How to Start a Student-Run Food Co-op

Return to the Co-op Toolbox

The Cooperative Food Empowerment Directive (CoFED) is a US-based national cooperative network and training program committed to empowering students to create ethically-sourced, cooperatively-run food enterprises on college campuses. CoFED provides  retreats and resources with regional organizers to support student groups as they open up their own food co-ops.  CoFED's mission is to cultivate a more sustainable, community-oriented culture through college campuses.

Check out the following documents for a complete how-to on starting a student-run food co-op.

For fantastic examples of student-run food co-ops in Canada (incorporated and unincorpoated), check out:

Harvest Noon, University of Toronto

Green Campus Co-ops, York University

Lunik Cafe, Glendon College, York University

The Seasoned Spoon, Trent University

and their guide to Cultivating a Student Run Food Security Initiative, by Karen Sutherland, Jessi Dobyns, and Karine Rogers (from Recipes for Success: A Celebration of Food Security Work in Canada)

The Loaded Ladle, Dalhousie University

The People's Potato, Concordia University

sprouts, University of British Columbia

The Campus Food Systems Project, supported by MealExchange, is helping to connect campuses across the country, and is right now working on a National Student Food Charter, in consultation with 25 campuses in Canada.


For associations supporting student co-ops, check out the websites below:


North American Students of Cooperation (NASCO)

The NASCO Family [of associations] organizes and educates affordable group equity co-ops and their members for the purpose of promoting a community oriented cooperative movement.


Au Québec, les coopératives en milieu scolaire existent depuis 1944. En 1983, la Gazette officielle du Québec publiait l’avis de constitution de la Fédération des coopératives québécoises en milieu scolaire, maintenant la Fédération québécoise des coopératives en milieu scolaire.

Ontario Student Coop Association (OSCA)

The purpose of the Ontario Student Co-operative Association is to provide an opportunity for community, education, development and support through and for student focused co-operatives.

Download this guide to Starting a Student-Run Food Co-op (COFED)