I’ve been thinking about OFN for years now and one thing that gives me and many users pause is how complex it can be. Particularly for vendors.
I discussed with @guy, who hasn’t been online in a while trying to figure out a free grant supported way of supporting the US ecosystem. There’s a challenge with needing a massive user base at rates that people seem used to. Food hubs seem to require 20+% commissions to stay in business but beginning farmers who many of us prefer to support almost invariably balk at 20%. Even though it’s 1/3 the rate they might be charged by a grocery chain. Or even a restaurant.
An alternative to the struggle determining and “selling” a commission to independently minded small farmers (who will stubbornly spend extra hours texting and calling to get products sold (or not) because their time is cheap and they seem to expect 60+ hour work weeks.
So. Cutting to my idea of a killer app. I think it’d be amazing if we could develop an OFN simple version for meat clubs. Meat clubs are extremely popular with the current paleo craze. And the spreadsheets can get fairly complicated.
One thing that could simplify facilitating these meat clubs would be Balanced payments, a payment processor with escrow services through Wells Fargo. It’s super high on my wish list for OFN (and may only be available in the US, I’m not sure).
This OFN lite meat club app, if sufficiently successful, would help populate buying clubs and lower margin veggie sales. The long slow slog of building a new ecosystem can often get stuck when new areas go online piecemeal and don’t hit critical mass. A killer app like a meat club could help us make start up a lot simpler and recruit saavy captains to help move beyond meat into a whole diet ofn. It might even provide some training wheels for these vendors and facilitators that could help them learn variants for example while simplifying order cycling (just an example, there might be better examples for things that could be simplified and could later be learned for non meat, often lower margin items).
Related, there is a local food, gourmet, almost TV dinner type mean company that sources 80% of their ingredients within a two county radius of Charlotte NC (we’re in that radius here in Salisbury). Modpaleo.com They’re also at the center of a chef/farmer coalition called the PiedmontCulinaryGuild.com
I’m kind of downloading my brain here but hope this can spark some new discussion on how to position OFN USA/NA.