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= student-run food cooperative


"The idea of CoFed was built out of the growing relationships between student food cooperative (co-op) start-ups and is especially linked to the success of the Berkeley Student Food Collective in the winter of 2009-2010. The idea was to create an incubating structure to support students interested in creating food co-ops in their campus food system as well as to address some of the endemic problems, such as high turnover, institutional capacity, and memory, many of these cooperative projects have historically faced.

Student food co-ops integrate into the landscape of the university and operate as beacons for education and hubs for sustainability and activism among students. Student food co-ops as thriving money-making businesses can be a source of direct power for students aiming to transform their campus food systems. Co-ops can have control over the sourcing, the price of food for students, and revenue reinvestment. In addition, co-ops create opportunities for people to gain access to quality food through volunteering and wages. These co-ops educate and expose generations of students to food system critiques and give students a solid way to build food sovereignty. They also provide a means to create a peer-facilitated cultural shift in student communities. Through involvement in food co-ops, student organizers internalize food justice and food sustainability in their daily lives and often continue to build food sovereignty in the communities they join following graduation.

The creation and success of student-run food cooperatives, and the often-accompanying campus farms, serve to legitimize community efforts of a similar nature. The systemic efforts on behalf of student food co-op organizers have the potential to transform their campuses into more ideal models for development within a conducive intellectual environment where arguments around food sovereignty can especially gain traction. We hope that a national co-op organizing effort—in tandem with efforts to start campus gardens and farmers’ markets—can build momentum for food sovereignty on campuses throughout the country. In the process, we seek to increase the influence of food sovereignty as a development model in broader community development patterns both at the local, city, national, and international scale." (