Many students miss home-cooked meals but don’t have the time or resources to cook alone. A few students decided to fix this problem by creating the Juniata Food Co-op, a group that comes together to cook healthy meals in dorm kitchens. Becca Weih ’13, the head of the food co-op, answers some questions about this fledgling group.
Q: How did the Juniata Food Co-op get started?
A: It started last spring. A bunch of us got together and decided that we wanted to try to cook, and we decided on a communal feeling to it. Everyone does everything. We just wanted something different, with different kind of food.
Q: How does the food co-op compare to other on-campus locations for food?
A: I feel that it is not a full alternative to Baker. It is more supplementary, but it does allow for creativity and learning how to make healthy food, which is not something that everyone knows how to do. And there’s a sort of bond to cooking together, which is something our culture needs.
Q: How is the food co-op funded?
A: Members donate $20 for four weeks. That comes out to $5 a week. We cook one meal a week, and we all pitch in for pots, pans, and basic supplies. Since we are cooking to the economies of scale, and we have more than two or three people, you can get a pretty decent meal for $5.
Q: What kind of food does the food co-op serve?
A: We’ve made chili, curry, macaroni and cheese, stir-fried chicken, omelets, all sorts of food. We make any food you can think of. This semester we’re going to be trying to make more vegetarian foods.
Q: Do students need to be able to cook to join the food co-op?
A: It is encouraged, but it’s not necessary since you can sign up to do cleaning or shopping for food. We just want people to contribute equally.
Q: What are your plans for the future of the food co-op?
A: We hope to get enough members that you do not have to do something every week. We want enough members that people may only have to do cooking or cleaning or shopping once a month because there are enough people to rotate through the jobs. And we also want to expand the types of food we cook. We want to get healthier, local food, but it’s up to the members to decide what we make.
-Laura Bitely ‘14, Juniata Online Journalist