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Berkeley Student Food Collective: How-to Build a Co-op

It seems unthinkable that the People’s Republic of Berkeley has existed without a food co-operative for more than two decades.

Begun in the heart of the Depression, when families came together to form buying clubs so they could afford to put food on the table, the Consumer’s Cooperative of Berkeley was the place to shop for the politically correct for 51 years.

In its heyday in the 1970s, the store was a national leader in championing organics, whole grains, preservative-free foods, and meat alternatives. During the boycott of non-union vineyards in the 1980s some members boasted their children had never eaten grapes.

The last store closed in 1988, a victim of partisan infighting, financial woes, and changing times: the co-op still dispensed tofu puffs and six kinds of sprouts but refused to carry radicchio, according to the New York Times.

Well, don’t choke on your non-GMO, organic, fair trade, soymilk chai latte: The co-op is coming back to Berkeley. Read more

A Student Perspective on Kathleen Merrigan

Contagious glee filled the classroom last Wednesday morning as we eagerly awaited the arrival of our Agriculture, Science and Policy class lecturer. A Reuters UK story hit the internet that Monday night and immediately went viral in the food world. A jubilation of Facebook status changes, g-chats, text messages, emails, blog posts and phone calls carried the evening into the night. While any of the Friedman School students at Tufts were astute enough to know that something was coming, we were certainly astonished when we saw “No. 2 USDA post.” The class broke into applause as Kathleen, as her students call her, sheepishly entered the room. “Okay, so I’ve been holding a secret,” she claimed. Read more

The Fight for Real Food on Campus

“Real Food Now!” is the rallying cry of a new generation of student leaders on college campuses this fall. In October, thousands of students on hundreds of campuses will participate in a national month of action, challenging their schools to invest in food that is healthy, local, fair, ecologically sound and humane. Read more