Massey Fruit & Veg Co-Op
The Massey Fruit and Veg Co-op are making progress despite their very quiet public appearance. They meet with the District Health Board (DHB) last week on Friday to talk about starting a co-op here at Massey as the DHB are currently help Victoria with theirs. Due to the way semesters work at Uni and the capacity of DHB helping to start up a new co-op, it sounds like the co-op wouldn't be able to be rolled out in full until the start of 2018. The perks of not starting till next year would allow stringent planning and prep by the team, making sure hiccups are not devastating as they will need about 120 orders a week to be sustainable.
Despite this long wait period there is talk about partnering with Miramar's co-op and buying 40 orders from them each week for a select few Massey students and staff. This will help the team learn how a co-op runs without the risk. Their plans are to try open up the 40 orders to students and staff who would be happy to dedicate their time volunteering to pack bags at Miramar and at Massey, if Massey becomes a distribution hub next year.
A new survey will be sent out in the next coming weeks to the students and staff who have expressed their interest in the co-op. This will help determine further details about the running of the co-op such as: what percentage of people are keen to volunteer, how they want to pay for the bags (automatic payments or pay as they go), if they want degradable plastic bags or people will use their own, and if people want to pay a little extra on top of the $12 or have $20-30 fee at the start (with their first bags included) to help cover the co-op's operational cost and make it a sustainable service on campus.
Last week the Massey Fruit & Veg Co-op launched their Facebook page (129 likes so far) to start gaining attention and momentum to officially launch on the Massey Wellington campus. Alongside their Facebook page they have a sign up form on the MAWSA website to capture those who are invested in the co-op (70 sign ups so far) before they have anything solid. These sign-ups have given the co-op a mailing list that they can pull on as soon as they have set up.
Along with their Facebook they have also created a look and brand, which can be seen below.
The Massey fruit & Veg Co-Op are making plans to launch their first run. They hope to be providing Massey's Wellington Campus with bags of fresh produce by the second half of semester one. A logo has been created for the Co-Op and soon to follow a Facebook page to start gathering all students and staff who are interested in buying their fruit and veg on campus.
The Co-Op is also in the process of setting up a partnership with MAWSA, with hopes the collaboration will help with managing their funds and also to help with providing a space for distribution. Other ideas for spaces are from The Lounge or Flax & Fern. The Co-Op is also applying for a Grant from the government to be able to afford the equipment to aid packing and distribution of the fruit and veg.
Investigating into Victoria University's food co-op which allows students to buy grains, nuts and many more bulk foods from the campus is also underway. Currently the Co-Op are trying to set up a meeting to learn how Vic's co-op works and the best way to implement it at Massey.
In regard to pricing the group are toying with the model that most co-ops use: $10-12 for one bag of fruit and one bag of veg, and say once they are done a couple of runs of having the co-op on campus they will examine their business model to see if alternations need to be made.
If you are interested in buying from the Massey Co-Op you can email firstname.lastname@example.org to register your interest.
About the project
Food co-ops are a great way to support communities and get affordable, fresh fruit and vegetable into peoples hands. Students are often living on tight budgets and the co-op gives them away to access easily an affordable food option. This initiative is also available to staff, as without the staff the co-op wouldn't be sustainable in the months where the number of students significantly decrease.