White-label OFN Service Providers working with OFN Community

Welcome to the OFN Community

OFN is open source, released under GNU Affero licence

You can use the Open Food Network code for your project / business. It is released under a GNU Affero licence, which has been developed to ensure that modified code for online applications remains available to the community. It “requires the operator of a network server to provide the source code of the modified version running there to the users of that server. Therefore, public use of a modified version, on a publicly accessible server, gives the public access to the source code of the modified version.”

Our active community can help you get things done

You can access information and connect with the OFN Community using a variety of communications channels. Get connected.

We encourage your Contributions to the Commons

The OFN Commons is providing a lot of value to your potential business. We ask that you think about how you can best contribute and help strengthen the whole.

You can see more ideas / discussion about ways to do this in the Community Pledge, which we invite you to sign on to.

Advice / support on Slack, Discourse etc provided from the community generally is not being billed. As you progress with OFN, you may choose to give back to this community by supporting others and/or making financial contributions to the Commons and/or contributing to Co-Budgeted projects for big, priority feature developments.

If you are making code contributions and covering the costs of incorporating them as described below then you’re off to an excellent start and thanks :slight_smile:

Making Changes, Contributing Code


If you are not an OFN partner and you are running your own, modifed OFN we request that you re-brand your instance so that it is clear you are not a representative of the Open Food Network. This is likely what you are wanting to do anyway :slight_smile:

[NB. When we have a couple of these up and running it would be good for someone to review and consider whether we have any minimum/max requirements, whether we want any public attribution and where/how etc]

Which code to run

  • the Master code on Github is the same as what is running on Australian production, as it is connected via our Build pipeline
  • to get into Master it has been through our Aus staging server and actual functionality has been tested by the master @sstead
  • We do periodic releases (see discussion here), and then other instances / developers upgrade their servers when they’re ready
  • You can use either Master or the latest release, but if you’re wanting to contribute code it is best to use Master as there will be fewer changes to deal with to get your code merged

Code contributions

We encourage you to commit relevant contributions to the master code so that they build value for all users.

When you are developing features / fixes that are intended for the master code, we suggest you follow the following process:

  • Write a short post on this forum describing the feature and proposed approach. This will enable the (very active) community to see, share experience and possibly shape implementation.
  • You will likely get useful input, including rich knowledge of existing features which may enable you to save your money. See example here
  • Clear communication of intended feature operation will also mean many eyes can test and let you know if it’s not working as intended
  • Once you are working on code, please follow the guidelines in Contributing.md.

Review and Merge

We have an extremely small budget for reviewing and merging code contributions, which we prioritise for supporting non-profit and partner (branded) OFN instances getting started. If you are running or intending to run your own branded ‘white-label’ instance, we request that you cover the costs of reviewing and merging your contributions into master as part of your contribution. This will also mean they will be considered within an acceptable timeframe.

The Australian OFN team will currently charge $120AUD/hr for review, improvements and merge. Contact me (@Kirsten) for further discussion. The pool of providers able to provide these services is increasing . .


@NickWeir @MyriamBoure @serenity @lin_d_hop @tschumilas @jveilleux @woakes070048 @Brad

I need to keep working on this, updating links etc but does this seem like a reasonable starting point / introduction thread for white-label service providers. Are there other things you think should be discussed upfront?

All looks good - thanks. Would be good also to introduce up front the idea of building in an ongoing financial contribution to the commons as well as code/dev contributions. Does the Community Pledge (which needs linking to) cover this?

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Thanks for doing this. It’s quite helpful.

I made comments on the community pledge. I even “signed” it, in its current form. The “Get Connected” discussion needs more detail. (I’m slowing getting through all posts on the community forum, so forgive me for not knowing all of the communication methods you listed.)

I think you should add the expectation of a contribution from Service Providers in the discussion here.

I also think you should require attribution. Possible text (using our brand): “FarmFreshWeb.Com is powered by code from the Open Food Network, which is licensed under AGPL 3.” The OFN UI is very distinct, so attribution will both help with getting your name and brand in distribution and clarify possible confusion if someone sees the same UI from different sources. (For our part, we intend to reference the use of OFN while making it clear that we are not operating under the OFN or endorsed by it; I’ll share our promotional copy as it becomes available.)

In my experience, most “partners” (generically, not in the way you call them) wind up going nowhere, so my intention is to weigh in sparingly until we (my company) have proven our “worth” to your efforts - in the form of code, design, money, etc.). And I’m also getting used to working with you all as an organization. So expect more suggestions later.

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@Kirsten does this mean that if we are running a re branded version does that mean that we are not able to become a partner? Becoming a Partner in the network I think that is one of the main reasons to join the community. It keeps everyone one a similar road map for the software and the foundation. As far giving back money and code contribution to the commons I feel that everyone that is a partner would want to do that.

I had discussed with the team that I have is that and if we are labeled as a service provider then in the end it doesn’t really give a sense of community and creates a barrier to contribute back into the community. I see a service provider as a person or company that is only provider a consultancy services, like marketing, integration, code development, etc. After reading the pledge it is clear that service providers have no way of influencing or help shape the platform and that does create barriers.

I did a fair bit of research before we settled on OFN it was not for the software but the mission and the network that you guys are building. I hope that it can be considered about having people running software under a different brand being a partner in the network. It can only make the network stronger and could bring other in that might even be running different software but want the sense on a network and a community all supporting the same mission. It is about collaboration and helping the movement so farmers can make a better living and people can eat healthier. I would like to see a way for hubs to trade all over the world so we dont have to deal with mega corporations. It sad to think for us in the US a typical apple has been in a warehouse for 11 months before it get to the grocery store. So by the time that i get apple it could be over a year and all of the antioxidants are gone and all it really is a ball of sugar.

This is what is in our road map for the next 6 months.

OFN ERPNext intergration
OFN Mautic integration
OFN integration with a last mile logistics software to support a community for delivering the food to a neighborhood.
A integration for farmers to trade with one another. It could really be anything. Seeds, hay, grain, tractors, equipment.

On ERPNext we are currently have in the works a farm vertical. That will also connect to IOT devices and allow you to map your fields and property.

As a side note requiring attribution and charging people that are helping make the software better doesn’t make for a very collaborative open source environment and can harm contributions and can harm a project. If the project has reached a point that the core team cant keep up with the demand then it needs to be opened up to the community to assist with that. This is a from knowledge of working with open source software for most of my professional IT career.

Thanks for your comments @jveilleux and @woakes070048 - there’s a bit to consider there. I suspect that a fair bit of what you’re talking about @woakes070048 is terminology and can perhaps be solved with some different words, as members of the community you have as much influence and ability to help shape the platform as others - particularly where you are making or supporting contributions. We certainly want you to feel welcome and are happy that you’re here, so if you feel this messaging undermines that let’s look at it . .

Personally I’m ok with considering other terms/names for these kinds of entities e.g. ‘Partners’ (commons-based organisations running branded instances) and ‘Service Providers’ (so far generally for-profit orgs running own-branded instances), do you have suggestions? There might also be something around ‘Partners’ being those that make a clear commitment re. contributions to the commons or something? But then we need another term for those who are strongly identifying with Open Food Network and wanting to be the representative and provider in their area - these are ‘something’ - if not Partner then what is better term?

We had finally managed to agree the pledge at the last meeting, but I haven’t actually set up the new post for people to sign on to, so could perhaps be discussed at the next global hangout (next Tuesday night). @serenity @MyriamBoure @NickWeir @lin_d_hop @CynthiaReynolds @tschumilas @enricostn do you have thoughts on these issues and would you support discussion at next hangout?

The changes and contributions you are planning sound excellent and potentially very valuable to the community, the only question is who carries the cost of actually making them available to the whole community! If/when we have sufficient contributions coming to core commons that we can support code review and merge from everyone that’s cool. Until then the costs need to be covered somehow, and it seems fair for those who are investing money in their own development to support this activity too. Yes people can be helping make the software better (yay!) but we obviously can’t assume that every pull request actually does, and there does need to be a check on this. Until newcomers and contributors to the community have actually built up their understanding of the code base, reputation, trust etc - there is going to need to be one of the core devs reviewing and merging their code. Someone needs to pay for this, whether it’s a dev volunteering time or someone else raising money to pay for them.

If you have specific suggestions on better ways to handle this we’re open to hearing them? . . as mentioned above this is a new set of users / collaborators that have appeared at a similar time and all very interested in discussion as to how best to handle it. The Pledge was mostly drafted with this as a ‘hypothetical’ future case, with a few changes made right at the end as I was in discussions with @jveilleux. Did you generally agree with the process outlined above in ‘Code contributions’ for working towards alignment and collaboration on efforts? and just the bit about paying for lead devs to review and merge that you dislike?

re. attribution . . not sure and think we should discuss this. I haven’t given it a huge amount of thought, but as a pseudo-academic and generally in life it does seem a bit like just good manners! What would be the concern about attribution?

@jveilleux as you point out we are unlikely to be able to enforce this. Really the point is to invite people to collaborate in the spirit and community that we have and are building - which it sounds like is part of what attracted you.

ok, enough for now, look forward to your responses :slight_smile:

I think you are right @Kirsten, much of this is about terminology.
“Service Providers” sounds rather disconnected vs being part of the community, possible suggestions:

XXX in association with the Open Food Network

XXX - affiliated with the Open Food Network

I am open to discussing at the next hangout

Yes I am fully in support of the idea of bringing in people who want to be part of the Network who also need to keep one foot in wherever else they have come from. I want us to do this in a way that honours and compensates the ‘commons’ for all the work that has been done historically as well as all the work that needs to be done to integrate changes and developments made by all new ‘partners’, ‘associates’, ‘friends’ or whatever else we end up calling them.

Yes let’s discuss at the global hangout on Tuesday 9th. By the way I am concerned that we might hit the hangout limit of 10 participants at this hangout - especially if the Benelux people join in. Please can I suggest that we use mumble (which we use for the large dev update meetings) instead? Here are some notes on setting up mumble.

Looking forward to talking this through:slight_smile:

One solution to the “Partners” terminology is to create 2 or more classes of partners, such as OFN-branded and White Label.

When drafting a business agreement, my first focus is always on business objectives. In this case, you want “partners” to contribute code, money and/or intellectual value. What else do you want? Since “for profit” enterprises have more - at least potentially - more money than 'non profit" do you want to create a differentiation there? It also seems to me that market size could affect the capacity of a partner. A partner covering all of the US has more potential than one covering a single US state or, say, Lithuania.

I am generally in agreement with the process of code contributions, although we intend to do some proprietary development outside of OFN, using the API interface. I am also generally in agreement with the paying for review/merge, although I need to see what that really costs when we finally submit a PR.


@jveilleux should we have one instance that cover all of the US or an instance per state?

No my call, I don’t think. I’m planning - as I think you are - to cover the US. I was referring to a group I saw referenced who want to run something out of CO.

Since it’s an open-source project, I think we can expect a mix.

That said, I’m happy to collaborate with you on common development initiatives and getting all of the localization stuff done for the US.

And based on what I know about sales tax, there’s likely to be a need to add customization when we get some states. (You would not believe how complex MO sales tax tables are.)

that would be great our instance is almost ready to go live we are just waiting on the stripe connect integration to become part of master and then we will be going live. If anyone is interest we are going to be releasing our deployment method. We are using openshift it is basically docker and kubernetes.

out of curiosity @woakes070048 is there anything we can look at? What are you branded as etc? I’m interested in seeing how the first (to our knowledge) white label OFN actually looks!

I am OK with any language (partners, affiliates, associates) as long as we are clear that running a branded version of OFN is a different thing than running a white labelled version. I understand that in practice they might seem very smilar - but there is a fundamental difference. When I formed a not for profit and initiatied OFN-Canada - I did so with a view of supporting the global community (and being supported by that community), AND standing in solidarity. Part of standing in solidarity is using the brand. Just to illustrate - I’ve had a number of community food organizations ask if OFN-CAN would change the branding and drop the tagline - “Food, unincorporated”. They felt this phrase was political. Of course it is - that is exactly why we chose it. A brand is about wearing your values in a way that is visible to everyone. So I think that a branded instance makes a solidarity statement in a way a white label does not. I presume people white label precisely because they want to make a different statement (brand) . So we can call branded and white labelled instances whatever fits from my perspective - but we need to remember that they are not the same thing.

Second - white labels are going to be (I assume) primarily ‘for profit’ entities. (Although not necessarily perhaps - and we did have a question about white labelling from someone using government funds here.) But we need to imagine a scenerio where white labelled and branded instances are running in parallel focusing on the same users/communities. One key reason we set up a branded instance is to send a message that we are building a global, other-than-capitalist community, in order to ‘level the playing field’ for users who can not affort proprietary development, and are being ‘shut out’ of powerful e-commerce solutions that could help them. So - branded and white labelled instances demonstrate different ethics.

Don’t misunderstand me please @jveilleux and @woakes070048 - I am THRILLED you are interested in OFN and participating in the community. If we need to change something in our PLEDGE to help that, I"m all for it. I just want us to be clear, that branded and white labelled instances have some fundamental differences – even if those differences are generally hidden from view in our day to day operations.


Theresa -

I’m not offended by anything you’ve said here and I agree with you completely. Personally, I think that there’s a role for both non-profit and for-profit enterprises in the local food movement. I’ve yet to meet a farmer who wanted to operate as a non-profit.

And I hope that my little business and others - such as @woakes070048 - help with the funding and the growth of OFN.

Last point. Although I know there will be some overlap, in reality, I’m focused on farmers markets and NOT on food hubs, which I think is an area that OFN currently doesn’t serve well. So hopefully, we’ll advance the cause of local food in a way that’s likely to be neglected by OFN, at least for a while.

Interesting discussions :slight_smile: Looking forward also to look at the first white-labelled OFN instances !
I like @jveilleux suggestion, about having OFN-branded partners (or affiliates as suggestion by @CynthiaReynolds) and white-labelled partners. And keep the “service providers” for marketing and dev agencies.
I think it’s great to see that mixed ecosystem gathering around the OFN, a key for sustainability and resilience IMHO. Talk to you later today!

As per todays global mumble:

Terminology suggestions:
Partner: OFN branded local instances
Affiliate: White labelled for profits

Discussions around attibution: aside from the licensing requirements, what would we require Affiliates to clearly state/link on their websites?
“Powered by Open Food Network”
“In Affiliation with the Open Food Network”
“An Affiliate of the Open Food Network”

@Kirsten do you have any other suggestions?
Shall we set a deadline for objections/suggestions such that we can move forward with the pledge ?

ping @serenity @NickWeir @MyriamBoure @tschumilas @jveilleux @woakes070048 ping anyone else I missed

I like @CynthiaReynolds’ proposal. Please can someone give me the link to the draft pledge again for a final check. How about a deadline of Sunday 14th for any final suggestions - then we confirm it?

works for me :slight_smile:
here is the link to the draft @NickWeir https://docs.google.com/document/d/1M_toocvIKXJvq38FFX0RtKg3Tc_5vrPdL-C3lGIn-lE/edit

I like @CynthiaReynolds suggestion too - with a tiny editorial modification
Can we say ‘affiliates: white labelled installations’ or something
My thinking is that it is not only for-profits that will choose white labelling. I’ve already had a contact from someone working with government funding/partnerships wanting to set up white label (because governments don’t want to use the - very transparent phrase I love - ‘Food, unincorporated.’ :sunglasses: