Oxford Personalities of the Week

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Is there an alternative to buying your veggies from big supermarkets? Ox co-op thinks there is. The co-op sets out to change the way

students get their food; buying directly from wholesalers in bulk and distributing food orders from OxHub on Turl Street, the students aim to cut out the middle man and give students access to socially and environmentally sustainable food.

The initiative was started by a group of stu- dents from Hertford, who spent the summer figuring out the tricky details. The group now consists of nine students, although many more contribute; as a non-hierarchical group, they stress that anybody can come along and con- tribute. Claire Fenner, one of the members, said, “the committee are all amazing, proactive and funny people, we get on really well as a team and it’s really exciting developing the project together as friends.”

Fenner believes that change is most likely to come about when consumers are given ethical alternatives, rather than being preached at. “The point of the co-op isn’t just to provide students with ethical food for now, but to make people think about their consumption habits in the future.

‘You can’t just stand and point and tell peo- ple to change their lifestyles, because it’s rude and no-one will listen; we’re trying to provide a service which opens up peoples’ minds to a different way of buying and consuming food,” Fenner argues. It’s early days yet, but customer satisfaction seems high. They have plans for expansion including group meals, film screenings and pop-up shops.