Additionally, it can solve some payment processing problems by aggregating all manner of transactions under single system. Only one gateway is required to handle multiple entities.

Hi Steve - agreed about OC. Most global affiliates are some version of nonprofit or charity or fiscally-hosted (in the way that makes the most sense to them). So far, we lack the people resources or motivation to manage a centralized host (currency exchange is a consideration), and we are more of a collection of orgs that share these held values.

Those might be good reasons for Hawaii to chart a new path on its own in some ways. If we can produce a working model of an expanded platform, in many dimensions, not just tech, others could evaluate it.

At the same time, I would very much like to have the input from the OFN community regarding services that they see are needed.

I also want to work hand-in-hand with some group that is looking at all this with me. Perhaps that working group should also include folks outside of OFN. That is, OFN has a vital role, but it does not need to lead.

If that is agreeable, then I can start trying to identify and recruit people from the non-OFN partners. Again, open to suggestions there too.

Hey Steve, of course you are free to do whatever makes sense for you, through I might suggest waiting a bit to hear from other members of the community before making any decisions about OFN. A lot of people in the community are pretty maxxed out already with what they are working on but will have important feedback (maybe not right away) - another thing to remember is that as a global team, half of everybody is asleep at any given time. I would personally like to hear what folks think of this and your other conversations here and here.

Yes. I will definitely wait to learn more.

There are many things I can do in the interim. E.g. I can compose my own short list of ancillary services and the platforms I would use to deliver them in conjunction with OFN. I might write something up to explain the concept and provide talking points for more in depth analysis. I’ll make it sharable so everyone can edit it.

I’m sure other people will have great suggestions I could never have imagined.

OFN’s mission and values are fully aligned with my vision for the Hawaii instance, I especially liked the idea of engaging with kindness.