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We’re doing it!!

28 Apr

Dear Beloved Supporters of the Food Co-op,

First thank you times 1 million for all of your undying support in the idea of having a cooperative cafe on campus. All of you have big hearts, creative minds, and unparalleled passion for food sovereignty. If you haven’t read GWToday yet, read it here and you will learn that our cooperative initiative has been awarded $10,000 through the Steven and Diane Knapp Fellowship. This is huge, just sayin. Basically, this humble idea of ours has been recognized by GW as a promising and desirable addition to campus and for that we must be thankful! and also give ourselves a huge pat on the back for being awesome.

So much has happened since January when we started this journey and it will continue to grow, change, and evolve in the coming months. If any of you are going to be here over the summer and would like to get in on some of the negotiations for space, organizational structure, suppliers, inventories, fundraising–we’ll take any spare time you have. If not, let us know if you would like to do any work remotely! If nothing else, keep checking the blog for updates and we look forward to all of your continued support in the Fall.

Peace, Love & Veggies

-Melissa, Ellie and Erin

P.S. Photo cred to Jessica McConnell Burt!! We


5 Apr

Hi All!

Co-Op meeting tonight, 2nd floor Marvin Center on the couches.

Lots of great news and discussion about a potential space!

All who can come we would love to have you!


Please take this survey!

24 Mar

We are in the process of doing market research that will ultimately help us form a business plan for the cooperative cafe. Please help us out by filling out this survey and sending it along to your friends.

Click on this link: GW Food Co-op Survey

Thank you! With your support, this co-op will become a reality for GW and surrounding community.


Second Meeting!

7 Feb

To all who attended our first meeting! You guys are awesome, early adopters, and wicked enthusiasts! We loved it so much, we are having a second meeting Tuesday, Feb. 8th on the 2nd floor couches of the Marvin Center. We have developed a survey and online petition (will be accessible through this website) and would love to have interested volunteers help distribute them! Catch up with us tomorrow to hear more about how you can get involved. We need all the help, support, and love as we can get. If you care about sustainable, ethical, affordable, and accessible food, then the GW Food Co-op Initiative is the place for you!

First Meeting!

24 Jan

For those of you who have found us already, please come to our first public meeting! Bring your friends or anyone you know who might be interested in this movement!

Find us at 8pm on Tuesday on the second floor couches of the Marvin Center. If you can’t make it and would like to be on our email list to receive copies of minutes, email us at .

Hope to see you there!

GW meets Cofed

21 Jan

Last weekend, three members of the GW Food Co-Op Initiative trekked to Sebastapol, California to officially meet the Cofed team and a handful of other students just like us wanting to start food co-ops. We had meetings about writing business plans, keeping balance sheets, managing inventory, dealing with media, raising money, working with administrators, the whole gamut. All of us learned way more than we bargained for and are equally as thankful! It was so inspiring being around individuals pushing for the same ideas as us.

All of the Cofed Retreat participants

If you are a student at another university that is interested in starting a cooperatively run cafe at your school, don’t hesitate to contact Cofed for help! They are super awesome inspiring and experienced people who know how to get things done. Check out their space here.

From the beginning…

21 Jan

So, this seems like a good time to fill everyone in on how we got this point. Even though this whole GW Food Co-op Initiative is probably a new idea to all you readers out there, it’s an idea that has been incubating with a few of us for a while. Some friends and I manage the community gardens on GW campus and work hard producing food 3 seasons a year. The Food Justice Alliance also has a super awesome blog too, check it here. Through this garden initiative we have learned how sustainable food can bring a community together. These gardens and promoting urban grown food have been such a success that we wanted to run with the idea a little more. Could it be possible to cultivate, harvest, process, consume, and compost all the same neighborhood? That sounds crazy! We already cultivate, harvest, and compost here so how can we complete the circle, while educating students and the community about localizing their food?

We came to the conclusion that we needed some sort of space. This space needed to be a gathering space where people could come together and eat yummy healthy ethically produced food. Not only do they need to eat it, but they need to truly embrace it. They need to learn how to prepare it and familiarize themselves with some of the fantastic alternatives to highly processed food. Things like kombucha, tempeh, quinoa, and chia shouldn’t be scary! They also shouldn’t be out of price range. We wanted to find a way that would truly make sustainable food from local farmers affordable. That’s how we came up with the idea of a food co-op. You are probably thinking…ANARCHISTS, but it’s not that at all. A co-op is merely a cooperatively run business. The workers are the consumers and they get to decide the message they want to send through food. Ideally, they have common goals for the business and if not, they use consensus based decision-making. The short story is that a cooperative business has many stakeholders, a large support network, and people who truly care about its longevity. These principles make it a sustainable business model.

Did I just say business model? Do I know anything about starting my own business? Or writing a concept design or business plan? Executive summary? Point of Sales System? How to run inventory? Storefront licensing? Start-up costs? OK, OVERWHELMED. Fortunately, this panic only lasted a short time, because this kick ass non-profit called Cofed saved the day. Cofed stands for Cooperative Food Empowerment Directive.  They are a team of INSPIRGIZING individuals that help students like us start cooperative cafe’s on our college campuses. Talk about a match made in heaven! Actually, this idea we have isn’t so profound. Instead, it is the way of our generation. The food systems in this country obviously need to change and a cooperative cafe or grocery mart selling local, sustainable, ethical food, is our generation INSTITUTIONALIZING this demand. If McDonald’s isn’t going to roll over and say Uncle then we are going to have to push forward without them.

Healthy food for all is the name of this game–and it doesn’t just apply to students. Though we at GW consider ourselves to be important, we are surrounded by a larger city that struggles with food deserts. That means that large populations of DC do not have access to fresh food besides what you can find at a corner store. (not much) Even more frightening, much of the DC population lives in food swamps! Food swamps are areas where there is an abundance of unhealthy food choices. We hope this idea we have can be a model for the rest of DC. We want to encourage community members from all over to support our future co-op. This whole healthy food idea might just be the vehicle that brings GW students closer to their surrounding community, that tips the scale for economic barriers on sustainable food, and that paves the road for DC to aid its food access problem.  Most of all, we hope that this initiative teaches consumers that their wallets (when they’re hungry) are their most powerful tool in changing our current food system.

So, we are going to need all the help that we can get. If you want to see this noble idea turn into reality…

-Follow our blog!

-Get on our email list by request,

-Come to our meetings, time/location to be announced on this blog

-Donate to our seed money pool on our donate page and receive updates on the direction of that money

-Tell everyone you know about this project! It’s all-inclusive

-Keep supporting your neighborhood farmer’s markets and sustainable farm projects

Thanks for reading…if you have any questions about our story, leave a comment!

We’re Launching!

21 Jan

The GW Student Food Co-Op is a new group on The George Washington University campus. We wish to open a student run cooperative cafe on the Foggy Bottom Campus to provide fresh, local, healthy, sustainable, and ethically produced food at affordable prices to the GW and DC community.