Good news from UC Berkeley
Berkeley Student Food Collective aims to improve the quality of food available to students
By Stephanie Ainza
What began as a student-led resistance movement against a fast-food chain opening on the UC Berkeley campus, lead to the Berkeley Student Food Collective (BSFC) with a mission "..dedicated to providing fresh, local, healthy, environmentally sustainable and ethically produced food at affordable prices to the Berkeley campus and greater community.” BSFC opened its storefront on November 15, 2010.
When the though of a fast food chain as a staple on the Berkeley campus in Spring ‘09 was being entertained, students claimed that the food was too unhealthy and unsustainable to be a part of the campus culture. As an alternative, it was suggested that a student-run food co-op take its place. After much deliberation and numerous meetings, the fast food chain was halted, and the food co-op began. The cooperative nature of the BSFC is something both unique, and in line with the principles of what many Berkeley students desired for a food store. Being a cooperative means it is lead by members who are dedicated to democratic processes aimed at keeping the collective both autonomous and independent: “By working cooperatively, we try to create an honest, caring, open, friendly environment in which everyone has a voice.” Membership requires that you volunteer at the storefront at least two hours a week. In return student volunteers receive discounts, a stake of ownership, plus a role in the democratic processes of the collective.
The BSFC has obtained grants from diverse groups, most noteworthy a TGIF (The Green Initiative Fund), in addition to being a participant and beneficiary in the New Alumni Challenge. While these funds helped launch the collective, individual donations, fundraising events including harvest galas, catering and the selling of food have been main sources of income.
Located across from the Berkeley campus on Bancroft, it can function as a main food shop for students and other individuals in the area. Without a market easily accessible for many students around the campus, the BSFC has a vast target population. In order to reach the Berkeley community, the BSFC has maintained a strong Internet presence: emailing lists, website, Facebook, and Tumblr.
Ruby Yoon, the BSFC’s Outreach Coordinator stated, “I obviously hope for success, and to see the truly dedicated work of a lot of great people have a positive end result. I also hope that the BSFC continues to be a source of educational information about food issues, and that this becomes a fruitful part of group's work.” Support the BSFC by visiting the store at 2440 Bancroft Way which is open weekdays from 9 AM-7 PM.
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