We’re a food co-op on the 1st floor of Union House at the University of Melbourne.
We’re a space that facilitates two main things: ethical eating; and a DIY community of food-related activities, research and activism, tied into the wider Melbourne community of people and organisations concerned with food security and radicalising the way we feed ourselves. The space itself is very warm and relaxed though, and people mostly just hang out, eat lunch, speed-read their gender studies readers, and swap stockings.
A food co-operative is a not-for-profit, member-owned and supported organisation. We aim to provide ethical, healthy, minimally processed foods to the local community, often relying heavily on volunteers to keep the co-op running smoothly. You don’t have to be a volunteer or even a member to eat at the Melbourne University Food Co-op, however discounts apply for members (takes 30 seconds to join), and for regular volunteers who help out for two or more hours each week. Our prices are scaled to reflect and encourage individual involvement. Thus, there are 3 prices for each item: full price, member price (10% off) and volunteer price (20% off).
At the Food Co-op, we strive to source our food ethically, a decision that is often made by the co-op collective. We prioritise locally grown and organic produce, as well as buying food in bulk (minimally packaged & in large quantities).
The co-op aims to function non-hierarchically; there’s no boss, and the work put in by regular volunteers keeps the co-op functioning. Volunteers might serve, wash dishes or even help cook. The MU co-op runs through the Collective (students, public, co-ordinators, volunteers, the cat, anyone) which strives to be non-hierarchical. The collective has regular meetings (currently weekly, though that sometimes increases with necessity) where decisions are made by consensus, and fresh ideas are brought to the table.