Meet The Team
People are at the heart of the Open Food Network
Designed for community food enterprises, owned by the commons and improving shopper access to fairer food, the Open Food Network is people led and people driven.
Click on the icons below to meet members of our core Co-ordination Team:
We’re a Sociocratic Co-op
During the summer of 2022, we adopted a new “Sociocratic” structure and ways of working. Sociocracy is a non-hierarchical governance system that places inclusivity, autonomy, transparency and equality at its heart.
Our aim was to adopt a way of working which is in-line with our organisational values. We were looking for real sharing of power and responsibility, more voices being heard, and the flexibility to grow sustainably.
In essence, Sociocracy is a way of distributing the power, or decision making, to smaller groups who are doing the work e.g. marketing or support. These groups are known as “circles”. Each circle has a clear aim and domain (set of responsibilities), membership and meeting rhythm.
The circles of the Open Food Network
Is an umbrella circle for all members of the OFN UK team to come together on a weekly basis to check-in, share current operations, discuss challenges and bring specific proposals to the team for decision-making.
Community Building Circle
Aims to grow the OFN UK outwards building our network and generating revenue.
Communicates the OFN UK’s work through online and traditional marketing methods and strategises communications methods. Also runs events and operates as a marketing consultancy for food hubs, internal projects and compatible external projects.
Supports new and existing customers to use the OFN platform using a mix of email, video and telephone guidance, as well as maintaining the user guide, notifying users of software updates, and developing integrations to streamline customer processes.
Aims to develop the culture and the long term viability of the Open Food Network UK. Also liases with OFN Global and the UK Board to bring a clear governance overview .
People & Finance Circle
Fosters a supportive, kind and joyful environment for the OFN UK team and a healthy understanding of the finances.
Projects Delivery Circle
Is an umbrella circle for those involved in specific projects to come together to discuss challenges and best practice as and when necessary.
Our October 2022 in-person team gathering
In October 2022 we met together at The Goytree Glamping and Treehouses. Being a completely remote team this was an amazing chance for us to meet in person to collaborate, get energised and be inspired about the future direction of the Open Food Network and what we can do as a team to help address some of the systemic issues we are facing in the UK food system.
"A really strong sense of community and family. So brilliant to see everyone's full authentic selves and share our passion for improving food systems"
"My favourite bit was the dinners. Being together and letting go, finding out who we are together and discovering new things about the Open Food Network through its people"
"It feels really crazy to me to be unconditionally accepted and supported by a work family and I really value every single person I work alongside"
"I enjoyed us feeling into the constellation that was there & everyone was so open about bringing their full self to the group"
"The Samhain celebration was brill and I loved being outside and around the fire"
"I love being together and seeing more of the real people who make up our wonderful team"
The Open Food Network UK: In our words
The Open Food Network is a community and software backbone for food systems across the UK working for food sovereignty. Our network of community-driven food enterprises put people and planet first.
“We have long known that local food makes sense from an environmental point of view, but the global pandemic has also made us acutely aware of how vulnerable our global food supply chains are. So it is really wonderful to have the Open Food Network cutting out the middleman and connecting us up with local producers. This gives us resilience and also connects us to the source of the food we need to live and flourish.
I’ve also sat on the European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee for five years, and seen how the global food and farming system is dominated by agribusiness and supermarkets. This has led to food waste, food poverty, and a bad deal for farmers as well as some spectacular food scandals. When it comes to good high-quality food with strong links between farmers and eaters, local is always best!”
~ Molly Scott Cato, former Green MEP
We have long known that local food makes sense from an environmental point of view, but the global pandemic has also made us acutely aware of how vulnerable our global food supply chains are. So it is really wonderful to have the Open Food Network cutting out the middleman and connecting us up with local producers. This gives us resilience and also connects us to the source of the food we need to live and flourish.
I’ve also sat on the European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee for five years, and seen how the global food and farming system is dominated by agribusiness and supermarkets. This has led to food waste, food poverty, and a bad deal for farmers as well as some spectacular food scandals. When it comes to good high quality food with strong links between farmers and eaters, local is always best!
~Molly Scott Cato, former Green MEP
Open Food Network is an essential tool. It helps connect these eaters directly with local producers, enabling them to support the emergence of local agrifood systems. This virtual highway is a common resource, using the potential of digital media to connect these communities of eaters and farmers – working together for food sovereignty.
It’s absolutely essential for these alternative systems to develop, gathering connections and strength, until finally it is the new mainstream agri-food system.
~Olivier de Schutter, The former UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, IPES Food
The Open Food Network helps us at Tamar Valley Food Hubs to bring the freshest and tastiest local food to our customers enabling us all to support the local economy and ensure that our growers are paid a fair price for their produce. The software has helped us to streamline our admin so we can grow in every sense of the word.
We love being part of the Open Food Network; it’s so much more than an online platform; being part on an international community of like minded people who are passionate about local food feels really exciting.
~Sara, Tamar Valley Food Hub
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