Open Food Network: Building a Better Food System
Online platform and resource library. Connecting Australian famers with consumers through local, ethical distribution
Serenity Hill loves that Open Food Network is designed to support self-organisation, that people can find other enterprises to work with, and find under-utilised infrastructure to activate new supply networks. She’s excited that OFN can support models that we haven’t even thought of yet. She’s blown away by the way the world is catching on to Open Food Network. If she wasn’t working on Open Food Network, Serenity would be working on other systemic improvements to the food system, around governance, ownership and investment.Serenity’s from a farming family in Warrenbayne in NE Victoria (beef and wool) and was brought up with a strong sense of social and economic justice. She believes in the need for systems that care for the land and people that depend on it. Serenity first worked in government and then academia seeking ways to make a difference. She has extensive experience in policy development in the Victorian State Government, particularly natural resource management and climate change adaptation. Her PHD research studies explored what motivates farmers, and the significant increasing challenges most face in context of climate, input costs and the market dynamics stacked against them. This early experience solidified a belief in regenerative agriculture, which builds soil, is resilient to shocks, and supports happy farmers staying on the land. Serenity believes regenerative agriculture can only become the norm if supported by fair markets and supply networks, in which the basic economics support farmers to manage the land within its capacity. The Open Food Network was always about the long game, supporting a movement of people seeking alternative distribution models that can scale beyond a niche.
Kirsten Larsen has been investigating the ins and outs of all things food for around 8 years. From a background in state government sustainability, climate and food policy, Kirsten turned to systemic analysis of food security and sustainability and has been involved in development and implementation of Food Policies at state and local government levels. With the Victorian Eco-Innovation Lab at the University of Melbourne, she has focused on analysing and communicating the technical and social innovations that change what is possible – and bring healthy communities and ecosystems closer. In 2011, Kirsten’s attention turned to food distribution and opening new market access channels for farmers. With partner Serenity Hill, Kirsten founded Eaterprises Australia, a social enterprise focused on transforming the way food is distributed and exchanged. Eaterprises Australia has instigated the South East Food Hub, the Australian Food Hubs Network, the Open Food Foundation and the Open Food Network.
From the moment Rob first heard Kirsten speak about the Open Food Network in mid-2012, he knew he wanted to be a part of it. The project perfectly combines his love of systems thinking and the challenge of solving complex problems with his passion for food, and for disruptive change in the power relations that define food systems. Rob’s role is primarily in software development, piecing together the building blocks that make up the Open Food Network. He also enjoys hypothesising about all of the things that the OFN will be able to do ‘one-day’ in the future. When he is not working he loves cooking for friends, tinkering with bikes and gardening with his mum.
Rohan is a software engineer and lead developer of OFN. Spending around three days a week on the project, he is drawn to working with a team that’s changing the world for the better, and enjoys the challenge of coordinating work from developers in a growing list of countries, and developing team work practices to keep the development running smoothly. When not working on OFN, can be found making interactive art for the next music festival.
Danielle’s an all-rounder in the team, coming in for a few hours each week and filling gaps wherever she’s needed. Helping define the product roadmap, improving the way information is managed, getting the low down on all things analytics, coordinating tweaks to designs, writing some content, reviewing the tough bits in user guides, or bringing in baked goods for morning tea, these are a few of the favourite things she does for the team. She brings to the team a range of skills and experience in digital program and product management and user experience. Alongside of this she has a postgrad degree in urban design, placemaking, and environmental sustainability, and is an enthusiast of permaculture design and urban farming. She’s inspired by the vision of the Open Food Network and is proud to offer her time and brain capacity to something that matters so much.
OFN South Africa