Tue 17 Apr 2018 8:34AM


Y yova Public Seen by 327

Exploring the relationship between Solidarity Based Food Systems (SFS) and Open Value Networks


yova Tue 17 Apr 2018 8:50AM

Hi Guys!
For an Erasmus+ project within the international CSA network urgenci I am exploring FLOSS suitable for managing SFS. We also want to provide help for financial planning for one year or more in advance. For that I explored solutions for ERP, came to NRPs and to the development of the valueflows vocabulary. Great work you do! But still a bit too advanced for giving concrete help to financially struggling or starting SFS. We want to stay with simple business planning math for now. But even that is quite challenging, as SFS economics vary so much around the world. For a simplification attempt I try collect all possible monetary influx and outflows for categorizing them later and to put some planning math on top. Maybe you have some thoughts about that: https://discourse.solawi.allmende.io/t/attempt-on-unifying-sfs-economics/227

Furthermore I was wondering whether any of you strolls around Europe from time to time? At the Libre Software Meeting 2018 I'll have a presentation of the tools (here's the working document: https://cloud.solawi.allmende.io/s/5gq246GSw7axZCy) and Agnez from GASAP network will host a dev room about these tools.
Maybe that's a chance to meet some of you?


Bob Haugen Tue 17 Apr 2018 11:28AM

Hi @yova - really interesting questions. I'll study the links you posted and see if I can find somebody who wants to attend that meeting in July and respond in more detail later today. But I already have a bookmark on urgenci, it came up in some conversations in FairCoop. And we love CSAs!


Bob Haugen Tue 17 Apr 2018 3:13PM

I looked through all of your links. I could access the spreadsheet that compared various apps: https://cloud.solawi.allmende.io/s/5gq246GSw7axZCy
but could not open this one: https://cloud.solawi.allmende.io/apps/onlyoffice/28464

Is that the same one? Or do you have something that represents a start on the inflows and outflows?

Are you only interested in the money flows for now, and not all the resource flows involved in growing and distributing food? That's understandable. And cash flow management is often the most useful tool for a small economic organization. I'd be interested in what types of business planning math you have in mind. Something like this? https://www.valueflo.ws/appendix/cashflows.html
Or different?

CSAs are complex organizations, as one can see from all of the functions listed in the app comparison spreadsheet. I'll mention some apps and projects that might be relevant and where somebody in ValueFlows might know something useful, but I can't actually recommend any CSA apps, because I don't understand their internal workings enuf.

I see https://openfoodnetwork.org/ in the apps list, with no details. Do they lack CSA functions? I think @elfpavlik of ValueFlows knows them in some operational detail...? Pavlik, is Vientos doing anything with OFN?

http://linked.farm/ is another app that Kalin Maldzhanski of VF is working on, and may have some relevance.

We've had some conversations with http://datafoodconsortium.org/ which might also be relevant from a vocabulary and data-sharing perspective.

Hope some of that is useful or at least interesting...


yova Wed 18 Apr 2018 9:09AM

Thank you @bobhaugen for replying so timely! Here's a public link to the simple collection of SFS budget lines: https://cloud.solawi.allmende.io/s/kjqMtntZfY7RB24

Send me an PM if you want to get an invitation to the solawi-cloud!

As I am from the german CSA network SoLawi, one of the main characteristics of CSA economics is members payment of the production. So producers set up the yearly costs for production and divide it by the number of members to get the monthly share costs, which often have the form of membership fees. This economic mode leads to a decommodification of food to some degree, the vegetables in the depots looses its price, the local agroecological farm as it is becomes the actual value. Surplusses and bad harvests are beared by the membership in the same way.
Financially this needs a planned total cost calculation, at least one year in advance (better up to 10). The solidbase project is about collecting best practise approaches for this 'budget calculation'. For having an better overview of how well the plan had been made, we'd like also to show up possibilities on how the current cash flow behaves in comparison to the plan (controlling).
Seen from the international perspective, one major characteristic of CSAs is its great polymorphy. So in many regions also box schemes and buyers groups are also considered as CSAs. But also the producers for those would benefit from a solidarity plan, as it is shown by the french AMAP.
The challenge is how to categorize the commonalities of all those SFS economic entities. And as it is all about securing the livelihood of the farmers, these are first of all monetary values. That makes it gladly comparatively simple - all about numbers. :)

Thanks for the links! For OFN I just haven't found the time to fill in the data - it's work in progress. We are starting an international questionnaire in these weeks, we'll hope to find some more home brewn solutions by that. At the end of summer, we hope to have an overview ;)

The core principle of linked.fram I haven't really understood, why are they saying they are non profit, when the farmer only gets 80%?

datafoodconsortium doesn't really seem useful here as it makes little sense to me to record food in short supply chains digitally, as it should have been digested before a scanner could touch it. 8-)


Bob Haugen Wed 18 Apr 2018 12:20PM

@yova we belong to this CSA now: https://mastodonvalleyfarm.com/ and have belonged to other CSAs in the past, for maybe the last 10 years. Love all the variations on the model, especially SoLawi which seems to have more community involvement than most CSAs the US.

I see the inflows in that spreadsheet, but I don't see "the yearly costs for production ", or the number of members, so I would not be able to " divide it by the number of members to get the monthly share costs".

That seems like a good way to do it, though. The CSAs I know in the US start with a guess for membership fees and adjust it next year if last year was out-of-balance. They are profit-making farms, for the most part, so the membership fee is a market price and the food is still largely a commodity, but the sharing of the risk between the farmers and the eaters does apply.


yova Sat 21 Apr 2018 3:53PM

Beautiful pictures! Nice straw hat couture at your place ;)
That's ours: https://solawi-freudenthal.de/

Probably you haven't found the second tab in the spreadsheet? You could easily sum up the costs called "outflow" to get the yearly costs of production.

In the last post you mentioned your view on CSAs being quite complex beasts. I share this view and therefore appreciate the idea of the "open app ecosystem" for having a common communication ground for our digital helpers. Actually all those ERPs are some kind of "open app ecosystems" despite the economic mode they are grounded upon is excluding per se.
So am I right in the assumption that the creation of the valueflows vocabulary is preparatory work for the creation of the 2nd gen NRP? Would be really interesting to apply this concept on agricultural production. Members driven farms would become thinkable then.


Bob Haugen Sat 21 Apr 2018 4:34PM


Probably you haven't found the second tab in the spreadsheet?

Ack! I'm blind! (I see it now.)

am I right in the assumption that the creation of the valueflows vocabulary is preparatory work for the creation of the 2nd gen NRP?

Not necessarily. Sensorica is planning a 2nd gen NRP, but valueflows came out of the early conversations about an open app ecosystem in Loomio,, where several people thought that a common vocabulary would be needed to interconnect the various apps so they could form an ecosystem. Since @lynnfoster and I (and some other people) were interested in economic networks, that's what we focused on.

Would be really interesting to apply this concept on agricultural production. Members driven farms would become thinkable then.

Yes! I'll take another look at your spreadsheet, now that I have recovered from temporary blindness, and see what I can do with it.


Bob Haugen Wed 24 Oct 2018 5:57PM

@yova followups to some of your questions from 6 months ago:

We (me and @lynnfoster ) are now working on the next-generation NRP, with @ivan116 who is here in Loomio, and lives in Italy.

David Hand, who took over maintenance of the version of NRP that Sensorica uses, is also working on it.

We got three parallel projects, using three different P2P infrastructures: Scuttlebutt (which @luandrovieira is working on, and collaborating with Ivan), ActivityPub (which Lynn and I and Ivan and @mayel are working on), and Holochain (with me and Lynn and David and eventually maybe Ivan).

Ivan is in on all of them because he is designing a new user interface to combine social and economic networking.

We'd love to work with a Solawi project.


Jon Richter Wed 24 Oct 2018 8:52PM

Then the open value network is the actual compound of (accidental) members in a group, concrete exchange activity and an oikonomia of commonly shared documentation systems. These in return comprise of an ecosystem of open apps and give space to the diversity of approaches.

We'd like to contribute to such a network by adding a small budgeting app. Its interface is made by reusable web components, which tie to a crowdsourced, semantic data model in a standardised serialisation. The data that powers the application may eventually published as open data, given a suitable license and correctly applied permissions.

@yova Would you know of a SoLaWi that would like to test this out, Freudenthal? I might be able to pair with CSA Basta around the corner, if not a SoLaWi, at least a reappropriation of the internationally recognised term with different meaning.

We could render this into a collective learning effort, informally mobilising the knowledge gathered by the SolidBase project. Once this is up and running, we see how to federate with the others.


Bob Haugen Wed 24 Oct 2018 9:43PM

@jonrichter @yova do you have ideas about which infrastructure and federation protocol you might use?

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