Berkeley Student Food Collective Storefront

Project Leads: Alli Reed, Christina Oatfield, Yoni Landau, Adam Merberg, Kaela Colwell, Alex Stone, Bree O'Keane

Sponsors: ASUC STeam & Berkeley Student Food Collective
TGIF Grant:

Project Theme: Food Justice & Sustainability

Project Location

2009 Application Submission

Status: Complete

Project Description: The Berkeley Student Food Collective opened a student-run natural and sustainable food cafe and market based on the cooperative model. A cooperative is a democratic, equally owned enterprise based on principles of open membership, democratic member control, autonomy and independence, education, co-operation among co-operatives, and concern for community.

Real Food Criteria

Food CollectiveGoals:
Provide fresh, healthy, environmentally sustainable, and ethically produced food at an affordable price to Berkeley students. Open a cooperatively owned storefront on or near the UC Berkeley campus. Promote community building, social justice and environmental stewardship and offer our customers 20-40% savings on healthy, sustainable, delicious food through the cooperative model. Develop educational and volunteer programs, launch a large-scale community capital fundraising program, and forge new partnerships with other cooperatives, farms, food-based organizations, student groups, and local businesses. Source foods from small, local farms and ethical, sustainable, local companies. Every item sold at the co-op will go through a process of documentation and analysis of product supply, production and distribution chain and how it compares to similar products. (documentation will include an analysis of each product's carbon footprint, distance of production, use of pesticides, worker treatment etc.) Strive to be a zero waste facilitiy by reusing packaging materials, as well as serving and stocking items with recyclable and/or compostable packaging. Use the Real Food Calculator (a tool developed to determine whether or not an item of food counts as "real food," see Real Food Criteria below) to guide all its purchasing practices, providing 100% real food to the student community. The BSFC's outreach coordinator will facilitate a DeCal course every semester pertaining to sustainable food to better promote BSFC values.

TGIF Blog Posts about the Berkeley Student Food Collective

2011 Project Poster

Project Spotlight Video:

2009-2010 Accomplishments
During the 2009-2010 academic year, the Berkeley Student Food Collective completed small goals on the road to its larger goal of establishing an on-campus food cooperative. The BSFC membership unanimously approved a motion to pursue a mobile kitchen and began selling sandwiches on Sproul Plaza every Monday, including tofu banh mi, black bean burgers, chickpea burgers, and red lentil patties. The Collective took out an insurance policy to cover the sales of food and the various events for which it will be providing food. Three members of our Board of Directors represented the BSFC at the Clinton Global Initiative University Conference in Miami. The External Affairs Committee of the Berkeley Student Co-operative voted to endorse a continuation of BSFC's fiscal sponsorship agreement, while the BSFC continued to raise funds through a twelve-hour Dance-A-Thon.

Store Opening2010-2011 Accomplishments
On November 15, 2010, Berkeley Student Food Collective held the grand opening of its storefront at 2440 Bancroft Way in Berkeley. The BSFC storefront is run by BSFC members who all commit to at least one two-hour shift per week. All store produce comes from within 150 miles; all the fresh bread is from local bakeries; all ingredients in the BSFC prepared foods are organic, and all the prepared foods' packaging is compostable. The average mark-up on store products is <1.5, which is much lower than the typical 1.65 markup used by many comparable grocery stores.

AASHE Student Diary Series: Opening a Sustainable Food Storefront

  • BSFC was featured in a television spot on CalTV
  • Sales nearly doubled during the spring semester, allowing BSFC to lower the prices on grocery items.
  • BSFC began preparing sandwiches to sell in the storefront and expanded the selection of grab-and-go items.
  • In addition to tracking weekly sales, BSFC began tracking sales in two hour increments to learn more about peak times and items that were most popular.
  • BSFC held its 2nd Annual Harvest Gala on November 19, 2010 and raised $5,000.
  • BSFC ran a 35 student DeCal, with guest lecturers and films such as:
    • Food Justice Lecture and Discussion with Prof. Robert Gottlieb (2/8/11)
    • Coalition Against Factory Farming with Katie Cantrell (2/15/11)
    • A Look at Research, the GMO Debate, and Ecology with Dr. Ignacio Chapela (3/1/11)
    • Food, Inc.: A Look at America's Industrialized Food & Agriculture Systems (3/5/11)

Project Photos

Final Report

The Berkeley Student Food Collective has continued to expand its membership and food justice educational program. The Food Collective is also considering future possibilities of an on-campus mobile food cart and opportunities to secure an on-campus storefront as part of the Lower Sproul Redevelopment. In the meantime, BSFC will continue to successfully run the current storefront and expand the array of products and discounts offered to the campus and public communities, while planning its annual Harvest Gala, films, and lectures.

BSFC Catering Menu 2013

The Berkeley Student Food Collective has won three additional TGIF Grants since their first 2009 TGIF Grant. The Food Collective's sales and community and educational impact continue to grow.

Food Collective Sales

Mission Statement

The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF) provides funding for projects that reduce UC Berkeley's negative impact on the environment and make UC Berkeley more sustainable. TGIF will allocate funds to projects that promote sustainable modes of transportation, increase energy and water efficiency, restore habitat, promote environmental and food justice, and reduce the amount of waste created by UC Berkeley. Portions of the fund also support education and behavior change initiatives, student aid (via return to aid), and internships. TGIF is supported by student fees and administered through a student-majority committee and a program coordinator.