Newcastle Food Co-op is essentially a shop set-up to encourage students, staff and members of the community to buy more ethically sourced food.
Our aim was to set up a non-for-profit food co-operative that would sell ethical produce on campus. By selling the food in the store at cost price we could ensure good quality food at a low price for our members. This helps to reduce the common problem that many people feel they cannot afford ethically sourced produce.
We wanted to encourage people to change their eating habits by increasing access to inexpensive, organic and ethical food. We aimed to achieve this from within a shop setting to give a sense of permanence to our members, making it more easily accessible. This ease of access also enables people to volunteer on a more regular basis and adds to the longevity of the project.
There were no existing projects like this and as a group we felt there was too much reliance on supermarket chains to provide our food. Thanks to the co-op, many people passionate about food and the food system generally have been able to meet and discuss ideas, as well as providing a permanent environment where everyone can buy and order organic/fairtrade and more sustainably sourced food produce.
We initially applied for funding through Newcastle University with ncl+ which aimed to support student led extra-curricular projects. We were awarded £250 from the fund, and we raised a following £250 from membership, fundraising and food sales in the first month. We have recently secured further funding from People and Planet.
February 2012: Launch
March – April: problems with venue (project put on hold)
May – present: The co-op has been running successfully, placing orders roughly every 2 months.
The co-op is an ongoing project that will continue to grow in 2013.
For further information, please contact Harley Wright at the Newcastle Food Co-op:
Fair for Everyone