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

Presenting the Summer Institute Cohort 2016!

Presenting the Summer Institute Cohort 2016!

Can you believe summer is already here?!

We love this time of year because student groups from across the country come together for a powerful reason - to start-up and scale-up cooperatively-run food businesses. The benefits of campus food co-ops are far-reaching: Students are able to access healthy food that is sourced sustainably from local businesses. Students also get good jobs where they learn hands-on skills required to run a successful business. They build community health and wealth. They practice cooperation and democracy. Click here to support these teams as they grow.

We're so excited for you to get to know the 7 student teams joining us for our second annual Summer Institute! We hope you will continue to support them as they grow their impact. All donations directly go to sponsor a coop to participate in CoFED's Summer Institute and receive a technical assistance package. Your investment funds CoFED's student leader cohort to build community-owned food. Donate here to build a better future!


A study of on-campus dining options found that only 12% of all entrees provided were considered healthy. Students are addressing this issue with The Real Food Coop, a CSA program and grab-and-go food stand. At the Summer Institute, RFC wants to learn the financial skills to earn money and compensate workers, and develop their message to garner support from university administration. 

Real Food Challenge at San Francisco State University
Currently in the idea phase, this student team hopes the Summer Institute will enable them to hit the ground running this Fall. They hope to create a conscious mindset on campus that links pertinent issues of justice and equity to food access. A key objective is to provide an accessible alternative to fast food options that is practical and realistic for the student and faculty community, and neighboring communities. 

Firsthand Cooperative at West Virginia University
Firsthand is a coffee distribution co-op that sources coffee from co-ops in Nicaragua. Profits are invested in the Nicaraguan co-ops as well as local community organizations that address issues of food security in a region with a prevalence of food deserts. From the Summer Institute, students hope to expand coffee sales and promote their solidarity economy business model. 

MacFEAST at Macalester College
This start-up team will craft their business plan for a co-op where students can exchange cultural knowledge and learn together how to feed themselves in a way that is mutually beneficial for students, farmers, and the land. Their dream is a student-run and student-owned grocery store co-op that responds to what the community needs, and gives every student a say in how and what they eat. 

Maryland Food Collective at University of Maryland-College
Since 1975 the worker-owned Maryland Food Collective has promoted community control over resources - "Food for People, Not for Profit" they say. Their cafe provides a space to share food, art, music and organize for social justice. The MFC envisions expanding a network of worker co-ops up and down the supply chain to include food growers and distributors. Their learning goals for the Summer Institute are financial management skills so they can provide living wages and benefits to workers.

The Rad Dish Co-op at Temple University
Having grown leaps and bounds since opening doors in January 2015, The Rad Dish remains dedicated to selling organic and locally-grown food from farms within 150 miles. They have many learning goals for this next year, such as developing an effective marketing plan for the cafe, fostering a more inclusive culture, and achieving a zero-waste policy. 

Student Food Collective at University of California-Irvine 
UC Irvine has a significant percentage of students experiencing food insecurity due to high living costs. Students and administrators are working together to explore options for community solutions. With CoFED's training, they look forward to solidifying their core group and developing student leaders, learning how to create a successful business plan, and soliciting campus-wide support. 

We are thrilled to spend 9 days with these remarkable student teams, sharing knowledge and building skill-sets for each stage of co-op development. Your support is deeply appreciated, and we hope you stay tuned in to learn about their upcoming challenges and successes! If you are part of or know of a group that could benefit from attending the Summer Institute, you can find more information here. We'd love to have you join us next summer!

Tune in for inspiring updates from Summer Institute 2016 on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!


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