COVID-19 - How is your enterprise responding?

Covid-19 is already impacting our food supply chains; shoppers and buyers are shifting online. How can we be sure that community food businesses can continue to provide good food for people? How can we best support our communities, particularly vulnerable members, while people self-isolate? How can we make sure that all people have access to nutritious food?

As we all try to find the best ways to keep our food systems running during COVID-19, there’s a lot we can learn from each other. If you are trying new things or have practice to share, or you’re freaking out and need to hear how other people are doing things, remember you are not alone and we are all stronger together.

Post below, join a webinar with others involved with community food enterprises and check out the resources. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Open Food Network team:

Upcoming Webinars

How is your food enterprise responding?

16.30 to 17.30BST every Wednesday
Join Here or from your phone dial +44.121.468.3154 and enter PIN: 2094 5307 61
These drop-in calls will be opportunities for all participants to talk about their experiences of running a food production, retail or distribution enterprise (with or without online systems) over the recent weeks, to ask questions and offer and receive support.

We are also discussing what we can do to ensure that the changes we are seeing to our food systems result in long-term improvements in terms of local resilience and that we do not return to business as usual.

These sessions are now morphing into group coaching sessions to sustain these community food enterprises - details here

Recordings are available below after each session.

We are also offering regular online drop-in calls for anyone who is new to the Open Food Network to have some help with the detail of opening their shopfront and starting to trade. We will be screen sharing both ways. One of our experienced OFN shopfront managers will be sharing their screen, taking questions and walking through all the details of setting up an enterprise. Participants can also share their screen and be helped with anything they are stuck with. These calls are happening every Thursday starting 2nd April at 10.00BST on this zoom link

Past Webinars

The global Open Food Network community are taking steps to organise webinars such that online food enterprises can share ideas and global best practice online.
OFN Australia and Global Webinar: 8:00am GMT Wednesday 18/03. Recording available here.

OFN UK Webinar: 5:30pm Wednesday 18/03. Slides and Recording here.

OFN UK Webinar: 4:30pm Wednesday 25/03. [Recording here.]

OFN UK Webinar: 4.30pm Wednesday 1st April. Recording and chat record and webinar slides with notes of the discussion recorded during the webinar

OFN UK Webinar 4.30pm Wednesday 8th April. Recording and chat record with links that were shared during the webinar. There is a summary of this webinar here to help you find relevant parts of the recording

OFN UK Webinar 4.30pm Wednesday 15th April. Recording and chat record with links shared during the call

OFN UK Webinar 4.30pm Wednesday 22nd April. Recording and chat record with links shared during the call and webinar slides with minutes taken during the meeting

OFN UK webinar 4.30 Wednesday 29th April: Recording and chat record with links shared during the call and slides with notes recorded during the webinar

OFN UK webinar 4.30 Weds 6th May: Audio recording and slides with notes recorded during the webinar

OFN UK Webinar 4.30 Weds 13th May slides with detailed notes (below each slide) recorded during the webinar

OFN UK webinar 4.30 Wednesday 20th May: Recording and slides with notes recorded during the webinar

OFN UK webinar 4.30 Wednesday 27th May: Recording and slides with notes recorded during the webinar

OFN UK webinar 3rd June recording and slides with notes recorded during the webinar

How to Adapt your Food Business Hygiene Procedures

Follow the Official government advice for Food Businesses

Find the official government advice here.

In summary:

  1. Follow your HACCP and existing guidelines
  2. Employers should stress the importance of more frequent handwashing and maintaining good hygiene practices in food preparation and handling areas.
  3. Frequently clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are touched regularly, using your standard cleaning products.

Funding Opportunities to Support your Response

Check out our specific forum post on this topic.

Resources to Support Small Businesses

Resource Hub for Social Enterprises and Charities from Good Finance.

HR Advice: Specifically for Cooperatives but useful for other types of organisations

Government Advice to Small Business: Official government advice page

Other Resources

Sustain Alliance - have put together this incredible set of resources that are constantly being updated.

UK Gov SAGE - Coronavirus repsonse from Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE).

Radio 4 Food Programme - Origins and impacts of corona virus on food supply

Mututal Aid resources - to help communities support the most vulnerable

Australian Fair Food Forum - how is your enterprise responding to Covid-19

Coronavirus Tech Handbook - a crowdsourced book of technical information on the virus.

Government guidance on how to handle food from affected areas.

Plunket Foundation: Guide for Community Business and Coronavirus

Future Learn: A short online course on tackling the novel coronavirus.

COVID-19 Crisis and Food Systems: addressing threats, creating opportunities

Hygeine guidelines for markets

Stroudco Food Hub COVID procedures

Online Sales

If you would like to offer online sales and home deliveries during the coronavirus the Open Food Network software helps you to sell online and to coordinate with other producers in your area to share distribution.

From Tamar Valley Food Hubs:

All vehicles and packing space have been deep-cleaned. We have sanitiser spray in every van. Gloves for every van driver. Everything touched gets sanitised, every door knob.

We do door-to-door deliveries with safe-places specified enabling us to have no contact.

For multi-occupancy buildings all door knobs sanitized as the delivery team go through.

From Jacky at Dean Forest Food Hub

Info received from local health people - packaging (cardboard, plastic) unlikely to retain virus for more than 12 hours.

Other evidence suggests the time might be longer for plastic and steel - up to three days:

Resources after our webinar (on 18/03)

Slides from the meeting with notes.

Webinar recording

Webinar chat transcript

From Colleagues in Beijing

  • Using community hubs as pick-up grocery stores - supplement to farmers’ market
  • Increasing delivery
  • At the start of outbreak didn’t have enough veg to sell as their sales channels were full
  • Major impacts of outbreak include transportation limits - some villages on lockdown, farmers can’t get produce to market, some farmers don’t have access to farm
  • Farmers facing shortage of labour - quarantines, unable to get labour to farms
  • Farmers who rely on farmers’ markets lost connection with their consumers - turning more to social media now
  • E-business tycoons using this moment in time to advertise heavily and taking business away from farmers’ markets
  • Masks and gloves, not touching faces - as time goes on relaxing a bit, e.g. talking without mask on - Masks seen as key part of defence because of how COVID-19 spreads
  • Having protective equipment shows you care about protecting others

From Australia

Food enterprises in Australia are responding quickly and in a number of ways.
Read their responses here.

Stroudco Food Hub is relaunching earlier than planned in response to the COVID-19 situatipon. Does anyone have a written health and safety plan/policy that we could copy - ours is very out of date. Thanks

Stroudco Food Hub has received many offers of help from the local community. We have set up this volunteer/helper document to communicate how they can help and try to keep us all as corona-free as possible in the process

Some of us are selling surplus veg from allotments. This is the local advice we are giving to our allotment groups based on our interpretation of the advice from national and local (Stroud District) government and from the NSALG is:

• You may travel to your allotment but you should not use public transport.
• Use gloves to unlock and lock the gates or use hand sanitiser before and after.
• Maintain social distancing of at least 2 metres (6 feet)
• Only plot holders should be on the plots and only working together if they are from the same household.
• Children from your household must stay on your plot.
• Please continue to follow the guidance posted on all allotment gates.
• Wash your hands regularly with soap and water.
• Please don’t light bonfires at the moment, we all need to keep our lungs as healthy as possible.
• The information and advice will be updated as soon as there are any changes from the government.
• If you have any questions or concerns, please contact any member of the committee.

Some great business advice and resources for co-ops - including a webinar recording from yesterday

Documents from Sara at Tamar Valley Food Hub about how they are managing the risk of COVID-19:
Cornwall Council Food Takeaway delivery guidance
Letter to delivery drivers

Cambridge Sustainable Food have made their guidelines publicly available:

Guidelines for Safely Handling Food

A new thread on this forum is exploring how OFN and its hubs are evolving to meet the growing demands.

Our latest COVID webinar (recording here) covered these subjects:
The webinar started with a summary of recent developments in the Open Food Network community as community food projects find new ways of using the software to cope with the COVID crisis. Also some new software developments
At 8’ 44" we heard from people running (and starting up new) community food enterprises. They talk about the challenges they are facing and how they are meeting those challenges.
At 28’ we talk about the support being provided by OFN and take questions about how this works in practice
At 35’ @SaraR talks about how Tamar Valley Food Hubs are opening their order cycles for limited periods only to cope with the high levels of demand
At 37’ Sara talks about their plan for prioritising vulnerable customers and adjusting order cycle opening and closing times to allow producers time to update their stock levels.
At 39’ @Lynne.OFN.Tech talks about the route planning systems that are bring reviewed to help anyone working with large volumes of home deliveries.

Here is the chat record containing links that we shared during the webinar.

Thanks for the break down, that is really useful.

@Lynne.OFN.Tech - is there route planning available via OFN?

@DownFarm here is the discussion on route planning systems