Scoop (Student Food Co-ops)


View Student Food Co-ops in a larger map to read about what other Scoops are doing

  • Do the prices at farmer’s market and organic food shops bring a tear to your eyes (not to mention your wallet)?
  • Ever wished you could get access to good, ethical food cheaply right on your own campus?

Well now you can. Setting up a Student Food Co-op project at your university could be just the answer you’ve been looking for.

Read on for more info about what a student food co-op is and how you can start one.

You can also download this Guide to setting up Food Coops in unis and colleges by Sustain. Or read York People & Planet’s great blog about how they set up Scoop - the York Student Food Co-op.

Veg Box Scheme
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York People & Planet’s veg box scheme .

Newcastle student food co-op scoop
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Newcastle’s Student Food Co-op in their union .

Uea student food co-op scoop
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UEA now have regular Scoop stalls after applying for our Start up grant

What is Scoop?

Scoop is People & Planet’s student food co-op project which aims to help students and staff gain access to sustainable food at affordable prices. Usually community food co-ops:

  • Are run by the community for the community
  • Aim to supply produce at affordable prices
  • Are run on a not for profit basis
  • Generally rely on the support of volunteers, either in the day-to day running or on the committee

Why do we need Food co-ops?

  • Did you know that locally sourced carrots have 20 Food miles whilst conventionally sourced carrots have 1,838 food miles?
  • Or that 95% of fruit and 50% of vegetables eaten in the UK are imported?
  • Or that the amount of food air-freighted around the world has risen by 140% since 1992? (source: Bio Ethics Education Project)

By the time we leave university, food accounts for roughly 1.5 tonnes of CO2 per person, or 10% of our carbon footprint. Food miles, packaging and the overconsumption of meat all play a part in this. Food Co-ops are a great way to counteract this and provide your fellow students (and staff) with access to good food at affordable prices - think fresh, seasonal, local, healthy and low-carbon food.

How do they work?

Scoops work by pooling their buying power and ordering food in bulk direct from suppliers & local farmers, so that a group of people can buy good food at a more affordable price. Small food co-ops or buying groups work by collecting together everyone’s orders in advance, whereas other models operate more like other food businesses in that they order the produce from suppliers and then sell it to their customers via stalls, bag or box schemes, mobile stores, shops or other types of outlet.

At the time of writing, early 2013, there are over 40 student food co-ops that we know about in the UK, selling local, organic and ethical food at affordable prices to students and staff. Some are permenant shop spaces, some are regular market stalls on campus and others are delivery schemes- Scoops operate in many different ways.

How can we help?

Get in touch to let us know about your Scoop plans and we’ll hook you up with with access to a free resources such as how-to guides. We also offer a range of training and workshops to help Student Unions and groups of students to get their Scoop projects on track. We can also link you up with other Scoops who have similar plans to you to share advice and tips. We are here to help!