CoFED inspiregizes future food co-op leaders across North America. We support students with training and tools, and connect them with peers, mentors, and allies in a solidarity network.

Racial Justice Fellowship

Basic Background

Cooperative Food Empowerment Directive, or CoFED, is a national network and training program that supports young people to develop food co-ops that end injustice in the food system and advance community-owned wealth. We believe that young people have the power to lead change. We are beyond excited to offer our second ever Racial Justice Fellowship, hoping to build community with young people and provide necessary support and resources for those of us on the front lines of this work. 

CoFED is an organization led by queer and trans PoC, folks from poor/working class backgrounds, and folks with a myriad of intersections and identities. We believe in centering our identities and experiences as relevant, important, and integral to our work and the ways we shape our future. 

This Fellowship supports youth-led initiatives that are grounded in the community - whether that be a neighborhood, a city, or a college campus. Higher education has often been a barrier for young folks looking to make change in the world, and we are excited to offer our resources to folks who do not have (or want) access to the concentrated power of a collegiate institution. We are seeking applicants (age 18-30, regardless of student status) who practice transformative leadership to innovate and impact racial justice and community ownership in the food system. We define transformative leadership as the power of individuals to practice self-awareness, (un)learning, and anti-oppression in community with others to achieve collective liberation. Anyone who is age 18-30 can apply, whether you are enrolled as a student or not, and priority will be given to applicants who are people of color, Native, working class, LGBTQ2S, people with disabilities, immigrants, formerly incarcerated, people with dependents, women and veterans.

Fellowship Project

We invite applicants to propose or share Fellowship Projects that advance anti-oppression and community ownership in the food system in the US. Projects do *not* need to be new or currently non-existing. If you're already working on a project that meets the vision of this fellowship, please feel free to share this project with us. All forms of expression are welcome, and there is no one “type” of project we are looking for. To build a community owned food system, it’ll take everyone with each of our unique gifts and talents. We need folx who can bring people together and folx who can balance budgets, folx who can dream big and folx who can sweat the small details. We need creatives, artists, healers, storytellers, strategists, researchers, entrepreneurs and more to make magic. That’s why we operate from a place of love for people and are looking to support Fellows to express who they are through their Fellowship Projects. For example, if you’re a photographer, you might propose taking photos for a worker-led food justice campaign; if you’re a chef, you might propose hosting weekly dinners where you and your guests cook with ingredients grown by local farmers of color.


Check out some projects from last year's Fellows, Dorian Blue and Dominique Pearson!

Through Word of Mouth: A Community Project

Finding Our Food Again: A Radical, Urban PoC Guide to Survival

19801043_1714166682219818_1521360561556738794_o.jpg Screen_Shot_2018-02-20_at_2.51.50_PM.png



Fellowship Projects may be completed anywhere in the US or tribal territories within 10 weeks in the summer of 2018. Project start and end dates are up to the Fellow. Although Fellows may choose to do so, CoFED does not require or expect Fellows to work 8 hours/day for 10 weeks on the project or to use this Fellowship to replace full-time work.

Fellowship Award

Fellows receive:

  • $5,000 living stipend
  • Full scholarship to Summer Co-op Academy* (worth an estimated $2,000) that includes:
    • Transportation to and from Academy location
    • All housing, food, and transportation during the Academy
  •  Leadership coaching
  • (un)Learning and political education
  • Technical assistance
  • Networking opportunities

The project stipend will be paid in 4 installments over the project period.

*CoFED’s Summer Co-op Academy (SCA) is a weeklong cooperative business boot camp for collective liberation and transformation. Fellows must be available to attend SCA, July 27 - August 2, 2018. At SCA, Fellows are invited to share their projects, connect with other members of the SCA, and also learn/teach business tools and concepts, including the business model canvas.

Fellowship Timeline

*All dates are in 2018

Feb 27              Applications open
March 30    Applications due
April 6   First round interview invitations sent out 
April 17   Second round interview invitations sent out 
May 1   Fellowship notifications sent out
Summer   Fellows begin their projects 
July 27-Aug 2   Fellows attend Summer Co-op Academy
September 10   Fellows write a project reflection for CoFED’s blog







Selection Process & Criteria

CoFED will select 2 Fellows based on applicants’ commitment to and vision for anti-oppression and community ownership in the food system. We understand that 10 weeks is not a very long timeframe for a project, and we are more interested in knowing the Fellows as people who will become part of CoFED's community, who you are, what you stand for, and how you embody your values in your work. We will subsequently assist with scaling your project if necessary, but we encourage you to be ambitious! All applications will be considered carefully, with some applicants invited to interview. If you are not invited to interview or selected, we’d be happy to provide feedback upon request.

Application Process

To apply, please answer the questions below in a word document no more than 2 pages long. The word document should include your name and contact information clearly stated at the top. Email your application with subject line “Racial Justice Fellowship” to We do accept supplemental information if you feel so inclined, but it is certainly not necessary. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out! :)

  1. Who are you? What do you want us to know when reviewing your application? If you prefer, you can answer this question in any medium, for example, poems, photos or links to videos, music, websites, dances or other things you’ve created. 200 words max.
  2. Why do you want to be a CoFED Racial Justice Fellow? 300 words max.
  3. What is your experience with food co-ops, cooperative economics or solidarity economies?  300 words max.
  4. Please describe your proposed Fellowship Project. How would your project impact racial justice and community ownership in the food system? 300 words max.
  5. What does racial justice and community ownership in the food system mean to you? 300 words max.
  6. What resources (outside of financial assistance) can CoFED provide to you? 300 words max.
  7. How would this fellowship help you build and practice transformative leadership? 200 words max
Do you like this page?