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 students to develop food cooperatives on college and university campuses. However, we believe that young people - whether they are a student or not - have the power to lead change. For the first time in CoFED's herstory, we are offering this Racial Justice Fellowship to build community with young people (age 18-30, regardless of student status). We are seeking applicants 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 antioppression 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 racial justice 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.

Fellowship Projects may be completed anywhere in the US or tribal territories within 10 weeks in the summer of 2017. 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
    • 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 24-30, 2017 at the Highlander Center in New Market, TN. At SCA, Fellows are invited to share their project and also learn/teach business tools and concepts, including the business model canvas.

Fellowship Timeline

*All dates are in 2017

Feb 1              Applications open
March 15    Applications due
April 1    Invitations to interview sent out 
April 15   Fellowship notifications sent out
Summer   Fellows begin their projects 
Aug 7-13   Fellows attend Summer Co-op Academy
Sep 1   Fellows write a project reflection for CoFED’s blog







Selection Process & Criteria

CoFED’s Co-Directors will select 2 Fellows based on applicants’ commitment to and vision for racial justice 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. All applications will be considered carefully, with some applicants invited to interview and submit letters of support. 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 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. Please describe your proposed Fellowship Project. How would your project impact racial justice and community ownership in the food system? 300 words max.
  4. What does racial justice and community ownership in the food system mean to you? 300 words max.
  5. How would this fellowship help you build and practice transformative leadership? 200 words max
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