20 Aug, 2014 Last updated: 04 Mar, 2015

The Open Food Network attracted 398 supporters to raise $35,877 in their recent crowd-funding campaign.

Money raised will go towards preparing for an Australia-wide launch of the local food marketplace in March 2015.

Raising the Profile

The campaign received good international coverage in environmental and “sharing economy” magazines, as well as Australian coverage in the rural press and foodie blogosphere.

Highlights included:

"If it gets the traction it deserves, it could help to turn the food system on its head” Treehugger

"There are a lot of these kinda ideas out there. They’ve all got their hearts in the right place. But we reckon THIS ONE has not only legs, but some seriously amazing potential" Milkwood Permaculture

"Tapped into a growing uneasiness of the concentration of power in the supermarket sector" Stock and Land

"A quiet revolution to re-connect public with produce" ABC Mildura

Getting around

Kicking off at the Big Ideas Local Food Jam, hosted by the City of Melbourne, the campaign trail continued onto Sydney to talk with folks from Youth Food Movement, Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance, Milkwood Permaculture and Transition Sydney, before venturing to Brisbane to launch at a great event put on by Food Connect Brisbane and Regen Ag.  

Kirsten ran workshops in Tasmania and presented to international development stakeholders at an Oxfam event. The campaign finished with a bang at a “Pecha Kucha” event with inspirational speakers across Melbourne’s food system!

Proof is in the Pudding

The campaign enabled the testing of communications with different stakeholders, in particularly some early service offerings.  The “showcase hub” offers have been taken up by Melbourne Farmer’s Markets and Earth and Sky Organics.  The group offer has been taken up by Mount Alexander Sustainability Group. High level offers have been snapped up post crowd-funding by Wyndham City Council, Bondi Food Collective and Trentham Food Hub.  

Thirty-four farmers put their hands up for profiles and another fourteen for their own online stores. This exercise confirmed assumptions about early adopters.  Early adopter farmers tend to be those already selling direct (e.g. through farmer’s markets). The early adopter hubs and groups are from Central Victoria (with its high proportion of small farmers), the organics industry, and existing farmer’s markets.  The next trial phase will focus on not only refining the offering for these groups, but with a keen eye on who’s next.

Follow Open Food Network's progress

Check out latest developments and sign up to find out how you can get involved: openfoodnetwork.org.au