What’s Happening in the Northwest?

We have an amazing network of established and start up student-run food coops, as well as dream teams! We like to meet up often, support each others’ efforts, and have fun! For more information on the coops, see their websites (linked in the sidebar) or contact Anna@cofed.org.

Sprouts — UBC, Vancouver, Canada

Sprouts is a 100% volunteer run and not for profit student organization. Sprouts is an organic, local, vegetarian eatery and grocery in the basement of UBC’s Student Union Building. It is run by a group of students dedicated to supporting sustainable food systems, cultivating community, and promoting awareness of agriculture, ecology, taste, health, and social justice. It is a dynamic space that has become a favourite destination for food, coffee and conversation for many people on campus. Food is the heart and soul of Sprouts, and an energetic team of volunteers whips up soup, bread, and baked treats using wholesome local and organic ingredients. Volunteer placements offer students a unique learning opportunity. Their volunteers gain invaluable experience in everything from breadmaking to inventory management to accounting. As a non-profit and volunteer-run business, their profitable endeavors, like the small cafe and grocery store and CSA and bulk buying program, support their educational and outreach programs, like their for-donation hot lunch on Fridays and community-campus workshops.

UW Student Food Collective — UW, Seattle, Washington

We are first and foremost a group of students concerned about the environmental, social, economic and health impacts of our agro-food system. UWSFC members are a diverse group of students from a wide variety of disciplines who’ve come together because we share a passion for improving our own health and the health of our planet. Currently, they run a Bulk Buying Club.

The Flaming Eggplant Cafe — Evergreen, Olympia, Washington

This workers’ collective has been serving up breakfast, lunch, and dinner since 2008–and look good doing it! Their mission statement says it all: “As a student-worker collective, the mission of the Flaming Eggplant Café is to nourish the local food system by making delicious, healthy, ecologically and socially just food accessible to all.  We strive to empower the campus and greater Olympia community to organize, study, teach, seed, and create an egalitarian society together beginning with the act of eating.” Here’s 2 great videos, 1 from the days in the trailer on red square and 1 from the more legit days of moving into a real space in the student activities building

The Rusty Nail (at The Coop) — Lewis and Clark, Portland, Oregon

The Lewis and Clark Student Co-op is foremost a cooperatively managed student space that offers an opportunity for community building for its members and other students. It’s a venue for many events, including performances by student musicians and other artists, a monthly DIY bazaar where student-made crafts are bartered for, student organization meetings and other events. Started in 2004, the co-op is situated in a former classroom. The co-op has comfy couches and welcomes students to hang out, study and gather in its space. It also has sewing machines, arts and crafts space, a stage, public computer, piano, and zine library. About 12 coordinators run the space, and many other volunteers work short shifts behind the coffee and toast bar.

Food for Thought — PSU, Portland, Oregon

Food for Thought was a project started in 2002 by students who wanted more options for on-campus dining. Specifically, these students wanted food alternatives on campus that were sustainable, cheap, and delicious. There were a handful of campaigns done by student groups that tried to bring more socially and environmentally conscious food options to campus. The initial organizing to create Food for Thought happened in 2000, as “Friends of Food for Thought”, connected to the student groups Students for Unity and the Environmental Club. They discovered an unused kitchen space in the basement of Smith, that was previously used as a student dining hall, and before that, it was a beer hall. The group decided to serve an exclusively vegetarian and vegan menu, with rotating specials. Today, they are still serving an exclusively vegan/vegetarian menu,  using as much local and organic produce and ingredients as possible. Food for Thought, along with being student run, operates as a collective, and makes decisions based on a consensus model. In compliance with its institutional history, Food for Thought continues to flourish while contending with both Aramark and PSU policies, which seem to, at all opportunities, undermine FFT’s legitimacy and growth.