Hnin W. Hnin, Director (pronouns: they/them, she/her)
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Hnin brings to CoFED over 12 years of experience in social justice, solidarity economy, and collective liberation work. Their approach to cooperative development is informed by the ancestors, mother earth, and a multidisciplinary analysis that forefronts race, class, and gender. They are called to heal, love, and educate for social change. They live in the "yes, and", within the questions, and in between the no longer and the not yet. Before CoFED, Hnin worked with World Learning as a human rights educator and with Slow Food USA and ROC United building power to transform the food system. They hold a BA in Political Economy, with a concentration in International Studies, from Williams College.
Hnin currently lives in Houston with their partner Sunny. They were born in Burma and raised in Brooklyn.
Dominique Pearson, Programs Coordinator, 2017 Racial Justice Fellow (pronouns: they/them)
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about our Racial Justice Fellowship + Summer Co-op Academy.
Dominique describes themselves as an ethnically eclectic queer from Compton, whose first and last love is food. But as someone who grew up food unstable, it has also been one of the largest stressors in life. They have spent their life searching for ways to live that intrinsically connect to the ways they want to eat: communal, cultural, loving and sustainable. Dominique recently graduated from Oberlin College and moved to Baltimore, Maryland to work at Red Emma's Bookstore Coffeehouse, a worker-owned cooperative. After learning and building with that community, they moved to Everyman Theatre, where they work as a Development Assistant, helping to bring relevant, accessible and incredible theatre to communities historically denied access to the art form. For the Fellowship, they conducted a 6-week urban food justice intensive, aimed specifically at queer people of color and published a zine: Radical Urban PoC Guide to Survival.
Maria Myotte, Communications Manager (pronouns: she/her)
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Maria has been working as an organizer and communications strategist in the food, worker's rights and environmental movements for several years. A Brooklyn transplant from the Colorado front-range, she has helped manage one of the largest organic community-supported agriculture programs in the country, won numerous environmental campaigns as the Staff Director for a local chapter of Clean Water Action, and helped restaurant workers' rights become part of the national conversation about food and labor through her work at ROC United. Today, she provides progressive organizations with strategic communications support to win campaigns and build power.
Maria holds a Political Science and English B.A. from Colorado State University. Her writing has appeared in Salon, TakePart, Alternet, Yahoo! and several progressive publications. She is a science and science fiction enthusiast, aspiring owner of a sprawling animal sanctuary, and enjoys comedy and independent film.
Anna Isaacs, Operations Manager (pronouns: she/her)
Email firstname.lastname@example.org about our Co-op Cultivator Course.
Anna has been working in and developing cooperatives for 8 years. She is passionate about systems that build power and enable communities to have agency over making some of the most important economic and political decisions for themselves. Her experience started as a worker-member of the student-run restaurant, The Flaming Eggplant Cafe. She also traveled to Venezuela to research and work in CECOSESOLA, a cross-sector association of 80 cooperatives that serve 55,000 families weekly. Before coming to CoFED, she worked with the Northwest Cooperative Development Center doing business and financial feasibility planning for a cooperatively-owned food processing facility.
Born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky, Anna made her way to the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington where she studied Economic Development, and has since moved to the northern Central Valley of California.
avery jackson, 2018 Racial Justice Fellow (pronouns: they/them)
avery jackson is a movement worker using community organizing, rest, research and gatherings to future build. They hold a B.A. in Sociology from Morehouse College and join the legacy of unsung Gender Non-Conforming Morehouse graduates. With a research background in anti-Black state and economic violence; avery is committed to exploring alternative systems of economy and relationship. Doing so by supporting the development of self-sustaining ventures using social enterprise with The Come Up Project's first program Gangstas to Growers. Their commitment to restorative justice, resistance and truth is intersectional and varied. They have also worked with the Partnership for Southern Equity to bridge the gap between environmental justice and racial equity. As an organizer avery is currently working to protect Black communities from Atlanta’s spike in redevelopment, cultural extraction, and erasure through food and housing cooperatives with ATLisREADY. Rural land ownership, cultivation and farming is in avery's afro-future. In short, they're just another organizer in a legacy of Black doers sacrificing their privileges for the collective future.
Jazmin Martinez, 2018 Racial Justice Fellow (pronouns: they/them)
Jazmin is a queer, gender non-conforming, immigrant living in La Villita, Chicago who comes from a lineage of Mexican campesinos. They are currently working on establishing Catatumbo Cooperative Farm along with two amazing co-creators, Ireri Unzueta Carrasco and Vivi Moreno. They are committed to creating connections between farming/cooperative work with broader social justice movements to envision and create other possible worlds.
Merelis Catalina Ortiz, 2018 Racial Justice Fellow (pronouns: she/her)
Merelis Catalina Ortiz is an Afro-Taina Dominican Black wombyn. She is a creative, organizer, chef, and worker-owner of Woke Foods, a cooperative food business based in New York City. Woke Foods is influenced by the flavors of the Dominican Republic, using food as a tool to leverage political and spiritual power. Merelis is inspired by the resiliency of Black and Brown people. She was born and raised in New York City. She saw her family with health conditions that was highly influenced by their lifestyle and environment created by a systematically oppressive society that pushed Merelis to do organizing around food and social justice. Merelis recognizes the knowledge and strength that Black and Brown people hold and hopes to be a vessel that reminds her people of this wisdom. She is working towards her own healing, and the healing and building among all people of color by guiding spaces that are accessible in nature, through food, and storytelling. She is a proud Black and Latinx Farmers Immersion alum! Merelis dreams to own land with community and grow her own food on her land.
Amanda Marple, Grad Research Affiliate (pronouns: she/her)
Amanda is a Geography Masters student at West Virginia University. Her involvement with FIRSTHAND Cooperative for the last four years sparked her interested in pursuing a Masters focusing on student cooperative development within university spaces. Her research aims to explore the ways in which student co-ops navigate the institutional context of the ‘corporate university’, how they decide to and eventually develop into cooperative businesses with various actors vying for control the of food on campus, and what they’re doing to change the ‘foodscape’ of their universities. Amanda has had the amazing opportunity to work with CoFED over the last year and is extremely excited and appreciative of the support she’s received from the team. By analysing the current landscape of student food cooperatives within a corporate university environment, she hopes her work will benefit current and future student cooperative development on campuses across the US and beyond.