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.

Northwest 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

Cristos Papaiacovou, Olympia Food Co-op

Wants to talk to students about: Cooperative Organizational Development - policy, structure, governance, membership; Anti-oppression and Collective processes - meetings, facilitation, consensus, conflict mediation and resolution, non-violent communication; Campaigning - campus organizing, coalition building, administration relations, member recruitment; Food operations - menus, sourcing, pricing, kitchen design, food service management

Cristos was a founding member of Students Organizing for Food Autonomy (SOFA) at the Evergreen State College. SOFA was a student group created with the purpose of ridding Evergreen of corporate control over its food service. Over the years this evolved into starting a student-run cafe, The Flaming Eggplant. He then worked with The Flaming Eggplant Cafe for four years.
At the Flaming Eggplant he had many roles, including menu development, food sourcing and ordering; hiring, scheduling, and conflict resolution; meeting facilitation, consensus training, and policy writing. 
Cristos currently works for the Olympia Food Co-op, which is not only a consumer cooperative but also a worker collective. He works as a Meat Manager and as part of the Deli department.


Micheal Snow, New Moon Cooperative Café

Wants to talk to students about: Collective/Cooperative Structure, Horizontal Management, Consensus, Radical Co-operative Development

Micheal worked at The Flaming Eggplant for more than three and a half years. There, he worked in the general coordination of the café, “personnel” logistics like hiring, scheduling and conflict resolution, and finances. While working there, he studied at The Evergreen State College and increasingly became more and more interested in economic democracy, alternative development, and alternatives to capitalism. Since graduating in Spring of 2012, he joined a new collective working to create a cooperative restaurant in downtown Olympia. They recently have decided to move forward with buying a local breakfast restaurant currently in operation and plan to turn it into a collectively run, worker-owned business. The project has a focus on creating better food, supporting local agriculture/production, social justice, economic democracy, and the development of other cooperatives in our region that could provide more satisfying work for more people. His knowledge, interests and skills are primarily in collective organizing with an emphasis on consensus, finances, and horizontal organization development.


Marc Hinz, Kayak Tillamook County

Wants to talk to students about: Contract law, Campus organizing

Marc was born and raised in Wisconsin, where he completed a Bachelor of Social Change and Development, examining the distribution of power and wealth in society – particularly the United States.  Moving to Oregon in 1996 to attend Portland State University, as a campus organizer he played major roles in establishing an additional child care center, theRearguard student publication and co-founded theFood for Thought Cafe – all of which still operate. Today, Marc is the elected Principal Executive and Co-Founder ofKayak Tillamook County, a coastal workers cooperative formed by former loggers, commercial fishermen and educators. 


Danielle Warhola, Red and Black Cafe

Wants to talk to students about: collective process, group decision making, consensus

Danielle's experience with collectives began at the tail end of Seattle's Touchstone Collective Bakery in 2006, a beautiful 30 year old co-op with hearty whole grain breads and kind hearted workers. Time was also spent at the People's Harm Reduction Alliance, an independent needle exchange. Danielle now works at the Red and Black - a vegan cafe and radical event space in Portland, Oregon. Their experience with collectives is not limited only to businesses, but co-op housing and consensus based activism, such as SWAGG, Sex Worker's and Allies Action Group. Danielle believes strongly in Anarchism and the power of group decision making!


Webster Walker, Central Food Co-op and SLICE

Wants to talk to students about: Cooperative structure, ecological accounting, navigating campus bureaucracy

Webster was tired of playing his guitar on the street and decided to get a job. He started working at a local co-op because he believes in economic democracy, and has never looked back. He spent six years at the University of Washington Seattle wrestling with campus bureaucracy, which he describes as an “evil monster.” webster is a co-founder of SLICE: Strengthening Local Independent Co-ops Everywhere, and serves on the SLICE steering committee. He’s completed the CooperationWorks! training in cooperative development, still has his day job doing community outreach at Central Co-op in Seattle, and works to build a cooperative economy that is accountable for its social and ecological impacts. When he’s not geeking out on co-ops, he stays sane by making compost for his small urban farm project.


Diane Gasaway, Northwest Cooperative Development Center

Wants to talk to students about: strategic planning, co-op education, co-op development, 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.


Benjamin Cutler, Montavilla Food Co-op Start-up and Organically Grown Company

Wants to talk to students about: Worker Co-ops, Food co-op startup efforts, Buying clubs, Board of Directors, Member Recruitment.

Ben grew up in Portland and attended school in Madison, Wisconsin, where he first learned about co-ops, and later in Eugene, OR where he helped operate the student housing coops and a fresh juice worker co-op. Ben's work with co-ops is entirely hands on experience developed while living in or working for cooperatives. He has served on several Board of Directors, including the NASCO Board. He is currently spearheading the outreach & volunteer effort and member equity drive for the nascent Montavilla Food Co-op in East Portland. For the past 5 years he has worked at Organically Grown Company, the northwest's premiere organic produce distributor, as an Account Representative.