Database for a local community farm project

Hi folks,

I have just started volunteering at Oxford City Farm and one of my jobs is to set up a database to catalogue all their produce, how much is sold or distributed (to volunteers etc), and how much income the farm gets for each crop. Being able to geenrate useful reports based on the data is a key feature as well as being able to input the data easily (for non tech users).

They have Google Apps (free for charity, I think) so I was initially thinking of setting up spreadsheets etc in Drive to manage this but am wondering if there is any free / open source software projects out there that do this kind of thing.

@chris put me on to Open Food Network which looks pretty good but seems more geared towards selling via an online shop (we don’t need this functionality as it will all be wholesale or direct cash sales, no online selling).

@nick maybe you have some ideas?

Any advice / suggestions would be appreciated!

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I would caution against relying on offline distribution. We had a long running community enterprise in Kingston upon Thames called ‘From the Group Up’, and despite 5-years of effort they could neither distribute wholesale nor through volunteer run distribution centres because 1) volumes were too small and unreliable, 2) customers were inconvenienced by having to drive to pick up their food boxes, and as a result 3) demand was too low to make it worthwhile.

People got used to online shopping so I doubt that they will revert willingly to ‘direct cash sales’ as you put it.

Hi @Aaron - I would encourage you to make contact with Pete Russell at Ooooby and have a discussion about what you need. I wqoulkd guess that all systems like this will be focussed to some extent on online sales, and it seems daft to not enable this, as @DavidRandall says, but of course I don’t know the particulars of Oxford City Farm. Pete has been involved with software in the food space probably for ten years now, and knows pretty much everything about what’s out there, what’s useful. Ooooby itself is a pretty neat stack and may well be worth considering. You can hit him via @ohmpo on Twitter, or PM me and I can share an email address.

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Hi Aaron,

This is a great question. Over at Cofarm Cambridge https://www.cofarm.co/ we’re just starting out and I’m thinking about the digital systems we’ll need to track growing/distribution as well as biodiversity data. It would be great if community farm ventures could use/develop/maintain/benefit from shared digital infrastructure cooperatively, and I’d be keen to find others working on / thinking about this.

Best,

Laura

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Another group worth talking with is https://www.organiclea.org.uk/ :smiley:

They’ve been trading successfully for nearly 20 years, so have tried a wide range of methods of doing things. :slight_smile:

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Hey @aaron :slight_smile: nothing specific comes to mind, and I haven’t been involved in a food project setup in that way, more on the free-for-all style :slight_smile:

but I stumbled across foodsoft a while back and a discussion on mastodon led to a few other projects, might find something useful in there, for convenience here are the links from the thread:

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On the last item on your list @nick - Buckybox - I would probably steer clear. From what I’ve heard this system is old and not at all maintained. I know of many food orgs keen to migrate away from using it.

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See also http://www.openfoodsource.org/

There is also an open source platform developed in Spain but I’m on my phone so can’t find it right now…

Somewhat related and mostly a “FYI” but there was a nice talk on peer-to-peer systems being developed for the farming sector: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uog2ByDcJ2c&list=PL7sG5SCUNyeYx8wnfMOUpsh7rM_g0w_cu&index=16&t=0s.

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