Setting up an online ordering system from scratch can prove difficult. It can be costly and requires specialist skills. However, as online ordering and paying platforms increasingly become the norm, food co-ops and buying groups can consider using ready-made systems to ease the payment process. Two examples are detailed below.

Open Food Network (OFN)

OFN UK is a collaboration helping power a food revolution. The team includes fundraisers, facilitators and a wealth of experienced good food people. They use innovative, open source software to help streamline local food enterprises and connect to the people who eat their food. Built to fuel the movement for food sovereignty in the UK and around the world, OFN is a social enterprise built on co-operative principles aimed at transforming how our food is produced, distributed and eaten for the better. Specfically, OFN software is designed to support:

  • flexibility to community agriculture projects and box schemes
  • diversity to food hubs with wholesale functionality
  • resilience to farmers' markets with pre-ordering
  • revenue streams to producers with an online shopfront
  • the streamlining of local food projects' adminstration with simple reporting, which links with accounting systems
  • our food system to network, collaborate and GROW

Open Food Network UK website

Big Barn

BigBarn has been trading for 16 years and its website gets thousands of visitors per day. Their strategy is to:

  • Build the definitive database of local producers and retailers

  • Put them all on a map and give each a password to add and edit their details
  • Get the BigBarn data on as many other websites as possible, paying each site a commission on trade and advertising
  • Provide initiatives to encourage consumers to change from the supermarkets to buying local, including; BigBarn MarketPlace, cheaper than the supermarkets, ‘Crop for the Shop’ and KIS Cookery.

The BigBarn Food Map including BigBarn MarketPlace is now on 90+ affiliate partner websites with more joining every week as the demand for better, fresher local food & drink grows.

Big Barn website

To find more useful food co-op related information visit our homepage

Food Co-ops toolkit: The Food Co-ops Toolkit will give you all the information you need to set up your own food co-op.

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