Letter of Intent
Project Size: 
Large, >$1,000
Estimated Amount to be requested from the CSF: 
$2,500
Letter of Intent: 

ASUW Student Food Cooperative Bulk Buying Storefront

The ASUW Student Food Cooperative (SFC) proposes a cooperatively run Bulk Buying Storefront, selling locally sourced, organic dried goods and cooking essentials. The Bulk Buying Storefront will be run out of the slightly refurbished HUB 131 kitchenette. We seek to promote sustainable living and eating practices here on the University of Washington campus by making bulk buying and bulk goods accessible to students, staff, and faculty. Bulk buying is a more sustainable way of eating because it requires less packaging, will be locally sourced (promoting our local economy and requiring less transportation), is organically produced, and encourages healthier eating. Buying in bulk is a much cheaper way to purchase high quality food products. Furthermore, the food co-op mission statement and core values will be fully upheld as we set about this endeavor. We will also fully uphold the mission statement and values of ASUW by actively benefiting, serving and engaging the student body. The Co-op will support the ‘storefront’ as a hub for health and food interests, both for its students and staff and the campus at large. The enterprise will provide healthy, sustainable, and affordable eating options while utilizing student participation and creating opportunities for collaboration, education, and leadership.

The ASUW SFC Bulk Buying Storefront will meet all four requirements and preferences of the CSF in the following ways. First, the SFC Storefront will reduce the University’s environmental impact. All aspects of bulk buying are more sustainable for our  planet. Bulk buying reduces waste, as purchasing food in bulk allows for fewer or even no packaging. Additionally, we intend to source our food from United Natural Foods Incorporated (UNFI) and Central Co-op, which are both local sources. Local food ensures shorter transportation trips, which reduces carbon emissions and energy use. Without a bulk-buying storefront, students are given limited options on campus. These options on campus are less sustainable as they have more packaging. If students do want to go to a bulk-buying store, they will have to go as far as PCC in Fremont (20 minute bus ride), Whole Foods in Roosevelt (15 minute bus ride), or QFC in Wallingford (20 minute bus ride). So the SFC Storefront will not just be a more convenient way to buy in bulk, but reduces the carbon footprint of the University by allowing students to purchase on campus, instead of driving or busing to a bulk goods store. Therefore bulk buying reduces waste and carbon emissions.

Second, having an SFC Storefront for bulk buying will allow for student involvement and leadership. The SFC storefront will be entirely staffed by volunteers/members of the university community and it anticipates recruiting a financial officer from the SFC or wider UW community. This will allow for student engagement opportunities.

Third, the SFC Storefront will serve as a powerful educational tool for students to learn about the power of collaboration and cooperatives, local food, sustainable practices, and responsibilities of maintaining a ‘storefront.’ Interest in food issues as it relates to urban agriculture, social and food justice, environmentalism, and alternative agrifood movements is a quickly building momentum on campus. Thus, by addressing popular food -related issues on campus, the cooperative can be a magnet for student, faculty and staff activity.

Four, the SFC Storefront project has been thoroughly researched for its feasibility, accountability, and sustainability. The SFC has already taken many necessary steps to create a cooperative storefront. These included but are not limited to: finding and securing a space, being inspected and approved by both Environmental Health and Safety and Risk Management, creating a thorough budget, surveying student opinion and feedback, and has also received support from the ASUW Board of Directors.

In conclusion, the SFC is confident that our project will meet the requirements and preferences of the CSF.

Finally, the SFC has outlined a budget for the SFC Storefront, which is outlined below.

Name Price QTY Subtotal
       
Dunnage Racks $35.00 3 $105.00
Sturdy, industry standard shelving      
       
Built Shelving $175.00 1 $175.00
Raw materials      
       
Dispensers $32.00 6 $192.00
1 gallon, portioned dispensers, 1/2 mounted on      
wall, 1/2 on counter      
       
Cambros $20.00 10 $200.00
Industry standard, sealed, food safe storage      
       
Scoops $10.00 10 $100.00
Plastic, industrial grade, food safe      
       
Non-latex gloves, scale, bags $250.00 1 $250.00
       
First Aid Kit $30.00 1 $30.00
       
Sanitation Supplies $200.00 1 $200.00
Food safe cleaner, sanitation solution, cleaner      
for storage bins, Chix brand rags (29 cents a      
piece) Spray bottles (restaurant supply store)      
2 buckets (restaurant supply store)      
       
Broom/dust bin $30.00 1 $30.00
       
HUB Signage $150.00 1 $150.00
       
Promotional Materials $300.00 1 $300.00
       

 

Subtotal        $1,732.00

 

This budget will be met within our own ASUW budget of $2500 for all non-food costs. However, we have outlined a prospective food budget, which we would need to be met by the CSF grant or other grants. Keep in mind that the items we purchase and the frequency of purchase is dependent upon student demand, and all prices estimates are subject to fluctuate.

            We plan on having six dispensers and 10 cambros for additional storage. The dispensers can fit about 6-8lbs of food each, and the cambros about 20-30 lbs. So if we ordered items in bulk of 25 lb each, we could have 10 separate items at one given time. 6 items would be in the dispensers. These 6 items would also have back up storage in 6 of the cambros, and the other 4 cambros could be used for the next items we could put in the dispensers. So when estimating prices, we used prices for items in bulk of $25 lbs.

            Additionally, we used the survey we sent out to gather which items are anticipated to be the most popular, and made a mock-up budget for 10 items. Estimating the frequency of purchase was also difficult, but we imagine it could be up to 2 times a quarter, if popular. See table below for food budget.

 

         
        $105.00
Item Price/lb Bulk amount Price Price for students (multiplied by lb amount)
Almonds $4/lb 30 lb $113 $4.6/lb=138
Pecans $9/lb 22 lb $200 $10.35/lb=227.7
 Walnuts $3.7/lb 25 lb $80 $4.3/lb=107.5
Rolled Oats $.8/lb 25 lb $20 $.92/lb=23
  Black Beans $.73/lb 25 lb $18 $.84/lb=21
 Brown rice

 

$.62/lb 25 lb $15 $.72/lb=18
Cannellini $.81/lb 25 lb $20 $.93/lb=23.25
Green Lentils $.78/lb 25 lb $19 $.897/lb=22.43
Chickpeas $.88/lb 25 lb $22 $1/lb=25
Cous Cous $.98/lb 22 lb $21 $1.13/lb-24.86
 

TOTAL

 

    Cost to us=$525  

Revenue=$630.74

 

 

            This $525 amount is simply an estimate, and depends on what items we buy and how often. If we bought these same 10 items in this amount 4 times next year, we would be spending $2100. So if we consider the variety of goods we could be purchasing and the frequency, we believe $2500 to be a fair estimate for a new storefront. We anticipate to use the CSF grant to get us started, as we await a budget approval within the ASUW.

We also would need to consider the fact that we would be charging students for these items, perhaps up to 15% of each item. This would give us just enough money to be sustainable while still maintaining affordable options for students. We also would consider a way to repay the CSF through a loan, over the period of a couple of years. This would be provided we made enough profit to self-sustain ourselves and once we have a budget from the ASUW.

            Finally, to address the possibility of partnering with the UW Farm, although we would love to have a permanent storefront serving Farm veggies, the guidelines of this project approved by EH &S requires only non-perishable dry goods.

We designate Student Activities and Associated Students of the University of Washington as our sponsoring department. 

Thank you for reading the ASUW SFC Bulk Buying Storefront Full Proposal. If you have any further questions, please refer to the following contacts.

Julia Partlow                                                                          Erica Weisman and Gunnar Colleen

Julia.partlow@gmail.com                                                      asuwsfc@uw.edu           

Contact Information
Primary Contact First & Last Name: 
Zoe Frumim
E-mail: 
asuwsfcp@uw.edu
Full Proposal

This will display after the CSF committee has reviewed and approved your LOI, and after you have received the link to edit your application.

Executive Summary: 

The ASUW Student Food Cooperative (SFC) proposes a cooperatively run Bulk Buying Storefront, selling locally sourced, organic dried goods and cooking essentials. The Bulk Buying Storefront will be run out of the slightly refurbished HUB 131 kitchenette and will be available to all University of Washington students and staff. We are requesting $2500 for our initial bulk goods budget, and anticipate the rest of the costs to be funded through our ASUW budget. We will be providing these goods to students at a reduced cost in comparison to other bulk buying stores, and therefore anticipate generating only enough revenue to be financially sustainable and perhaps repay the CSF as a loan in at least two years.

The ASUW Student Food Cooperative is heading this project. To find out more about the SFC, you can read more at our website, http://sfc.asuw.org/. We also have been working closely with Sean Farris of Student Life and have received support from ASUW.

Total amount requested from the CSF: 
$2 500
This funding request is a: 
Loan
If this is a loan, what is the estimated payback period?: 
36months
Budget: 
ItemCost per ItemQuantityTotal Cost
Project Completion Total: 
$2 500
Sustainability Impact: 
Energy Use
Food
Transportation
Waste
Sustainability Challenge: 

All aspects of bulk buying are more sustainable for our planet. Bulk buying reduces waste, as purchasing food in bulk allows for fewer or even no packaging. Less packaging also allows for less energy use. Additionally, we intend to source our food from United Natural Foods Incorporated (UNFI) and Central Co-op, which are both local sources. Local food ensures shorter transportation trips, which reduces carbon emissions and energy use. It also will reduce transportation for students, which will also reduce the University’s carbon footprint from fuel emissions. Finally, our food will be organically produced, which means less water pollution from pesticides traditionally used in food that is not organically grown.

 

 

Explain how the impacts will be measured: 

One University of Portland study researched the amount of waste diverted by buying in bulk.

Some figures:

  • Bulk almonds would save 72 million pounds of packaging waste for all Americans- so in two years of this program, if we had 200 students for 2 years buying almonds from our storefront instead of in packaged amounts, we would save approximately 96 lbs of plastic waste, just from almonds!
  • Bulk oatmeal would cut packaging waste by one fifth.

See this link for further information: http://www.bulkisgreen.org/Docs/2012-PSU-BIGStudy.pdf

In addition to the numbers, we hope that having this storefront will allow for students to make sustainable food choices in all aspects of their lives. We want students to think differently about food and food waste and the importance of having control over how and where your food was produced.

Education & Outreach: 

As a new entity on campus, it will be critical for the Bulk Buying space to be widely publicized and marketed around campus. To both recruit possible workers for the space and to attract customers, the following recruitment plans will be enacted:

Media: social media, including Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms, will be used in conjunction with traditional print media through the UW Daily spread word of the Bulk Buying Club and what it stands for.

Active Recruitment: The ASUW SFC will actively recruit members to work in the Bulk Buying Club through tabling, presenting in lectures, and partnering with various other campus entities and student organizations. The ASUW SFC will also work closely with the Office of Volunteer Opportunities to connect interested interested members of the UW community with the Bulk Buying Club.

Grand Opening: a grand opening celebration for the space will be widely publicized, possibly featuring music or other attractions. Either discounts or giveaways will be offered to a number of the space’s first customers to incentivize interest.

We want the new cooperative space to serve as a powerful educational tool for students to learn about the power of collaboration and cooperatives, local food, sustainable practices, and responsibilities of maintaining a ‘storefront.’ We expect that the storefront will allow for learning not just for those who volunteer with the storefront, but also our customers, who will learn about where their food is sourced, why bulk-buying is a sustainable way to consume food, and why a cooperative model is a self-empowering one. We plan on having information posters and pamphlets available at the store, as well as a book-exchange or library that has books on the topic of food and sustainability. We also want to train our volunteers to be educational tools, available to answer questions or have discussions about the purpose of buying in bulk.

 

 

 

 

Student Involvement: 

The Storefront will be entirely staffed by student volunteers from the University community and the current members of the Student Food Cooperative. The students will be volunteers, but will get some sort of discount, perhaps 10-15% off of all items in the store. We anticipate having anywhere from around 30-40 volunteers, to allow for flexibility within student’s busy schedules. Each volunteer will be expected to work one to two, two-hour shifts per week, signing in and out of schedule books and filling out daily sanitation and organizational check lists. The role of the general storefront volunteers will be to sell all bulk-goods to students, be an educational tool for customers, and do all daily tasks. ASUW SFC Co-managers shall regularly oversee volunteers to ensure proper service and adherence to safety regulations. If volunteers fail to come to shifts without finding a replacement or notifying their shift manager, the Co-manager may discontinue their volunteer status. Absences will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Volunteers shall in return complete quarterly evaluations regarding management structure, leadership, and our products. The ASUW SFC shall conduct quarterly evaluations of all volunteers and members. All volunteers and operational managers will meet on a monthly basis to check in on ordering, promotion, sanitation, to voice opinions and ideas, and to connect with each other. In addition to general members, there will also be opportunities for leadership roles that go beyond the day-to-day tasks of running the storefront, outlines below.

The following are descriptions of the roles and responsibilities of the employed and internally selected representatives of the ASUW Student Food Cooperative.

1. Organizational and Operational Managers:

1. Cooperative Co-Managers

2. Financial Officer

2. Committee Coordinators/Members: Visioning, Fundraising, Membership & Outreach, Publicity, Education & Programming

3. Liaisons: UW Farm, ASUW, Central Co-op

4. Member Volunteers: Upkeep, daily tasks, monthly staff meetings

First and foremost, we want this bulk-buying space to be an opportunity for students to create a community centered around food sovereignty, one in which the students can learn from each other not just about food but about the cooperative model and leadership roles within it.

Timeline: 
TaskTimeframeEstimated Completion Date
Year: 
Amount Awarded: 
$2,500
Potential Funding Reductions: 
Since we are planning on using the CSF funds to pay for bulk goods, we anticipate any reduction in funds to affect the amount and variety of goods we purchase. This would simply mean a slower start to the store in terms of how many bulk goods we sell.
Project Longevity: 

We are proposing a permanent bulk-buying storefront on the UW campus. We plan on being sustainable financially, both in making profit and also by annually applying for ASUW funding and grant funds. The management and maintenance of this project is long-term, and we hope on being able to expand our store-front space with time if this project proves successful.

Project status: 
In progress, accepting volunteers