UMD's Maryland Food Co-op Calls for Donation Boycott of the University

UMD’s Maryland Food Co-op Calls for a Donation Boycott of the University 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

College Park, MD - May 6, 2019 - The Maryland Food Collective is calling on students and alumni to pledge to refrain from donating to the University of Maryland if it chooses to close the co-op this month until a student-run cooperative space on-campus is secured.  

Founded in 1975, the Maryland Food Collective is one of the oldest active worker cooperatives in the United States. Due to the rapidly evolving College Park market and institutional knowledge issues stemming from high turnover in a student-run co-op, the organization has fallen into various debts the current cohort inherited and has been attempting to overcome.

Despite the co-op’s efforts to restructure and revitalize, the collective wasn’t able to successfully address the debts over these last two semesters. In March, the Stamp Student Union building administration decided that the co-op wouldn’t be able to meet its debts and the co-op would close at the end of the semester. 

Since Stamp’s decision, the co-op’s community organized to do everything possible to save the historic space. By the end of the month, the co-op will have met all its financial obligations except to Stamp for unpaid rent and utilities.

The co-op’s viability plan has been endorsed by a broad coalition of community members, including faculty, notable alumni, and community leaders such as State Sen. Jim Rosapepe. The initiatives and changes developed over the last two months have breathed new life into the co-op’s ability to thrive in the new market and this community of workers, students, faculty, campus staff, and alumni believes it can meet the challenges ahead.

The donation boycott is a call to action to demand the university reverse this decision by agreeing to a payment plan to pay off the remaining debt and allowing the co-op a chance to implement the viability plan. If the co-op does close in May, supporters will continue the boycott until a student-run cooperative space on-campus is secured.

For interviews, contact:

Michael Brennan, mryanbrennan@gmail.com

Jim Rosapepe, jcrosapepe@yahoo.com

Sarah EppleyComment