Running a food co-op This reflects our values as global citizens
Here's a lively guest blog from the City University food co-op team, supported by Student Eats, on their experience starting a sustainable food enterprise. (Hint: it sounds pretty great!)
Hi, we are the City Food Co-op team! Francesca and Marta are our postgraduate foodies from Italy who are studying Food Policy (which looks at how food is prepared and consumed, and the consequences for our health and the planet); Marta is our lovely Spanish-born marketing guru who is currently studying marketing at Cass; and finally Neha, our budding Health Psychologist with direct experience working with the not-for-profit sector. As individuals we're pretty cool, but put us all together and we're electric!
Francesca's role at the City Food Co-op is logistics: she makes sure that all the orders are in place and that the food arrives on time. Marta and Martha are in charge of marketing and communication (check our fancy Facebook page!), while Neha coordinates all of us.
We're all health-conscious students and we often find it expensive buying healthy, sustainable food on a student budget - and sometimes we feel we have to sacrifice our health, and our values as global citizens, for the sake of saving money. Being busy students we have little time to keep going to different shops to find the types of staple foods that we love cook with. What we really wanted is the convenience of a place on campus that offers a variety of sustainable foods which are relatively cheap, tasty and supports everyone in the production process. That's basically why we started the City Food Co-op - to make such a place become true!
Volunteering in the Co-op as been challenging for all of us, considering the burden of exams, but we've definitely learned a lot. First of all, we learned how to manage our time even better, second, to leave nothing to chance when organising an event! Working in a group has made us real pros in communication and mediation skills! Plus, talking with our clients has always been very inspiring and led to us making changes and opening new possibilities - as well as to question some of our own beliefs. And more importantly, we had a lot of fun whilst working on something that really matters for us!
Advice for someone who wants to start a similar project? Find a good ally among university staff and don't get scared by bureaucracy!