The undergraduate student government unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday that supported creating a student-run grocery store in an attempt to increase food security for students.
Heather Rosen, president of the Undergraduate Students Association Council, introduced the resolution. She said she is trying to secure a location for an on-campus student-run grocery store that aims to provide produce to students at a cheaper cost than off-campus providers.
Rosen said she hopes the new grocery store will allow students to order produce online and pick it up at an on-campus location. She added the grocery store will be modeled after the UCSB Associated Students Food Bank, which has serviced more than 5,400 students since its opening in 2011.
The UCLA Student Food Collective, an on-campus organization that aims to achieve food sustainability and security, will work with Rosen to create the grocery store, Rosen said.
Regina Napolitano, membership and education director of the UCLA Student Food Collective, said produce, such as eggs, fruits and vegetables, will be bought in bulk from Gaytan Family Farm. To reduce costs, student drivers will drive to the farms and bring the produce back to campus, Napolitano added.
Aditi Agrawal, chief of staff for Rosen’s office, said she and Rosen want the space to include a refrigerator and a dry storage space. She added she thinks the space near the Ackerman Global Viewpoint Lounge that previously housed Tsunami would be a suitable location.
Rosen said she plans to secure funding for the grocery store from the Academic Success Referendum Fund, the Green Initiative Fund and the USAC Discretionary Fund. The University of California Office of the President allocated $75,000 in May to each UC campus to support food security initiatives, and the Food Security Work Group that was in charge of distributing the money allocated $2,500 to Rosen’s grocery store initiative in July.
Rosen is a member on the UCLA Food Security Work Group, which is comprised of undergraduate students who are food sustainability advocates.
Roy Champawat, director of Associated Students UCLA, said the grocery store would only sell products that are not currently offered in ASUCLA stores, to complement the current food options offered. Rosen added the grocery store would not compete with ASUCLA, and all purchases will be made online in order to avoid conflicts.
Patricia Capiral, a first-year human biology and society student, said she thinks having an on-campus grocery store would be beneficial because it’s hard for her to find time to walk to Westwood.
Zhixin Wen, a third-year computer science student, said he was not sure the store would receive a lot of traffic due to competition from other Westwood grocery stores. Wen added students who live off-campus can shop at Target, Trader Joe’s and Ralphs, and students who live on campus can eat at dining halls.
Baixiao Huang, a third-year computer science student, said he was concerned there may not be enough space in Ackerman Union to build a grocery store.
Champawat said Rosen and ASUCLA officials will discuss securing a location in Ackerman, during the ASUCLA Services Committee meeting Friday. He added he would not comment on the feasibility of finding a location for the grocery store.