The following is a transcript of the original proposal for a food co-operative at UTS.
A Food Co-op at UTS would be an invaluable addition to the facilities at this university. Such a project would provide a high level of community involvement to the staff and students of UTS and to members of the community at large. A food co-op would also provide and promote awareness around sustainable food production and alternatives to wasteful and unhealthy mainstream food products.
The definition of sustainability for the purpose of this submission is practices that consume the smallest possible amount of resources and cause the minimum amount of damage to the natural environment. The term also refers to the promotion and maintenance of healthy communities.
The principal aims of a food co-op are to provide a cheap, healthy and
environmentally sound source of food with the minimum possible amount of
packaging and to create a system of complete democratic control, such that the co-op is controlled by, and exists for the benefit of, it’s members. It is anticipated that the co-op would be:
- open to UTS students, UTS staff and all members of the wider community;
- be registered with the N.S.W. Registry of Co-operatives and;
- exist as a non-profit organisation. Any profit that were to arise from the co-op’s activities would be used either for improving the resources of the co-op or lowering the prices of the food.
This project would be of particular benefit to UTS as this uni is lacking in community spaces which allow students to interact with each other and with staff. A food co-op would provide an opportunity for members of the UTS community to spend valuable time outside of their studies or employment working towards a common aim and building a sense of community.
The aims of the food co-op collective are intrinsically linked with the promotion of sustainable practice. One of the objectives of the collective is to ensure that, where possible, the produce be supplied by organic producers and producers who do not pursue unethical employment practices. Through their work with the co-op members would become more familiar with these issues. There would also be a need for members to undertake research into developments in sustainable food production so that the best possible produce be obtained. Also food co-ops are great places for the dissemination of environmental information, about sustainability campaigns, and other issues relevant to sustainability. Although this function is currently being performed to some extent by environmentalists working through the Student’s Association it is important to note that this may not be a permanent arrangement.
With the advent of V.S.U. (voluntary student unionism), or if the S.A. (Student’s Association) were to be controlled by students who do not support environmentalism, the activities of environmental activists may be curtailed. A food co-op would be an autonomous organisation and therefore unimpacted by political changes. A collective of interested staff and students already exists at UTS and has the support of existing food co-ops at Sydney University and The University of New South Wales. Both of these universities have demonstrated that food co-ops are viable and valuable additions to the university. If this project were granted seed funding by the STF it would rapidly develop into a vibrant and self sustaining part of the UTS community
The group behind this proposal is a collective and as such the nomination “project of a leader” is problematic. Simon Kenny is the Environment Officer at the Student’s Association and is prepared to act as a contact person and liaison between the STF and the Food Co-op collective however it is important to note that he does not have decision making powers and that all decisions must be made by the collective. Simon can be contacted on 95141 155 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. (contact information no longer relevant)
Current members of the food co-op collective are as follows:
Yu Chin Chang
We have also received a large number of enquiries from students and others who have stated that they are in support of the proposal and would be members of a food co-op if and when it is established.