Farm to Institution Open Data Standards

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Linking value chains and value networks

This problem statement is being submitted for Farm Hack community consideration, in hopes of developing open data standards and exchange protocols supporting better communication, coordination and collaboration across Farm to Institution ag/food value chains, as well as the "value networks" which surround and support them. That includes organizations like Farm to Institution New England (FINE) and those illustrated in the provided image, adapted from "LINK Methodology" materials. Recent reports like this one have identified a clear need for institutions having “a system in place to record local and nonlocal purchases or … purchasing data from their distributors, tracking and reporting on their goals”.

Through a John Merck Fund supported Northeast Food Knowledge Ecosystem (NEFKE) pilot project, initial taxonomies and protocols for the exchange of data and information between support network member sites (including are already being developed. This beta work is supported in part through Drupal Feeds. The "entities" described by these taxonomies include people, organizations (including businesses, and networks of organizations like FINE), projects, events, news/blog posts (via RSS) and resources (using Drupal Biblio).

We're looking to ally our knowledge ecosystem efforts with others interested in collaboratively developing data standards and protocols supporting a more seamless and at least partially transparent F2I value chain. While open and accessible as much as possible, "ownership" of data should be respected and supported at and across each segment, similar to and possibly connected with ideals of the Open Ag Data Alliance. The standard(s) should ultimately be platform agnostic, with data repurposable (e.g. showcasing farm profiles at the point of institutional consumption) or extended (integrating with ERP/ICS systems) where desired. Ideally these standards would support the mutually beneficial linking of business like that outlined in the LINK Methodology mentioned above.

The NEFKE Farm Hack Open Shop will be one place to facilitate this conversation, in partnership with Farm Hack and others, including the Open Food Foundation. While this work may focus initially on Farm to Institution value chains in the Northeast, it should be extensible to other sectors and regions, building on/with existing work and efforts elsewhere.