Category Archives: set-up (for other uni’s)

how the food coop was and is set up, useful for other universities.

Setting up a food co-op

There are loads of on-line resources.  These are really helpful.


Sustain has a draft consitiution, food hygine advice and draft documents here.  It might sound daunting but this is the place to start.


People and Planet are an umbrella student group.  They also mention co-ops here but would be an ideal place to recruit members. 



A short case study from Vegan Views giving you an idea about the time involed is available here


If you are intrested then please contact us.  We are held a fundraiser to help fund a new co-op in York and we have good links with our suppliers, Lembas – here who are happy to help small groups.


Who is Green Action?

At the [[AGM 2010]] we agreed to get a constitution to formalise our structure.  Sustain has a food co-op constitution guideline on which this is based.


Anyone can join.  The membership is for a year only.  To leave the co-op ask to be removed from the email lists and membership book.
We have regular meetings (see All things Green Action) but our AGM happens in the near the end of the academic year.  If any meeting is well attended (over 20 members) then it may be considered a general meeting with decision making powers on major co-op issues, the same number holds at our AGM.

The meetings are run by consensus (see seeds for change) and the committee members are chosen via this.

This document can be altered only at general meetings. If the food co-op is dissolved the items owned by the co-op will be distributed among members at cost price, returned to our suppliers, sold to a similar co-op or donated to a co-op with very similar ethics (decided at a general meeting). It will not be donated below cost price to the members.

Green Action food co-op (or the food co-op) and the allotment are part of Green Action.

(The use of consensus and the Ethics headings are fundamental to Green Action and cannot be altered even at an AGM.) – to be decided.




Sustainable, seasonal and reducing waste.  We use paper bags.  We buy from organic farms that use less petrochemicals than conventional farms.  We stock mainly non-processed food.  We have an allotment where we grow our own food.

  • Making organic, local, seasonal and ethical food more accessible

  • Recycling and cutting down on waste

  • Campaigning about and supporting environmental awareness and initiatives.


This is a working practical example of the an alternative autonomous lifestyle which we are hoping to move towards.  Instead of passively buying food that we had no control over in a shop we created the co-op so we know where our food comes from and give an alternative model to commercial shops – it has worked for over 15 years.

  • Activities, protest and actions

  • Socials and promotion



We would like to let other people know why we have these ethics and what motives us.  This requires education about the issues and our proposed solutions.  To create the world we would like to see we need to be a practical example but we also need to let people know about the practical example.  So outreach and promotion are essential.

  • Share skills

  • Make a link specifically between food and peoples lives.

  • Give people the opportunity to run a food co-op and allotment


Community Co-op

We are part of a community and we are a community.  The co-op is also a social hub and is part of the glue the binds our community together.  We are also moulded in the form of co-op principals: Voluntary and Open Membership, Democratic Member Control, Member Economic Participation, Autonomy and Independence, (Education, Training and Information), Co-operation among Co-operatives, Concern for Community.

  • Decisions are made through consensus (for details on consensus – see seeds for change)

  • Supporting other Co-ops

Project proposal

Dear [interested academics],


I am a student of the university of Leeds, and I am writing to ask you if you would consider running a masters or a bachelors project that involves the Green Action co-op.


I work at the GA co-op in the union. We are volunteer and student run. We buy in bulk from Lembas, and receive a small discount which covers things like spillages and mis-labelling. The co-op has existed for 12 years (or so). We have a turnover of around £600 a week. We offer students, and other people, a place to buy fair trade organic whole food at an affordable price. If this was run as a commercial shop then we could not offer the food at an affordable price and I do not think the GA co-op would survive. People can order vegetable boxes with locally produced organic food and collect them from the co-op. We are keen to try to help other universities set-up similar co-ops.


We would like someone to look at how this model of co-op works, why students are prepared to give up their time to manage a shop, perform some study on how the co-op is managed (stock, takings etc.), and how the co-op effects the community of students that run it. We feel that the co-op is a valuable resource and that you might find it could make up part of a project giving open access to the workings of such a structure.


Structures such as the GA co-op can be important in other situations. I was at a friend’s in Axminster who lived in a village (200 people or so). They have a volunteer run shop as a commercial shop would not be viable. This means that they can buy milk and necessities instead of driving 10 miles to the nearest town. It also serves as the village hub. This illustrates that this structure is not unique to university students.


Please contact me if any of this interests you or you know someone who may be interested in it.