Starting next fall, the UC Santa Barbara Student Food Collective plans to operate a student-run food cart on campus that sells organic produce and meals.
The mobile cart could potentially be located in Storke Plaza and would sell sustainable, locally-grown food such as sandwiches and smoothies made from organic ingredients. Planned as a sustainable operation, the eco-friendly cart will be open weekdays and incorporate solar panels and water dispensers as well as recyclable and compostable materials. The Food Collective was established in 2010 as a local chapter of national non-profit Cooperative Food Empowerment Directive (CoFed), which creates student-run food establishments on college campuses.
Food and event director Ivette Casas, a second-year Santa Barbara City College environmental studies major, said the organization’s main goal is to create an establishment with high quality, organic and affordable food.
“High prices are always the big obstacle for students when it comes to buying organic food,” Casas said. “We want to break that price barrier and have food that is not only inexpensive, but also grown locally in soil that uses no toxic fertilizers. We’re talking sustainable produce that allows for the land to renew itself after crop yield.”
SB Food Collective executive director Andrew Chang, a fourth-year environmental studies major, said the cart will initially offer products from the Isla Vista Food Co-op but ultimately plans to sell produce grown by local farmers. Chang said the collective may even cultivate its own crops if funding allows.
Chang said project funding will be accumulated from various sources including donations, fundraisers and the A.S. The Green Initiative Fund — a student-funded UCSB program that sponsors various campus projects to reduce the university’s environmental impact.
“We’re going to use the money we receive from TGIF to build the cart and pay staff members,” Chang said. “This is really an example of how we as students can create a clean-energy business venture. Our cart will provide new student jobs and sustainable, community-based food that is humane to the earth and the animals used.”
Casas said the cart will follow the example of the UC Berkeley-based CoFed, which hopes to establish 35 new student-run food cooperatives on college campuses within the next five years.
“We’re really taking CoFed’s model as our business model,” Casas said. “We hope to eventually make our own food and finance ourselves.”
Both Casas and Chang said the main goal of providing the organic food cart to UCSB will not be to profit, but to educate about the benefits, both environmental and physiological, of consuming organic and locally-grown produce.
Students interested in the venture are encouraged to attend meetings Thursdays at 6 p.m. in the Student Resource Building room 2154.