How to set up a food co-op or buying group in a university or college

This simple "how to" factsheet advises universities, colleges and student groups on how to make fresh, local, ethically produced food more accessible to the local community, whilst supporting local farmers by providing them with a local, regular and reliable outlet.

01/01/2011
Food co-ops toolkit
4pp - 2011

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This simple "how to" factsheet advises universities, colleges and student groups on how to make fresh, local, ethically produced food more accessible to university and college students, whilst supporting local farmers by providing them with a local, regular and reliable outlet.

More and more students want to eat organic, local and fair-trade food but unfortunately it’s not always that easy to buy good quality produce or even just something healthy and affordable.

Setting up a food co-op means you can buy food that may not be available locally, and because you’re buying direct from farmers and wholesalers you can save a third or more off normal shop prices. Getting involved in running a community project and volunteering on a regular basis is also a great way to meet new people and something that’ll look good on your CV.

The guide gives advice on the ten Ps of running a food co-op:

  • People
  • Planning
  • Produce
  • Premises
  • Practical resources
  • Procedures and pricing
  • Promotion
  • Policies and principles
  • Permits and licenses
  • Progress

The publication concludes with three inspiring case studies of:

  • SOAS Good Food and Co-op Society at SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies) food co-op in central London.
  • Leeds Green Action Food Co-op, an organisation within Leeds University Union run entirely by volunteers.
  • Hearty Squirrel Co-operative, provides its members with organic and ethically traded food at affordable prices. This was set up to offer students (and others) the chance to buy wholefoods in bulk and is an offshoot of the Edinburgh University Co-operative Society (EUCS).

Published by Sustain's Food Co-ops project, in partnership with the Soil Association and funded as part of the Big Lottery's Making Local Food Work programme. For more information on Food Co-ops, and to use the Food Co-ops Toolkit or Food Co-ops Finder, visit: www.foodcoops.org.

 

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Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming

Sustain advocates food and agriculture policies and practices that enhance the health and welfare of people and animals, improve the working and living environment, promote equity and enrich society and culture.