CoFED is a training program and national alliance for campus-based food cooperatives. The issue of food quality and insecurity on college campuses is serious. The consolidation of our food system, upheld by college institutions, is only perpetuating injustices in our food system, creating ecological and economic crisis that effects us all, and impacting communities of color and low-income communities first and worst. In 2015, colleges spent over $16 billion on food. What if instead, colleges utilized their power as local economic anchors to invest in equitable local economies that increase access to healthy food? CoFED's work builds skills and supports a new generation of food justice leaders while also creating ready markets for community-owned food, like worker-owned restaurants, cooperative grocery stores, and multi-farm CSAs.
CoFED's founding leadership was catalyzed into action when a national fast food chain attempted to open on UC-Berkeley's campus for the first time ever. It was proposed to open in the César Chávez Student Union, a building named after the co-founder of the National Farm Workers Association and an icon for nonviolent organizing for labor and civil rights. Students led a massive campaign to keep the chain off campus, and opened a community-owned grocery cooperative in its wake. By reaching out to other campus food coops across the country, this network worked together to get CoFED off the ground in 2011 with the vision of building power and sharing resources nationally. Since then, we have developed seven cooperative enterprises and educated hundreds of students nationwide by phone consultation, in-person trainings, networking events, and our Summer Co-op Academy.