Student Food Co-op Revolution on Campus: Going National in 2011

A successful university movement for "real food" is launching nationally in January 2011 with support from Michael Pollan, Bill McKibben, Slow Money, and students everywhere.

December 30, 2010 | Source: | by

BERKELEY, CA – December 30 – Successful university movement for “real food” is launching nationally in January 2011 with support from Michael Pollan, Bill McKibben, Slow Money, and students everywhere.

WHAT: National training for student cooperative food activists to be held January 10-20, 2011 in Sebastopol, CA, followed by launch of CoFed national programming and membership drive.

BACKGROUND – Student leaders from regions around the USA are gathering January 2011 in California to receive training from the Cooperative Food Empowerment Directive (CoFed) in how to create ethically-sourced, student-run local storefronts and cafés on college campuses throughout their regions.

On January 20th, as CoFed’s freshly “inspiregized” and newly hired inaugural team of six regional directors begins advancing the student cooperative food movement across the West Coast, Southwest, and East Coast, CoFed will simultaneously launch a national membership and publicity drive to support them.

The original catalyst for CoFed, the Berkeley Student Food Collective, grew out of a successful campaign to block the first fast food chain restaurant from opening on the University of California’s Berkeley campus. Instead, the Berkeley student food co-op opened on Nov. 15, 2010 to sell “real food” – local, sustainable, healthful, and ethical – at affordable prices.

CoFed’s Launch Committee includes author Michael Pollan, founder Bill McKibben, Slow Food USA President Josh Viertel, and the Northern California chapter of Slow Money. Within the next few years, CoFed is projected to grow exponentially, with dozens of new storefronts opening, in every region of the US – reaching the mouths and minds of over 700,000 college students.

CoFed looks to be one of the most dynamic and innovative forces in the new food cooperative movement now sweeping the USA. By taking a training-the-trainers approach and facilitating regional student networks, CoFed aims to maximize its collective impact and empower students with a sense of local creativity and autonomy over their projects. Already in 2010, CoFed quickly grew to encompass 6 leadership teams starting student run cafes on West Coast college campuses, from Santa Barbara to Seattle.

YES! Magazine calls “cooperatives mak[ing] a comeback” one of the 10 most hopeful stories of 2010. (1) Good Food World sees a “new food movement” in action, as hundreds of new co-ops are in development across America. (2) With localized food and cooperative enterprise growing in popularity more each year, plus rising student interest in all things green, CoFed possesses real potential to help lead a sustainable transformation of food culture on college campuses throughout the USA.

To learn more about CoFed, schedule an interview, or reserve space for your media representative to attend a portion of our January 10th-20th national training in Sebastopol, CA please contact:

Yonatan Landau, Founder & Director: (510) 207 3850 / yoni(at)

OR Jeff Genauer, Media Coordinator: (856) 535 8547 / jeff.genauer(at)


“CoFed not only taught us and provided us with the resources to start a student run food collective on our college campus, but created an inspirational atmosphere that left everyone with the determination and empowerment to make our vision a reality!” – Brooke, UCSB student.

“CoFed is powerful – it will train a new generation of leaders with experience creating good, clean, fair food businesses and a new generation of eaters who believe in the power of community to create their own food choices that nourish their bodies, their values, and their planet.” – Josh Viertel, President of Slow Food USA.

“Colleges around the country are figuring out that they educate their students three times a day about either good food or bad – about a world where local matters, or where food is just a plate full of calories to get you through class. CoFed has the potential to be a crucial part of that process.” – Bill McKibben, founder of


(1) Van Gelder, Sarah. 10 Most Hopeful Stories of 2010. YES! Magazine. December 22, 2010.

(2) Nickel-Kailing, Gail. Food Co-ops Grow Up. Good Food World. December 9, 2010.