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


Diane Gasaway, Northwest Cooperative Development Center

Wants to talk to students about: strategic planning, 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.



Cristos Papaiacovou, Olympia Food Co-op

Wants to talk to students about: policy, anti-oppression, meetings & facilitation, campus organizing, food operations

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, radical co-operative development, 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.


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.