(NaturalNews) Bill McKibben and Slow Food USA president Josh Viertel are part of the launch committee helping the Cooperative Food Empowerment Directive, or CoFed, empower students to establish co-ops serving ethically-sourced and sustainable food on college campuses nationwide.
As the 2011 college year begins, new food co-ops are opening at US universities, and students are planning to create the first campus food co-op located in Washington, DC. In addition, CoFed is putting to work six new regional directors, who this January held the group's first national training and leadership retreat, for student teams from over a dozen colleges and universities.
CoFed grew out of a campaign that successfully blocked the first fast food chain restaurant from opening on the University of California's Berkeley campus. The Berkeley student food co-op opened instead on November 15th and in 2010 alone, six teams on the west coast began working on doing the same at their own schools, from Santa Barbara to Seattle.
In January, students completed CoFed's national training with new skills and momentum to tackle the challenge of changing their campus food. "During this retreat, CoFed provided me with the knowledge and support system that my university needs to bring local, nutritious and ethically produced food on our campus," said UC Riverside Food Cooperative member Elizabeth Tizcareno. "Now, my team and I are going back to create a persuasive business plan and promote the food cooperative to our student body."
"We are all here because we are unsatisfied with the food options on our campuses," said Smith College student Katie Dvorsky, a participant in the training. "CoFed is giving us the support and inspiration that we need to create alternative dining options on our campuses, strengthening the global movement for environmentally and socially conscious food."
Complete with experts ready to help students with everything from retail and dealing with legal issues and incorporation to recruiting and retaining cooperative members, CoFed "will train a new generation of leaders with experience creating good, clean, fair food businesses and a new generation of eaters who believe in the power of community," says Josh Viertel.
"Colleges around the country are figuring out that they educate their students three times a day about either good food or bad a€" about a world where local matters, or where food is just a plate full of calories to get you through class. CoFed has the potential to be a crucial part of that process," adds Bill McKibben.
As a part of CoFed's national launch, the independent 501c3 non-profit group's core donors joined McKibben and Viertel in giving $30,000 as a vote of confidence and a challenge for the new program to enlist 100 monthly donors of $10, $25, $50 or $100 by February 28th, 2011.
"Thanks to the support of our future donors, who we're now inviting to step up and join us in achieving this mission, we will be able to help students start creating community-run, sustainable food services on over 20 campuses across the US this summer," said CoFed's co-founder and director, Yonatan Landau. The first 25 monthly supporters who sign up will also receive a limited-edition "Inspiregize" tote bag, Mr. Laundau said.
For More Information: Please Contact the CoFed Media Coordinator (Jeff Genauer) E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
A media spotlight is on CoFed! Listen to KFPA-Berkeley Pacifica radio's recent insightful story on CoFeda's national retreat and launch, featuring interviews with CoFed regional organizers and student activists: http://www.cofed.org/2011/01/16/love-to-kpfa...