We are dedicated to facilitating the creation of a non-profit community-run cooperative café. It will serve GW students, faculty, staff, and community members. The sourcing and operations of the café will be as sustainable and ethical as possible. The café will develop relationships with and source directly from local farmers and businesses. Additionally, the project will serve as a cooperative learning and leadership platform for the GW and DC community. The wide range of members involved can learn the dynamics of running a social- enterprise in addition to exposing themselves to the world of nutrition and food preparation, with which they can take anywhere. The café will incentivize an active engagement with the food system by offering food credit to volunteers.
Current agricultural practices are a major contributor to climate change and are continually degrading the natural environment. In addition, food is not finding the people that need it most. Often the poorest are left with the least nutritious option, which is a result of policy failure and inaction. This project seeks to address these issues by making changes at the roots.
The desired effect of this cooperative café is to truly institutionalize sustainable food from the ground up. At this university, the administration works very hard to implement sustainable practices from the top down. This is an opportunity for students to take leadership and ownership of this movement in DC and directly contribute to the effort from the start to the finish.
The mission of the GW Student Food Cooperative is to localize, contextualize, and democratize the campus food system, enabling students to control the choices, practices, and policies relating to our food. We will serve healthy, organic, ethically-produced, and high-quality food to the campus community and raise awareness about our globalized system as it pertains to food and social justice. In the process of operating the Co-op, students will acquire experience managing a social enterprise and developing an active community space. By incentivizing engagement with the campus food system, the GW Student Food Cooperative (GWSFC) will turn passive consumers into active participants of that system.
- Institutionalize sustainable food from the ground up
- To empower students to become leaders in sustainable food
- To empower students to learn about cooperative business practices
- Build a culture of food sustainability whereby students develop awareness of food choices and its implications by owning and operating their own enterprise
- Turning passive consumers into active participants in the food system and thereby making waves of longstanding student embraced sustainable change
- The cooperative will meet the high standards of kosher and halal certified foods building bridges between cultures and traditions
- To supply nutritious food that will in turn make GW students more efficient, healthier, and successful in the classroom and beyond
- Educate about sustainable cooking
- Provide a business platform for student-led management and community-oriented work forces
- Work towards a model of closed circuit production and consumption on campus and community
- Create a model for other campuses and communities to emulate – to create healthier and more sustainable food systems
- To offer a learning and gathering space around food, activism, spirituality and sustainability
- Decrease the costs of food for students and Foggy Bottom community members
Universities have historically been centers of cultural shift. During college, students have powerful learning experiences that shape the habits and values of their adult lives. Food is an overarching issue that affects every member of the GW community three times a day. As students change the food they eat and the businesses they eat in, they gain the tools to shift our economy and transform our culture. By not allowing our customers to simply be inactive, and by inviting them to share in a different kind of food experience, we will be doing our part in informing rather than perpetuating the ignorance.