Brown Bag Co-op

The Brown Bag Co-op (BBC) was created for students living off-campus or in village housing who have limited time to devote to a traditional co-op. BBC works sort of like a co-op grocery store, where members “buy” food using a monthly allowance and take it home to prepare and eat it. The remaining amount of the allowance is recorded for each member after their “purchase.”

Most members of BBC do a 2 hr. cashier shift, during which they help “check out” people buying food by weighing bulk foods and produce, keeping track of members’ allowance totals, and performing routine cleanliness duties around the co-op. BBC also has several portioners, who take (for example) a large block of cheese and cut it into smaller sections that members can take home. There is also a Head Portioner, who manages the portioners and creates the all-important Price List, which tells us how much everything in the co-op costs. In addition, BBC has jobs common to other co-ops, like a DLEC, treasurer, foods- and non-foods buyers, board reps, membership coordinator, and unpackers. Most of these people are required to meet once a week for the CMT meeting, when co-op business is discussed and decisions are made.

BBC is found in the basement of Farichild dorm. It consists of a freezer, a dry foods room, and a walk-in fridge. All of these things are kept locked during hours when BBC is closed and no cashiers are working, so that’s why you won’t see it most of the time.

Do you live off-campus or in village housing? Do you have the motivation and time to cook all of your meals for yourself? Are you okay with being a co-op with loose community and few (if any) group meals? If so, then perhaps BBC would be good for you. Talk to your friends in BBC about what they think!

— Tera Levin