Food markets specializing in organic and specialty foods on campus have traditionally struggled to compete with the low prices at chain stores like Meijer or Kroger, but a new student-friendly co-op is attempting to attract student customers.

The co-op — tentatively titled the Ann Arbor Student Food Co-op — is still in its planning stages and co-founder Alex Green, a Business School graduate student, said his goal is to develop a store located near campus that provides both healthy food options and employment opportunities for students. Green said the co-op’s organizers are still unsure as to when the store will open.

Green said while grocers like the People’s Food Co-op in Kerrytown provide healthy and sustainable foods, he wants to establish a store that is more centrally located to campus. The planning committee for the co-op is currently looking at property in the South University Ave. area, as well as the former Border’s property on East Liberty Street, Green said.

A major initiative of the co-op is to develop a place where students can be educated about local food sources, while learning more about choosing healthy food options, Green said. Ultimately he said he hopes that the co-op will become an educational tool for students, since the University doesn’t have a large agricultural program like Michigan State University.

“Michigan has had a need for a large-scale food program,” Green said.

Green said the group has also received help from organizations that have expressed interest in collaborating with the initiative to brainstorm ideas on how to start the co-op.

Yoni Landau, co-founder of the Cooperative Food Empowerment Directive — an organization that helps establish food co-ops on college campuses — said his group helped the Ann Arbor Student Food Co-op get off the ground.

“We’ve just started supporting their young endeavor and they’re doing great,” Landau said.

Landau said CoFED, a recently developed company, wishes to create a formal membership system in which co-ops like the Ann Arbor Student Food Co-op work collaboratively with its organization.

LSA senior Ellyn Guttman said she usually shops at markets away from campus because she has a car.

“I don’t think there are very many options on campus and I think it tends to be a little pricier,” Guttman said. “You usually can’t get everything you need.”

Guttman added that it is often difficult for students without cars to obtain fresh meat and produce, and she said she believes the new co-op would provide a more convenient option.

“I like to get fresh fish, fresh meat,” Guttman said. “I think for people who don’t have cars, a co-op can provide food to kids who are on campus … it would be extremely beneficial.”

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