With the fundraising and support from the community, the co-op has been able to meet all of its financial obligations except to the Stamp Student Union for unpaid rent and utilities.
Given the couple of weeks left to save the co-op, its supporters recognize the only path forward is through mobilizing a demand from the campus community and alumni who believe that the co-op is viable and an invaluable space worth preserving. 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.
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.
The boycott pledge page can be found at ter.ps/donotdonate
For 44 years, the Maryland Food Co-op has been a student-led radical workplace - a learning experience for generations of worker-owners and UMD students. It was born out of campus struggle to create a space for healthy food on campus and has been sustained for many decades by the devotion of all the individuals who have passed through its doors - it is up to the current generation to continue that legacy.
Last summer, the co-op created a strategy with Stamp to pay off the debts inherited over multiple generations of worker-owners. This past school year required a great deal of effort and concern from the worker-owners, but it did not catch up to our financial problems in time. At this point, it would take a community effort alongside our own to keep the co-op going.
To be clear, the co-op must pay this debt amount by the end of the semester regardless of what happens - closing or not. It will go towards the state of Maryland for sales and use taxes, our vendors and suppliers, and the worker-owners' various investments that need to be paid back. Raising the money in and of itself won't keep the co-op going, but it is a necessary step to build community support and revitalize the space to be viable in the long-term.
We are asking all those who care as deeply about the co-op as we do to contribute their time, talent, and treasure - devote any resources you believe can further our collective mission of Food For People, Not For Profit!
For a more full picture of the co-op’s situation, feel free to view and share the following financial viability document: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1XcegtDQUzdLeHIZ5EbTR0h1vUTi2rAPNkDoFxOgVOKA/edit?usp=sharing