Cowell Coffee Shop: For the Peoples

Jars for Pickling!

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Fall 2020 Offerings

While UCSC is active in remote instruction and access for campus spaces are restricted we are offering a range of online webinars and workshops as well as supporting Slug Support Pantry distributions on Mondays 2:00-6:00, Wednesdays 10:00-2:00, and Thursdays 3:45-7:00 Tuesday and Wednesday from 2pm to 7pm (by appointment) as well as prepared meal kit items, seasonal preserves, fermented goods, fresh juices, food recovery offerings, and more!

Welcome to your basic needs hub on the UC Santa Cruz campus!

We are pleased to share that Colleges, Housing and Educational Services (CHES) and  Cowell College, in partnership with the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS) and the Dean of Students Office, have transformed the Cowell Coffee Shop into a non-transactional cafe and choice based pantry.

The Cowell Coffee Shop: For the Peoples is a student-run cafe designed to increase student food access. The cafe processes local and farm fresh produce from campus and our farmers markets into juices, purees, fruit leathers, fermented goods, pickles, jams, dried fruit, and other preserves. In addition, the Coffee Shop has partnered with the Slug Support Pantry during COVID to serve as a distribution hub for second harvest goods and semi-prepared meal kits made from scratch at the cafe, all free of charge in an effort to provide students with access to healthy food options. The Coffee Shop is collaborating with Slugs in the Kitchen as well as other CASFS partners. These collaborations seek to put together online curriculum, workshops, conversations around food insecurity, and cooking classes designed specifically around the UCSC food system.

Located in Cowell College near the heart of eastern campus, the Coffee Shop also serves as a community space for students to study and connect with peers. Post-pandemic, we plan to utilize the café to hold village events: open mic evenings, movie nights, hosting student organizational gatherings, curated dinners, and more. Through these events, we hope to nourish and foster student engagement within our UCSC community.

Starting next year, the Coffee Shop team will be rolling out our CASFS Mobile Food Hub: a 16' food trailer that will serve lunch, distribute produce, and travel around campus to offer food at special events and workshops. It will primarily be stationed at Oakes College to balance out our basic needs presence geographically on campus. The trailer will have a rotating menu that seeks to celebrate the diverse culinary diaspora of our students at UCSC and be rooted in the use of local, seasonal produce.

We recognize that the food security conversation needs to shift toward a more comprehensive basic needs framework, and hope that the Cowell Cafe and Mobile Food Hub can operate as nexus points for engagement and access to our support systems. Students often face overlapping needs and crises during their time in college - housing and financial security are tied to and affect food access, nourishment, and overall wellness. We envision a future where hunger is not normalized as part of the college experience.

We believe that by creating a non-transactional community hub woven into our campus farms and broader local food system, we are creating a glimpse of what such a future on campus could look like. Though these spaces do provide emergency food relief, they are additionally designed for students to congregate, eat, learn, collaborate, and participate in the logistics and larger conversations around every aspect of our food system, from seed to kitchen.

Location & Hourscssmapnew.png

  • Mondays: 2-6PM
  • Wednesdays: 10AM-2PM
  • Thursdays: 3:45-7PM
  • Tuesdays and Wednesdays:
    2-7PM (By appointment)


Programming Inquiries

If you are interested in using the space for workshops, teach-ins, and/or non-private meetings, please visit the space request form here.


To help us continue improving the Cowell Coffee Shop, please click the link to submit your ideas and opinions to our feedback form.

Connect with Us

Get updates on the Cowell Coffee Shop and be notified of events such as Slugs in the Kitchen, changes, new additions, and general news. You'll also get the latest information on other amazing student resources!


  • How are the snacks, food, and support services free?

    UCSC’s Food Access and Basic Needs Working Group draws from campus and external funding to support innovative interventions that support students’ success. It truly takes a village to build new pathways for support...and this site is one of those shared vision to action steps undertaken.