Current Board Members
Kirtrina M. Baxter, M.A., Soil Generation and Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia
Kirtrina is a dedicated mother, drummer, urban farmer, food justice activist, community organizer and Afroecologist. Kirtrina is currently the community organizer for the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia where she works with gardeners around the city, to gain access to land and other resources. She also co-organizes Soil Generation, a Black and Brown-led coalition of urban agriculture advocates, environmental & food justice activists who work within a racial and economic justice framework to help inform policy and provide community education and support to gardeners in the city.
Though certified in permaculture, Kirtrina identifies with agroecology as a more politically informed way to practice her land work. As well as being an urban grower, Kirtrina has volunteered to help create and maintain various community gardens in Upstate NY as well as Philadelphia. Kirtrina co-founded the Ithaca Youth Farm Project, a youth-run farm CSA that engages students from culturally different backgrounds; the Congo Square Market which is an outdoor summer cultural market designed to offer opportunities for start-up entrepreneurs of color to build economic means. She is the farm manager and a board member of Urban Creators, a board member of Mill Creek Farm, a member of the Black Dirt Farm Collective, The Seedkeepers Collective, and the National Black Food and Justice Alliance. In 2008, she received her M.A from Union Institute and University in Cultural Studies.
Ms. Teia Evans, Carolina Common Enterprise
Ms. Evans is the Associate Director at Carolina Common Enterprise, a cooperative development center in North Carolina. She works to advance the cooperative ecosystem in North and South Carolina and also oversees the annual internship program to train future cooperative developers across the country. Ms. Evans strives to serve her community and offer solutions through economic development. She was selected to be involved in the 2017 Cooperative Leader and Scholar Institute, she is a participant in the Cooperation Works, “The Art and Science of Cooperative Development” training program and serves on the board of local nonprofits. Ms. Evans has a JD and MBA.
Ratih Sutrisno, North American Students of Cooperation (NASCO)
Ratih Sutrisno (she/her) hails from Saint Paul, MN, where she grew up deeply rooted in her family’s Indonesian culture. Having spent the majority of her life focused on issues of environmental and social justice, Ratih is passionate about the efforts underway to build a cooperative movement that puts people and communities over profits. She believes that effective communication is vital to broadening the movement to build a just and equitable economy that works for ALL people and the planet. She received her B.S. in Environmental Science, Policy, and Management at the University of Minnesota while living at The Students’ Cooperative in Minneapolis. Ratih is currently based in Chicago, IL where she works as the Director of Community Engagement at the North American Students of Cooperation (NASCO). She participated in the 2017 Cooperative Leader and Scholar Institute and oversees a summer cooperative internship network. Over the weekends you can usually find her playing ultimate frisbee, throwing pottery, or cooking brunch at her housing co-op.
Gerald Mitchell, The Working World & SWICH
Gerald serves as the Deputy Director at The Working World, where he helps guide the organization's efforts to build economic democracy via acquisitions, conversion, financing and advisory support for cooperatives and worker-owned businesses. Gerald is also the Founder of SWICH, a platform that helps people leverage consumer power to change how businesses impact communities in support of social justice. SWICH has rated over 75,000 businesses across the country based on their impact on local communities, helps people find businesses that share their values, and provides tools and recommendations for people to measure and improve the impact they have with their money. Prior to starting SWICH, Gerald worked at The Andrew Mellon Foundation and in several roles as an advisor and investor for small businesses.
Gerald is passionate about the possibilities of how we can use money and finance in non-extractive ways that help bring about a just transition to a new economy that works for all. He graduated from Stanford University and received his MBA from the University of Pennsylvania and currently lives in Brooklyn. Most importantly, he loves to cook, hike and kitesurf.
Kaleb Montano, Herbal Medics Cascadia
Kaleb is a Bioregional Food Advocate, Worker Cooperative Developer, Herbal Medic and Scout, and Survival and Self Defense Instructor. He grew up as a first generation hapa Filipino-American out of the Southwest and was heavily influenced in the clan-based upbringing of his family. He was a founding member of Southern Nevada's first and foremost Worker Cooperative Incubator (Las Vegas Worker Ownership Resources and Cooperative Services) and has met with organizations such as the Mondragon Corporation and other regional cooperative projects from the Southwest. He set out to become a self defense and survival instructor four years ago after seeing the need for people of color and marginalized groups not having access to skills that would provide post-climate change resiliency. Through this, he is investigating the intersections of the cooperative methodology and bioregionalism in land-based skills curriculum, a little explored aspect of worker-owner culture in the U.S.
Kaleb is passionate about worker cooperative development for disaster relief as a means for solving the economic deficits upon marginalized communities caused by capitalism. Because of this, he was a founding member of Herbal Medics Cascadia and is also training to be an Herbal Medic through the Herbal Medics University under Sam and Suchil Coffman-Guerra based out of San Antonio, Texas.
Matthew Epperson, Daily Groceries Co-op & Georgia Cooperative Development Center
Matthew (pronouns he/him) is a southern cooperator based in Athens, Georgia. He grew up in Tampa, FL where he became a first-degree black belt (in Tang Su Doo, Aikido & Jujitsu) before relocating to Athens in 2008 for love and education.
He is a worker at Daily Groceries Co-op (a consumer-owned retail food co-op), where he has worked for the past 8 years in various capacities, now human resources manager and bookkeeper. He's a graduate (2015) of the Masters of Management: Co-operatives and Credit Unions program through Saint Mary's University. Also in 2015 he helped found the first worker-owned co-op in Athens, a cleaning co-op called Peachy Green Clean Co-op.
He is the Executive Director of the Georgia Cooperative Development Center (est. 2017) and in that capacity he looks forward to providing assistance to many more startup and existing co-ops across Georgia. He also married his partner Lindsey in 2015 (it was a big year). Lindsey and he love to spend time cycling on rail-trails, hiking north Georgia mountains, and drinking hot tea while reading. He’s recently become a practicing Zen Buddhist and enjoys spending Sunday mornings with his sangha, the Athens Zen Group.
Rachel Vernon, Chinese Progressive Association
Rachel is of Yaqui, Mescalero Apache, Mexicana and Caucasian descent and has spent most of her life in Northern Colorado. She has a Master's Degree in Ethnic Studies which focuses on community-owned food systems among American Indians living in Oakland, California. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Stanford University in 2008, with a major in Comparative Studies of Race and Ethnicity. Rachel works for the Chinese Progressive Association, which educates, organizes and empowers the low income and working class immigrant Chinese community in San Francisco to build collective power with other oppressed communities to demand better living and working conditions and justice for all people. She currently resides in Oakland, CA.
Samantha Shain, William Penn Foundation
Samantha has spent the last 10 years teaching, learning and rabble rousing with leaders who care about good food, economic dignity, sustainable agriculture and environmental justice. Currently she is at the Database Manager at William Penn Foundation. Previously, she worked as the Coordinator of People Operations at The Common Market, supporting and onboarding new staff members and developing training curriculum at the quickly growing not-for-profit food hub in Philadelphia. She completed a two year Local Food Operations Fellowship at The Common Market, where she had the chance to rotate through nearly every department and learn what it takes to aggregate and distribute locally-sourced, sustainable food at scale. Outside of work, Samantha serves as a board member and volunteer with the Earth Quaker Action Team, a Quaker and interfaith organization that uses non-violent direct action to target corporations and win (!) campaigns at the intersection of economic and environmental justice. Samantha is a CoFED and Real Food Challenge alumna as well as a former board member of NASCO Education. When she's not working and organizing, you might find her surrounded by yarn and crafts, wrist-deep in cooking projects or attending Jewish and Quaker religious services. She calls West Philly her home.
Michael Roberts, 11th Hour Project
Michael came to know CoFED through his work at The 11th Hour Project of the Schmidt Family Foundation, where he is an associate in the Ecological Agriculture and Regional Food System grant making program. At 11th Hour, Michael works with projects across the country devoted to reforming the food system, providing financial resources, strategic advice, and connections with other activists and leaders necessary to scale innovation. Relatively new to philanthropy, he brings with him the values of community empowerment and local actors as the most important agents of change. Michael holds a Master of Science from University College London (UK) in Environment and Sustainable Development, where he focused on the transformative nature of community food projects and urban agriculture. While at UCL in 2009, he was a regular volunteer at Organic Lea, a worker-owned cooperative and home of the largest certified organic farm within Greater London’s city limits. Michael’s MSc dissertation explored the role of community-driven entrepreneurship in supporting alternative models and policies for food, agriculture, and trade. A section devoted to local community food projects was published in the UCL compilation The Food Junctions Cookbook: Living Recipes for Social Innovation. He also used Participatory Action Research methods to work alongside rural migrant farmers in Ashaiman, Ghana to organize as a cooperative and assert their right to their land just outside the capital city of Accra. Though he grew up in South Carolina and Georgia, Michael has lived and worked all over. He has worked as an organizer for the League of Conservation Voters in Salem, Oregon during the 2004 presidential campaign and in 2008, became the production manager at Piedmont Biofuels Cooperative in Moncure, North Carolina. He currently resides in Oakland, CA where he has the pleasure of interacting with some of the most exciting entrepreneurial projects in the food system both as a funder and an engaged citizen.
Steve Dubb, Nonprofit Quarterly
Steve is a Senior Editor at Nonprofit Quarterly and former Research Director of The Democracy Collaborative at the University of Maryland, where he has led the development of the Community-Wealth.org web-based information portal and has been lead author or co-author of a number of publications including Building Wealth: The New Asset-Based Approach to Solving Social and Economic Problems (Aspen, 2005), Linking Colleges to Communities: Engaging the University for Community Development (2007), Growing a Green Economy for All: From Green Jobs to Green Ownership (with Deborah Warren, 2010) and co-author (with Rita Axelroth Hodges) of The Road Half Traveled: University Engagement at a Crossroads (MSU Press, 2012). Dubb also conducted (with Ted Howard) the initial strategic planning that led to the development of the Evergreen Cooperative initiative in Cleveland, Ohio and currently helps guide efforts to adopt that model to meet the needs of other cities. Previously, Dubb was Executive Director of the North American Students of Cooperation (NASCO), a U.S. and Canadian nonprofit association that provides education and technical assistance to university and community-based housing and retail cooperatives. Dubb received his Masters and Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California, San Diego and his Bachelor’s in Economics (with honors) and Spanish from the University of California, Berkeley. While in college, Dubb was also a member of cooperatives, being a member of the Berkeley Student Co-op from 1986 to 1989 and a member of the Groundwork Books collective from 1989 to 1998.