OFN workshops 2023

The Open Food Network in Lincolnshire

We’re still buzzing from the conversations led by Nick Weir form the Open Food Network, about developing local food networks and food hubs in Lincolnshire.

25 people travelled from across the county (Greater Lincolnshire is MASSIVE!) and gathered at Mint Lane Cafe in Lincoln, for two OFN workshops and a convivial bring & share Burns Night supper.  

A variety of independent food enterprises

Participants had a lot of questions – of Nick and each other – and much to contribute, coming with various backgrounds, roles and intentions within the local food ecosystem, including:

  • producers interested in the possibility of selling directly to eaters and buyers including
  • large and smaller scale farmers,
  • growers,
  • food processors
  • Representatives of organisations addressing poverty through food
  • People with transport capacity to move produce between producers and eaters
  • Potential pick up points such as shops and cafes
  • Potential hubs – both:
  • producer hubs selling their own and other producers’ goods 
  • non producer hubs providing a single shop front for multiple producers working from a consolidation point

We heard from all the people in the room about their interest in building short food supply chains locally, and had a look at how the OFN is working in other parts of the country. 

Getting started on OFN

We set up one of the farmers on the OFN from scratch as a live demo. This included

  • setting up her enterprise on the OFN
  • setting up the first of her products
  • creating one of her ‘shipping methods’
  • setting up one payment option
  • opening her shop ready to take orders

This whole process took around 20 mins.

We explored the options for a network of producers and hubs across Lincolnshire and are now planning some regional workshops to develop hubs around Lincoln, Grimsby and Sleaford.

‘It is very inspiring to see how much enthusiasm there is for local, resilient, responsive and efficient food systems that meet the needs of all the people involved in the food supply chain. Great things will be happening in Lincolnshire!’

Nick Weir, OFN

“Thank you for bringing so many of us together yesterday to help grow a greater presence on OFN within Lincolnshire. I look forward to seeing local foods start to become easier to find and purchase!”

A participant, who emailed her appreciation shortly after the session

People really want to eat nourishing, locally & sustainably produced food, and yet in a great farming county like Lincolnshire, why is that so difficult? It is immensely exciting to see these generous,  passionate, determined people from farms, foodbanks, shops, market gardens and more, coming together to work out how we can make good food available to everyone in our communities. Happily, there’s the OFN to help with that….

Laura Stratford, Greater Lincolnshire Food Partnership

Find out more

If you’re interested in finding out more about being part of a vibrant and accessible local food economy in Lincolnshire, please email Laura@lincolnshirefoodpartnership.org

Food producers can register on the Open Food Network free of charge.

Thank you Ticky!

Ticky Nadal is stepping down from her role as Food Partnership Coordinator at the end of March, to focus more on her work at Board Director at Mint Lane CIC. Ticky has done so much for the Food Partnership, especially working with foodbanks and community larders across the county; reducing food waste; championing healthy diets…

A Lincolnshire Breadbasket

I was recently in a meeting about agri food, when an academic said to me – Laura, remember that farmers don’t really have that much to do with food. At first I was taken aback, but there is a sense in which selling a crop into a global commodity market does create a fairly stunning…

Notes from the Tamar Valley

Food Partnership Coordinator, Laura Stratford, made a research trip to the Tamar Valley, an area of the country where the Open Food Network is being used to great effect, to see if Lincolnshire might take a leaf from their book… Accessing Local Food Lincolnshire produces a huge proportion of the nation’s food.  But if we,…


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