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Technical partner tendering

The Food Data Collaboration are open to hearing from digital platforms who are interested in contributing to this exciting project. We are running an ongoing tendering process for potential technical partners, as set out below.

Overview

This project aims to use an existing standard to build interoperability between digital platforms working in farmer-focussed food supply chains. This project seeks tenders from digital platforms, who are inspired by what we’re trying to achieve, to join us on this journey to integrate with the standard and run an interoperability trial. We will be awarding these tenders on a periodic basis, until funds are exhausted. All tender applications received in a period will be reviewed at a Governance meeting and tenders awarded based on criteria outlined below. The next Governance meeting is Friday 10th June 2022. The next cut-off is 12:00 (BST) Thursday 9th June 2022.

About us

The UK Food Data Collaboration is a project to integrate UK short supply chain food distribution platforms with the Data Food Consortium (DFC) Ontology, creating a UK Local Food Data Commons. The project is being hosted by the Open Food Network UK and is funded by The National Lottery Community Fund through to March 2024.

Our vision

Our vision is:

  • A world in which all food is produced agroecologically – in ways that regenerate Earth’s ecosystems.
  • A world in which everyone working in food systems, from farm to fork, works with dignity and respect, earning a fair living with decent working conditions and rights.
  • A world in which every meal is truly nourishing for people, families and communities, and is affordable and accessible for all people.

How will we do this?

  • Farmer-focused supply chain models increase producer margins and create more and better jobs for food system workers. We will increase the amount of food bought and sold through farmer-focused supply chain models.
  • Expansion of farmer-focused supply chain models has been limited as margins are tight, meaning creating good livelihoods and accessible pricing is near impossible. We will reduce barriers to deeper collaboration.
  • Deeper collaboration can be achieved by enabling data to flow freely through the systems, while retaining control and ownership. We will work collaboratively to develop a common data infrastructure.
  • This collaborative infrastructure will benefit supply chains at multiple scales. We believe that diversity is key, meaning supporting appropriate scales from the hyper-local, regional, national and international. We draw inspiration from the Food Zones model.
  • This network of collaboration will ensure that all produce that the network facilitates to be bought and sold will be produced in line with our vision of a truly regenerative, fair and nourishing food system.
  • This network of collaboration will be managed through collective and common governance principles that will ensure the network is working toward the vision.

Benefits

Being part of this network will enable your platform to:

  • Easily access a network of agroecolgoical producers, including certified organic and other labelling systems.
  • Easily access a network of social retailers and distributors prioritising paying a fair price directly to food producers.
  • Foster deeper collaboration with others working toward the above vision

Who should apply

We are seeking tenders from digital platforms that facilitate the sale and distribution of food products. Applications will be considered based on the following criteria:

  • Alignment with the values of the project
  • Potential impact based on scale and locality of on-the-ground operations supported by the digital platform
  • Cost

Deliverables

Phase 1.1

We expect the following deliverables from selected platforms:

  1. OIDC Integration of your platform with the DFC realm of Les Communs keycloak server, such that a producer/hub/shop can either establish a new account utilising Les Communs (website in French) credentials or link their existing account to a Les Communs ID.
    Further information on this can be found here
  1. Exposure of Product data from your platform in a format consumable by the DFC Prototype (JSON-LD, SPARQL etc…) conforming to the DFC Ontology.
    1. Including enterprise, user & platform data
    2. Linked to the OIDC authenticated user
    3. Only sharing data accessible to that user
    4. Responses within SLA timescales (to be agreed), within agreed availability 

    In essence this is a series of API end-points, which expose the product data from your platform for consumption by other FDC commons platforms.

  1. Exposure (and consumption) of Product data from anywhere else in the Food Data Collaboration Commons within the platform’s shopfront. 
    1. Enabling querying of DFC Product data from other platforms
    2. Displaying that data in the shopfront of the platform
    3. Ensuring any caching (for performance) is managed, esp. within checkout processes such that only up to date stock is sold from any source platform.
    4. Ensuring any stock updates (sales and returns) are pushed to the FDC Commons to SLA timescales (to be agreed). 
  1. Minimal configurable user access controls for producers/hubs to ensure that:
    1. A producer/hub on your platform must be able to opt in (and out) of the FDC commons.
    2. A platform must be able to override producer/hub users and exclude from the FDC commons

Phase 1.2 (outside the scope of this briefing document)

It is expected that work in this project will continue beyond the initial implementation phase into a pilot phase of the project. The details of the pilot phase are still to be determined so we are not asking for costings for this part of the project – this will be costed separately at a later date. This phase of the project will include:

  • Thorough testing of the integration with other digital platforms involved
  • Rolling out in specific geographic regions, involving producers, distributors and shoppers in these regions.

It would be useful if you could provide a short explanation as to how your platform would support a pilot limited by user and/or geographic region (e.g. our UAC model provides groupings by geographic region and UX functionality can be restricted based on these groupings).

Note: If you are successful you will also be offered technical support from the Food Data Collaboration. You will have the opportunity to participate in the governance of the project and we will favour applications from organisations that align with the goals of the project and demonstrate a willingness to help drive the project into the future.

How to apply

Please submit an expression of interest that includes:

  • A description of your digital platform and its alignment with the vision of the Food Data Collaboration.
  • A summary of the scale of your digital platforms impact, including total UK turnover, geographic regions of operation, numbers of shoppers, producers and distributors using your platform.

A member of the team will be in touch to discuss this and support you in producing: 

  • A description of high level delivery timescales for the deliverables, including when you will be able to commence development and when you expect to complete delivery.
  • A high level cost estimate (including variances) for deliverables 1-4.

If you have any questions about the process, please contact fooddatacollaboration _at_ proton.me. Please be aware that there are no full-time staff on the project, so you may not receive an immediate response. Completed applications should be emailed to fooddatacollaboration _at_proton.me.

Photo by James Wainscoat on Unsplash.