ASUW Student Food Cooperative Bulk Buying Storefront

Estimated Amount to be requested from the CSF: $2,500

Letter of Intent:

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.

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



    Cost to us=$525  



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           

Primary Contact First & Last Name: Zoe Frumim