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.


CoFED has secured commitments from the following advisors and allies to field questions from CoFED member teams! Thank you mentors!

If you are interested in joining this amazing group of people and becoming a mentor, you can learn more here
If you are a CoFED member and would like a mentor's support, email



Diane Gasaway, Northwest Cooperative Development Center

Olympia, Washington

Wants to talk to students about: co-op education, grant administration, and budget management

Diane Gasaway, NWCDC Executive Director, joined the Center in 2003 and together with the NWCDC Board of Directors has been responsible for building the Center into what it is today. Diane has 13 years of experience in the financial services industry. She received a Master of Public Administration (with a co-op emphasis) from The Evergreen State College. NWCDC is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization, working with co-ops in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Hawaii.  Their assistance has helped build capacity for a wide range of cooperatives, from agriculture to preschool; from healthcare to groceries; from financial services to renewable energy.  Founded by co-ops in 1979, the Center has grown into the Northwest's leading provider of co-op business development services. One of the main hurdles for co-ops is the large amounts of time it takes to organize, get started and stay on track.  To help with these challenges, NWCDC provides advising, facilitation and access to information and tools that will enable effective governance and management.  Our predevelopment work helps to build business ownership, sound management practices, and economic health, drawing upon a variety of models.



Micheal Snow, Northwest Construction Cooperative

Olympia, Washington

Wants to talk to students about: collective & non-hierarchical process, accounting & financial planning, consensus

Micheal worked at The Flaming Eggplant Cafe, a student-run on-campus project, for more than three and a half years. There, he worked in the general coordination of the café, as well as in the finances. While working at The Eggplant, he studied at The Evergreen State College and became increasingly interested in economic democracy, alternative development, and alternatives to capitalism. Since graduating in Spring of 2012, he joined the Black Moon Collective that created the New Moon Cooperative Cafe, a worker-owned and collectively-run restaurant in downtown Olympia. In August 2014 he left the New Moon to start the Northwest Construction Cooperative, a worker-owned and collectively-run general contracting cooperative where he currently works. His knowledge, interests and skills are primarily in collective organizing with an emphasis on consensus, finances, and horizontal organization development.


Kim Coontz, California Center for Cooperative Development

Davis, California

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. 



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

Davis, California

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. 



Sam Shain, Local Foods Operations Fellow, Common Market

Philadelphia, PA

Wants to talk to students about: event planning, campaigning, food procurement 

When she's not knitting, cooking or reading, Sam is dedicated to food justice, horizontal leadership development and team-building games. Call her in to help plan meals to feed your crew, mobilize resources on your campus, or develop realistic & achievable goals. She is especially interested in helping novice kitchen managers plan meals for convergences and helping folks wrangle together the details/vehicle rentals to get a group of students to an action camp. She has extensive experience with the Real Food Challenge, NASCO and Theatre of the Oppressed. She loves traveling, radical Judaism, big kitchens, the color yellow, Quakerism, yarn, facilitation, and her feet in soft soil.



Peter Frank, Organizational Development Coordinator, Mariposa Food Co-op 

Philadelphia, PA

Wants to talk to students about: anti-oppression, organizational planning, strategic planning

Peter is on staff at Mariposa Food Co-op as the Organizational Development Coordinator. Mariposa Food Co-op is a collectively managed consumer cooperative in West Philly. He is also the co-founder of the Philadelphia Area Cooperative Alliance, a cross-sector cooperative association whose members are co-ops in the Philadelphia region. PACA acts as a “chamber of commerce” for area cooperatives and is also starting a co-op development center. Peter has also been actively involved in the Kensington Community Food Co-op (startup), a board member of The Energy Co-op, volunteering for a start-up brewery co-op, and a member of PFCU.



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