CoFED inspiregizes future food co-op leaders across North America. We support students with training and tools, and connect them with peers, mentors, and allies in a solidarity network.

California Mentor Network

CoFED has secured commitments from the following advisors and allies to field questions from CoFED member teams! Thank you mentors! If you would like to get in touch with any of these wonderful people, email

Kim Coontz, California Center for Cooperative Development

Wants to talk to students about: Cooperative Structure, Legal Issues, Incorporation

E. Kim Coontz has been working with cooperative enterprises for more than 20 years. She has served as Executive Director of the California Center for Cooperative Development, a private non-profit dedicated to promoting and supporting cooperatives, since its inception in 2007. Prior to her current position, Kim spent 4 years as Director of Yolo Mutual Housing Association, a non-profit developer of cooperatively governed affordable housing, and worked for 14 years for the Center for Cooperatives at the University of California at Davis (prior to its closure in 2004). During her cooperative career she has provided start-up assistance to numerous new cooperatives, including the development of feasibility studies and business plans. She has taught cooperative board governance seminars, conducted survey research on cooperatives, and provided technical support to cooperatives. Kim has authored and co-authored more than 10 publications about cooperatives and written numerous articles. Her publications include Cooperative Start-up manuals (2 editions of Steps to Starting a Marketing Cooperative, and Steps to Starting a Worker Cooperative), and a book on child care cooperatives called Bringing Families Together: A Guide to Parent Cooperatives. In 2004 she was awarded Author of the Year by the National Association of Housing Cooperatives. She has presented at numerous conferences, including the USDA Research Group-NCR 194, National Cooperative Business Association, National Association of Accountants for Cooperatives, and the International Cooperative Alliance. 


Hai Vo, Fellowship Coordinator with LiveReal

Wants to talk to students about: Campus Sustainable Food Procurement, Group/Meeting Facilitation, Leadership Development

Hai Vo is a young scholar seeking food justice within his lifetime.  Hai is the Fellowship Coordinator with LiveReal. Now, an emerging organization harnessing the voice of young people with a new tech platform to, socially and politically, connect community-based food systems work with national initiatives.  In this capacity, he is convening a fellowship cohort of young and diverse leaders across the nation to create food systems change.

Hai’s current passions are along the spheres of researching, educating, and advocating for sustainable food, finding the nexus between ancient food cultures and modern ground-breaking nutrition research, and harnessing the power and participation, particularly of fellow young people, in food systems change.  He integrates themes of sustainability, food systems, and social justice in his writing, speaking engagements, and visual facilitation, asking, “What is food justice?”. Hai applies his training in leadership development, systems-thinking, and community organizing with food system concentrations.



Dani Lee, food policy and nutrition graduate student

Wants to talk to students about: Basic food safety, sustainable food sourcing, institutional food service (ie. higher education) corporations

Dani is the former Sustainability Manager for UC Davis Dining Services, operated by Sodexo. She graduated with a degree in Clinical Nutrition from UC Davis in 2008. Dani is currently studying food policy and nutrition at UC Berkeley's School of Public Health (expected 2015). She is a long-time member and superworker of the Davis Food Co-op and has managed farmers markets and developed safety guidelines for campus gardens and farms. She has also worked to develop food hubs and connect institutional buyers to local farmers.



Doug Walter, Membership Director of the Davis Food Co-op

Wants to talk to students about: recruitment, coop membership and governance, training, customer service

Doug Walter has been Membership Director of the Davis Food Co-op since 1989. In that time, the Co-op has added over 8,000 shareholders and $1.5 million in share investments. Doug has oriented hundreds of new members, answered hundreds of shopper suggestions, placed and coached many dozens of member workers, and supervised the issuance of the Co-op’s first scanning member cards and patronage refund checks. He's worked with elected Directors to revise the Co-op's Bylaws to permit patronage refunds, improve elections, and clarify many other aspects of our membership and business procedures. He is an elected Director of the Cooperative Grocers’ Information Network, an avid Irish and Scottish dancer, and has a Masters of Science in Community Development from UC Davis.