Maryland Food Co-op graphic

Supporting the Maryland Food Co-op

Susan Cho, TPSS Co-op Board Member

This is part of the menu at the Maryland Food Co-op.  

As a returning student studying environmental science at the University of Maryland (College Park) in 2006, I was extremely grateful for the opportunity to have inexpensive, fresh, nutritious food, in a place that prioritized workers, customers, and the environment over profit.  When I volunteered for a shift to earn credit for food, I was welcomed by a group of enthusiastic young folks running a tight ship while making decisions by consensus. I was just getting interested in veganism, so this place was a godsend, with its plethora of vegan options.

The Maryland Food Co-op describes itself as “a democratically owned and operated institution that strives to nourish the community by providing quality food that is highly nutritious and ethically procured. We aspire to cultivate an environment that promotes educated consumption and inspires a deeper sense of community. We are committed to the personal and professional enrichment of our workers and volunteers.”

Which sounds an awful lot like TPSS.  I’m writing this post to point out that we have a sister establishment that deserves our support.

The Maryland Food Co-op has been struggling to make ends meet for years. They have incurred significant debt, especially to Stamp – the student union they rent space from on campus.  

Stamp has ordered the Co-op to close its doors on May 31. However, the Co-op and supporters are making one final push to negotiate a repayment plan. They meet again with the administration on May 21.

If the Co-op closes, UMD students will have the following dining establishments to choose from: Auntie Anne’s, Chick-fil-A, Hibachi San, Maryland Dairy, McDonald’s, Moby Dick, Panda Express, Saladworks, Sbarro, Subway, Taco Bell, and The Coffee Bar.

Not to denigrate commercial enterprises, but I think our students deserve better than just these choices. How about a place that operates under the principle “Food for People, Not for Profit”?  How about food that considers the health of both the consumer and the rest of the earth inhabitants? Let’s show our support!

The Maryland Food Co-op has set up a gofundme to help pay off debt and is asking for a boycott on making donations to the University to show solidarity. The petition already has 3000 names.