Vegetable boxes can inspire chefdom in the least cheffy of us
I think the first thing we always try and do is dispel the myth that everyone involved in the Students’ Food Co-operative is vegan/votes green/carries a jute shopping bag everywhere with them in case of emergency. Of course, some of our members and volunteers are those things, but most people are just greedy, appreciate good food and are trying to avoid Fallowfield Sainsbury’s hell.
We started last year, as a student-run buyer’s co-operative that provides ethically sourced food at cost-price to Manchester’s students. The idea is that we buy in bulk a wide range of goods – both dried wholefoods and fresh produce – direct from suppliers and then sell these on to our members at cost-price, who all pay £2 to be part of the co-op. We sell a huge variety of things: organic red pesto, crystallised ginger, coffee beans, Green & Blacks chocolate – as well as pastas, pulses, nuts and dried fruits. We like to think we take requests, criticisms and compliments all equally, and try and get as much feedback as possible from our members, and are constantly changing what we order in to try and get a more interesting selection of produce.
We also run an organic and local vegetable box scheme – it’s £7, ordered a week in advance via email or Facebook, and provides enough for a week with two people who eat an average amount of vegetables. We try and make it a bit more interesting than just loads of muddy root vegetables (even though there are some of those too) and so far have had celeriac, red pak choi, kohl rabi… perhaps not hugely exotic, but an improvement on that delicious student staple of baked beans.
If you’re interested, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or go to Manchester Students’ Food Co-operative on Facebook.