I was really interested to hear that in France the Open Food Network platform has been adapted (white labelled?) for use with sustainable building supplies, and it’s been great to follow Canada’s use of it for flowers. It made me think more about what else the platform could be used for, alongside the other criteria we’ve been contemplating around what else do farmers sell to remain viable and sustainable. The criteria I have used in my pondering has been:
- what else do farmers sell
- what could farmers sell if they were fully capturing the costs of farming sustainably
- what else is sold in the food system that has similar characteristics to selling food
- what else is produced by multiple people, aggregated, processed, and sold, and increases sustainability and equity in the food and farming system
We’ve had some discussions with Fibreshed about their model, which is similar and draws from multiple small producers to aggregate, process, and sell with different certifications. (There is also a large international Fibreshed community).
A number of farmers selling food through Open Food Network are also selling timber.
We’ve been exploring quite a bit (and are keen to explore more) about carbon credits, community carbon schemes, natural capital accounting and biodiversity credits, and more opportunities in that space. @Kirsten is more across/leading those ideas.
Another opportunity is around organic matter flowing back to farms, so food and green waste that is being created by multiple people/organisations, that is then aggregated for processing, and sold on as compost or organic products.
In Australia, we’ve just received a small research and design grant to undertake a co-design project with organic waste processors, councils, businesses, community composters, farmers, etc to investigate the potential of the platform to help in this space. Our aim is to complete this project with a sense of usefulness of this idea, possible next steps, possible business case of expanding in this direction, and funding ask if we were to pursue this. There’s no obligation to build anything in terms of the software, which would obviously need much more OFN community interest, discussion, consent and input.
I’m sharing here to keep everyone in the loop, and I’m interested in others’ thoughts/actions on considering other uses for the platform.