Possible OFN instance for Spain

Hi everybody,

from coopdevs we’re working on Katuma, an online platform to foster the communication and collaboration between buying groups and local producers. We’ve been working on a prototype to have something to play with while talking with the local agro-ecological movement / community in the last 2 years. We’ve mainly built a community around this project but now the time has come to start building the production ready:tm: version of Katuma. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Before starting to code we decided to look around and try to understand how those needs are covered in other countries. We discovered many solutions and all of them very similar but different at the same time. But we expected that since we know that this economic area is really fragmentated and informal.

At some point we discovered Foodsoft and OFN and we where vary happy to find out that we share a similar vision and technology. We wanted to understand if there is room for some kind of collaboration at any level so we opened an issue in the Foodsoft repository:


From that moment we gathered more and more informations about OFN and how it works, we wanted to talk with you and setup a meeting. Thanks @MyriamBoure for your time!

Our idea, at project level, is to open a crowdfunding campaign on May 2017 with Goteo and start working on a solution. From the meeting we understand that maybe we can fill the gaps in OFN contributing with a complete and usable buying-group solution. Maybe our crowdfunding campaign could be oriented to develop those features, deploy a local instance and start a process of active contribution to OFN.

We still have to talk with the rest of our association and the community. We’ll be testing OFN with our community along the next weeks, we’ve planned a meeting about this project on 11th March and I think that for that date we’ll be able to make a proposal and start working on the campaign.

We basically have to choose between two different kind of challenges:

  1. build a brand new solution for our community
  2. contribute to an existent project

We would be really happy to choose the second option since it seems that there is room for us in OFN at technical and product level. It would be challenging but I think it’s the best option.

We’ll start a Google Docs writing down all the features that we need to cover buyers-group needs, priorities, etc. We’ll add a link to it in this thread once ready.

Many thanks to everybody, let’s see how we can contribute to OFN and finally bring a nice solution to the local agro-ecological community.

See you soon,



Amig@s españoles por OFN? Me gusta! :slight_smile: Bienvenido a tod@s!


Hello :slight_smile:

I look forward to going through your google doc and being part of conversation. We would be really excited to have excellent buying group features / modules / integrations as part of the ecosystem!

Unsurprisingly this has come up before now, and there are three things that may be worth looking at in your initial investigations. No one has ever had the time / capacity to pull it altogether properly, but I thought it might be useful if I attempted to at least point you to some threads of thinking / conversation / features.

Firstly, there was some work done already re. integration of Foodsoft with OFN, and pursuing this line could be a consideration for what you’re trying to achieve. See Connecting food cooperatives. I suspect that work on the OFN API is going to be a part of some major projects being cooked up for this year in OFN, so working with that, either with Foodsoft or your own separate application could be an option.

We have done a fair bit of thinking about how some of this might be handled within OFN, and there are some preliminary features already as well as some discussion threads that might be worth a look.

‘Preliminary features’ include group buy, bulk order management and a couple of associated reports - https://openfoodnetwork.org/user-guide/advanced-features/group-buy/ - these are in use with a couple of users but certainly far from what they could be! A couple of threads outlining ‘wishlists’ or things that have come up as ideas for improving these features in OFN are:

From my quick look at it, I recall thinking that Foodsoft had a beautiful interface for seeing and adjusting customer orders, which is also well tested with their users, so from an OFN perspective I’m not sure if integrating with Foodsoft or emulating that interface would be the best next step.

OFN is also currently missing any mechanism that enables the users to see how close the group is to meeting the bulk amount (and adjusting their orders accordingly), but as work has been done on the customer account page and with changes that are coming through with Standing Orders (including the ability for users to adjust their orders before the order cycle has closed) - implementation of that could be quite easy and just an interface thing

This next section might provide some food for thought OR it might be just confusing, in which case just ignore and we can talk it through when we talk :slight_smile:

Some key issues that have come up around management of buying groups are being considered in our thinking around ‘products & inventory overhaul’. The big issue we’ve come across is where you have multiple buying groups drawing from the same wholesaler/s, and how easy we can make it for them to - sometimes independently and sometimes interdependently -
a) update their prices and availability to reflect the wholesaler’s price and availability
b) maintain their own ‘versions’ / ‘variants’ of the wholesale products that match how they break it down in their buying group, and how they want to translate prices etc e.g. if a 20kg sack of wheat is available, one buying group might sell it in 1kg and another in a minimum of 5kg. They both want this to update automatically when the underlying product price is updated, and they don’t want to see / have to manage all the other buying groups’ variants.

We’ve made significant progress on the infrastructure that is going to support awesome management of this, including separating a fair bit of functionality into the ‘Inventory’ page rather than products, and the work that’s happening around bulk product/inventory update from csv, but there’s still a lot to do! These notes are not totally up-to-date as there are recent conversations not yet reflected there, but would be great to get some more eyes, brains and fingers working on solving this one in an elegant way. It will be seriously exciting once it is cracked! :slight_smile: https://community.openfoodnetwork.org/c/wishlist/p-v-overhaul

Ok that’s enough for now.

just an additional note - on re-reading that it sounds a bit like I think is going to happen without you which is NOT the case! We know it needs doing, and we’ve had various attempts to bite off little pieces of it, but we are nowhere near having the resources to do it properly, and would be fantastic if you decide this is how you want to go about your project. This post is basically just intended to make issues and discussions around OFN and buying groups that have happened previously more transparent to you :slight_smile:

Yep, that would be awesome to really deploy the full OFN potential on serving buying groups needs :slight_smile:

I think to enable much more flat management, buying group like models, one of the main issue that appeared in the discussion was the clear separation between the back-end (enterprise management) and front-end (buyers zone)
A buying group member would need much more stuff from the front-end, and needs to be able to contribute to the management of the hub in a much more distributed way than our notion of “hubs managers”. Today either you are a hub/producer manager and you have access to the back office either you are not and you have access to nothing. Maybe a more refine way to envision people contribution would be nice :slight_smile:

It would be great, as suggested by @paroga in our discussion with @enricostn on the channel #buying-group on Slack , to “merge” back end and front end", and get access to all what I need through my menu (today the menu drives either to the customer account with visualization of previous orders, either to administration = back end) so for example if I connect and I’m a producer, from the menu I could directly have the list of sub menu that I need, ex: “my profile”, “my products”, “orders received”, “mailbox”. And each opens the relevant page. For the buying group case in my menu I would see “my groups” (sub-menu when in the group: “groups wall”, “taskboard”, “my previous orders”, etc.), “past orders”, etc.
I think that would benefit all users and improve UX for hub and producers managers. If I’m a simple client I don’t have anything else than “past orders” in my menu, but if I have some other roles I can access them directly from there without having to go through a back office.

Actually @Kirsten I have noticed that when talking to people using the main two platforms in France, The Food Assembly and Locavor, there is no real distinction between front and back, everything is in the same interface but a producer has access to a zone to handle his product catalog, etc.

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Many thanks @Kirsten and @MyriamBoure! This is really useful information.

thx @MyriamBoure for summing that up. for me it would be interesting how OFN relates to spree? at least in my local test of OFN the backend even showed the spree logo and it looks to me like it is manly spree in the backend with its own layout and so on.
I also saw that there is a issue about “Spree Upgrade” in Major Projects 2017.

Is it better to move the discussion from Slack to Discourse?

@wvengen had working prototype of Foodsoft pulling products data from OFN API https://github.com/foodcoop-adam/sharedlists/tree/feature/ofn-import

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One thing which I would also find very useful for hubs is something similar to the current group-buy option. This can be chosen for a particular product but it doesn’t address when a supplier has a minimum order quantity (MOQ). For example I’d love to link up with a new OFN enterprise supplying fish but I need to send them an order of at least £50. If one customer orders for £10 and another for £15, it will be a manual job to inform both that they won’t get their order this time but they may next week depending on what other members may do and so on.

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@paroga you’ll find the answer on Spree in the wiki: https://github.com/openfoodfoundation/openfoodnetwork/wiki/Spree-Commerce-customisation
And Slack is not for any discussion that needs to be documented, only for random day to day chats that are always useful in projects :wink:

@Kirsten @enricostn @paroga, @elf-pavlik had some ideas on how we could inter-operate FoodSoft and OFN… I’m not sure it’s yet fully clear in my head :-o it is linked to the DataFoodConsortium / interoperability project, it’s not yet clear how this could be done, but maybe it is worth having a discussion with @elf-pavlik at some point to see what would make best sense currently (as there is also a time issue here… for me the interoperability discussion is not a 6 month process, more 4-5 years ;-))

@carchrae - just making sure you’ve seen this thread :slight_smile: the buying groups discussion was identified from the title

I am also going to set up a sub-category under Wishlist specifically for Buying Groups I think, so it’s easier to follow / collect up threads if (hopefully) we have more people looking into this. I will move the new topics you created into that new category. Let me know if not ok

@enricostn - I am going to move this whole thread into that category - just move it back if you disagree!