OFN handbook

Legal model

Three layers of commons

There is no global entity on a legal dimension. An entity is always based in a given country, and the law of that country applies. Also, the Open Food Network has really three "layers": - the global commons layer: OFN software and shared knowledge - the territorial/regional/country layer: OFN UK, OFN Australia, Open Food France, Katuma , OFN Canada, etc. are local commons managed as platform cooperatives by multiple stakeholders. Those organisations are users and coproducers of the global commons. - the local layer: local food hubs, that most of the time are also super local commons. They are users and coproducers of the local commons OFN UK, OFN Australia, Open Food France, etc.

A network of local entities

So legally speaking, the Open Food Network is a network of local entities who are together committed and engaged with one another to codevelop and maintain global commons, and to start with, the OFN software they all use. The contractual document here is our "community pledge". Every entity who wants to be part of the Open Food Network community has to sign that pledge publicly. It means we all share the responsability for that global commons, so we all have to work on making it thrive, economically viable, make sure it really serve the food system we want to serve, etc.

A "brand licence" based on local entity governance model

Every local entity choose the legal structure that best feet their need, following the subsidiarity principle. BUT in order to claim themselves as "member of the Open Food Network", they have to follow the rules explained in the community pledge, i.e.: - They need to be democratically run. As there will only be one OFN affiliate in a given territory/region/county, so it needs to be open so that if other people or stakeholders are interested, they can join and codevelop with them. - They need to be not-for-profit. It doesn't mean they shouldn't earn mony, it means profit shouldn't be there objective, just a mean to achieve some other social change objective.