Berkeley Student Food Collective
|Focus||Organic food, local food, fair trade, health food , sustainable food, food education|
The Berkeley Student Food Collective (BSFC) is a collectively operated non-profit grocery market founded by students of the University of California, Berkeley near the Berkeley campus. The market aims to expand student access to as many organic, locally sourced, fair trade and whole foods as possible. It also aims to educate the community about the food system and its environmental, social and political impacts. It opened its doors in 2010, after having won a $91,000 grant from UC Berkeley's The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF). The collective serves a selection of produce, refrigerated and packaged goods, as well as a weekly subscription-style produce box that contains local, seasonal produce. The storefront is located across the street from the university, on Bancroft Way.
In 2009, the national fast food chain Panda Express attempted to open a restaurant on Lower Sproul Plaza on the UC Berkeley campus, an area run by the ASUC student government. Students were angered that a business they considered to be unhealthy, unsustainable and unrepresentative of their community was coming to their space and began a campaign to prevent its opening. A petition against Panda Express gathered 1,300 signatures, and students held demonstrations at ASUC Store Operations Board planning meetings.
This movement inspired students to create their own business that represented their interests and provided better food options for the campus community. The Berkeley Student Food Collective began as a student group and worked towards opening a grocery storefront, which opened on November 15, 2010. The cooperative was the inspiration for the Cooperative Food Empowerment Directive (CoFED), an organization helping students form sustainable food businesses on college campuses.
Food and Products
The student food collective has a physical store on Bancroft Way, near the UC Berkeley campus. The store offers a variety of food and other items that are healthy and/or sustainable options. They have fresh produce every day including vegetables like chard, broccoli, kale, lettuce, carrots, and parsley and fruits like apples, oranges, grapefruit, tomatoes, lemons, tangerines, and pumpkins. The student workers prepare fresh foods including smoothies, vegan sandwiches, pastas, and salads. The collective also offers prepackaged lunch items like tofu burgers, wraps, and bento boxes. There are a wide variety of snacks like granolas, nuts, dried fruits, coffee beans, chocolate covered raisins, yogurt covered pretzels, and chia chunks. They also offer drinks like coffee, kombucha, and tea as well as pastries. In addition to all the food items, the collective also sells soap, shampoo, lip balm, cleaning products, reusable bags, and water bottles. The physical store is open from Monday to Sunday, with shorter operating hours on Saturday and Sunday. The collective also offers bulk ordering of items normally offered in-store.
They have a weekly produce box simply named "The Box", which includes $15 worth of local, organic, produce, and recipes. People can pick up their order on campus.
The BSFC is run cooperatively, which means that each member has a say in the store's operations. Anyone, not just students, can become a member or shop at the store. Membership is obtained by volunteering in the store or on a committee for two hours a week. In return, members receive a 10% discount on store purchases. Members should attend membership meetings that occur once every two weeks. This is where members get to meet people outside of their committees, share their ideas, and debate and vote on issues that can't be resolved in committees because they require the input of the entire collective. They can also join a committee to meet people with a similar interests and implement BSFC related projects. There are seven BSFC committees dedicated to education, outreach, policy, food preparation, membership, fundraising, and the storefront. This gives members a chance to work on logistical side of running a cooperative educational grocery store. Being a member also means they can run and vote for board member positions. There are fifteen coordinator titles on the board of directors, consisting of publicity, education, membership, fundraising, outreach, food events, product, produce, policy, storefront, communications, information technology, food preparation, events, and finance. Elections occur every semester and the current director may opt to run again One or two people may serve under one title.
Board of Directors
There are fifteen director positions. Currently, the Fall 2015 Board of Directors consists of:
Erica Dorr, Education Director
Elena Leander, Membership Director
Clint Hamilton, Fundraising Director
Suzanne Donahue, Outreach Director
Stephanie Wang, Food Events Director
Jackie Tan and Yue Lou, Product Director
Jenna Shelton, Policy Director
Ben McLaughlin, Finance Director
Vinh Nguyen, Storefront Director
Grace Lihn and Athena Scott, Communications Directors
Natasha Hoherchak, Technology Director
Blair Dishon and Ryan Alexander, Publicity Directors
Sophie Leob, Food Prep Director
Suzanne Kline, Events Director
Briana Casperson, Produce Director
The Board of Directors meets weekly to make executive decisions on a consensus basis before bringing items to membership.
- Levi Holtz, Debra (31 Jan 2011). "Berkeley co-op aims to educate about food choices". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 7 Jun 2012.
- --~~~~--~~~~ Berkeley News Center report on BSFC opening
- Yollin, Patricia (7 March 2009). "Berkeley students decry proposed Panda Express". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 17 March 2012.
- Landau, Yonatan (December 30, 2010). "Student Food Co-op Revolution on Campus". Common Dreams.
- Mazar, Anne (February 6, 2012). "College students act to bring 'real food' to their campuses". The State Journal-Register.
- "Committees". Berkeley Student Food Collective. Retrieved 8 Jun 2012.
- Admin. (11 Feb 2011). "Berkeley Student Food Collective aims to improve the quality of food available to students". Food First. Retrieved 7 Jun 2012.
- "Board". Berkeley Student Food Collective. Retrieved 8 Jun 2012.