CoFED partners with young people of color from poor and working-class backgrounds to build food and land co-ops.

Racial Justice Fellowship

Basic Background

CoFED educates young people, ages 18-30, about food justice and co-ops and supports them to build a new economy based on love, joy, and healing. We are led by queer and trans people of color (POC), folx from poor and working class backgrounds, immigrants, and folx 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. 

Our Racial Justice Fellowship is an opportunity for young people like you to dream big and do a food-related summer project that promotes racial justice and community ownership in the food system. You would be a great Fellow if you:

  • are grounded in the community - whether that be a neighborhood, a city, or a college campus
  • are looking to make change in the world
  • practice transformative leadership - which we define as the power of individuals to practice self-awareness, (un)learning, and anti-oppression in community with others to achieve collective liberation.

You are eligible to apply if you are age 18-30 and living in the U.S. or any tribal territories. No college experience necessary. 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 + Period

During your fellowship, you will implement a 10-week food-related project of your own original design in the summer of 2018. The project must have a clear impact and advance racial justice and community ownership. However, projects do not need to be new, and if you're already working on a project that meets the vision of this fellowship, you may propose that project for your fellowship. 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 working together. Whether you identify as a cooperator, creative, artist, healer, storyteller, strategist, researcher, entrepreneur or something else, you are encouraged to apply! Whether you can bring people together or balance budgets, dream big or sweat the small details, the world needs you to be the best you! We want to support you to express who you are and build your food community through your fellowship project. 

Fellowship projects may be completed anywhere in the U.S. or tribal territories. As long as you are able to fulfill the responsibilities of the fellowship and meet the goals for your project, CoFED does not require or expect you to use this Fellowship to replace full-time work. The 10 weeks you are expected to work on your project does not include your attendance at Summer Co-op Academy. See more info below.

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

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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. Your attendance at SCA does not count towards the 10 weeks you are expected to work on your project.

Fellowship Timeline

*All dates are in 2018

Feb 27              Applications open
April 6    Applications due
April 13   First round interview invitations sent out 
April 17   Second round interview invitations sent out 
May 1   Fellowship notifications sent out
June 1   Fellowship orientation 
June 15   Last day to begin project
July 27-Aug 2   Fellows attend Summer Co-op Academy
August 15   Last day to end project
September 10   Fellows write a reflection for CoFED’s blog







Selection Process & Criteria

CoFED will select 2 Fellows based on the following criteria:

  1. Proven ability to implement the project you are proposing
  2. Whether you are addressing an issue that you are personally and most directly impacted by 
  3. Commitment to ending racism and injustice in the food system
  4. Track record of transformative leadership
  5. Impact/contribution to racial justice and cooperative movements
  6. Alignment with CoFED's values, vision, and theory of change

We're also looking for Fellows who want to become an active part of CoFED's community. Through your application, please convey 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. 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.
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