2018 Board Elections

The Board of Directors plays a vital role in overseeing the mission, vision and overall vitality of the Portland Food Co-op. We need an active and involved Board to be a successful co-op, and are thankful that these seven Member-Owners have offered their time and talent to that end. This year’s candidates, in alphabetical order by first name are:

To read more about our newly elected Board members, scroll below or click on any of the Board candidate names above.

Voting begins at our Annual Celebration on Thursday, April 26th at the Portland House of Music and Events, where we will have an elections table. It will continue through 5 pm on Thursday, May 10th, either online or in the store. We will have an elections table at the front of the store.  We will also have an online voting option on our website.  All Member-Owners who have provided us with current email addresses will receive an email with a direct link to the voting page. It will also be available to anyone who visits this page.

Voting is open to all Co-op Member-Owners who joined on or before April 2, 2018 and whose equity payments were current as of  March 2, 2018. Voters must also have shopped at the Co-op at least once in the last year (April 2, 2017 – April 2, 2018).

Please email board@portlandfood.coop if you have any questions.

Chip Kaufmann

My experience in management comes from the founding in Portland of my non-profit performing arts organization The Longfellow Chorus, with its eleven years of innovative programs and seven years of the popular annual “Longfellow February Frostbite Road Race” on Congress Street. I’ve lived in Portland since 2001, having raised my family in Biddeford during the 1990s. I value the fact that Maine has been my “home base” since 1975, when my parents moved to a farm near Sanford, complete with sheep, cattle, pigs, poultry and hayfields. But I also value the years spent away. In the mid-1980s, as a professional bassoonist, I lived in Bergen, Norway, as a member of the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra. My oldest son, Nick, who now lives in Portland, was born in Norway. I’ve been shopping in food co-ops or natural food stores since about 1980, when I was a graduate student living in Connecticut. Back then, $20 bought a week’s worth of groceries in the now-defunct New Haven Food Co-Op, a place that had the radical mission—the Zeitgeist of the 1970s—of experimenting with “new models of participatory democracy.” That cooperative idealism of the old New Haven Food Co-Op did not survive bankruptcy, and this is the risk we face when we dare to be innovative. What’s exciting to me about the Portland Food Co-op is that, nearly forty years later, I can still purchase food in a place where “new models of participatory democracy” is still the goal. Gone is the working member. New is the fellow investor. A journalist once wrote, “She who can, dares; she who dares, can.” My goal as a member of the board of Portland Food Co-op will be to help transform reflection into action and turn idealism into practicalism.


Mary Harkins Becker

Hi fellow coop member owners! My name is Mary Becker, and I am interested in joining your coop’s board of directors. I have been a part of food coops since high school, and now that I have the time to serve, I am happy to do so. Why am I applying? The Portland Coop is a special place: A community center, a local market place, a cultural exchange. It is also a means of keeping our money and politics local and a means of minimizing our carbon foot prints. It is an inclusive community welcoming all, and the only place in Portland you can access locally sourced food knowing that those who grew it and sold it were treated and paid fairly. Most important to many consumers is the trust that the prices charged are fair and reasonable.

Coops are unique in their governance and require careful stewardship to survive and thrive. I am grateful to the many volunteers whose work brought the Coop to this flourishing storefront. All of us, but especially the board, have a role in keeping it now strong, healthy and able to grow.

Where can we go from here? Thru my working in healthcare, I am aware daily of the importance of eating whole foods for health and wellness. Access to whole foods for all people is my goal. Now that the Coop has some financial stability and wonderful space, I curious and eager to see us get creative with community outreach and education.

Thank you for considering me. I look forward to hearing all of your ideas and suggestions!


Mary Malia

As a long-time citizen of Maine and the Portland area, stepping into the role of Board Member for the Portland Food Co-op is of great interest to me. My roles in leading 3 different nonprofits over the last 12 years, at both a national and local level, give me a confidence that my participation on this board, would offer me an opportunity to bring wisdom and experience to the board in supporting and fulfilling its responsibilities in ensuring the organization continues to grow in its ability to meet the needs of members and increase its effectiveness within the community.

My experience includes working with a board consensus decision making model, strategic planning experience both as an ED and as a consultant , leadership development, employee engagement, grant writing and management, community relationship building, board recruitment and training, budget development, event planning, financial reporting and compliance.

I’ve sat on two boards and know first-hand that the commitment of board members is critical to a well-run organization and to the well-being of the executive director/general manager and staff.

I love the Portland Food Coop and what it does in this community. I believe in the co-op model for food access and distribution. As a vegan, the PFC is one of my go-to destinations for the kind of food I want to put in my body. Local, organic and grown and created with love. I’m always telling friends about the co-op.

Lastly, after living in Colorado for the last 3 years running a small community based nonprofit and now being back in Maine as my retirement years approach, I want to use my experience to engage with our local community and enjoy the work of creating partnerships that enrich PFC and the community at large.

I look forward to the opportunity to learn more about serving on this board.

Thank you for your consideration.


Megan Banner Sutherland

Since being a Member-Owner and employee of the Portland Food Co-op since our doors opened on Congress Street, it has been incredible to see the transition from starting as a buying club to now being a community market. I find my work as the Grocery Manager very rewarding. On a daily basis I collaborate with local producers to bring in food that speaks to our mission of growing a healthier community and food system. I also get to hear from customers and Member-Owners about their concerns and aspirations of our store and the surrounding community. At the Co-op we strive to create an inclusive environment where people feel welcomed and invited to engage in dialogues about where their food comes from and how we decide what goes on our shelves. I’m running for the board because I feel able to represent the diverse needs and interests of our Member-Owners, employees, and local food producers. As a board member I will work hard to ensure the success of the Co-op while keeping in mind the larger environmental, social, and political contexts in which we operate. I look forward to furthering our vision and strengthening our plans for the future at the Co-op and in the community.

(While Megan Banner Sutherland is a staff member of the Co-op, she is also a Member-Owner.  She is running for this Board seat as a Member-Owner and will represent all Member-Owners of the Co-op just as all other candidates.)


Nolan Stewart

Food brings us together, and the Co-op is a marketplace where we as a community can make decisions regarding what we eat, where it comes from and how it gets there. By coming together as a cooperative we are making a difference to our community’s physical, cultural, and environmental health and future.

I first came to Portland to attend Maine College of Art, now I’m raising a family here and I’ve fallen in love with all that our city has to offer. It would give me great joy to give back to our community. As a potential board member of the Portland Food Co-Op I can offer my skills and experience as a small business owner, retail manager and as a person with a great passion.








Sarah Alexander

My experience advocating for sustainable, local and fair food systems goes back more than fifteen years. A native of Ohio, I attended Northwestern University, then moved to the White Earth Indian Reservation in northern Minnesota, where I spent 3 years helping to restore traditional food systems and stop the genetic engineering of wild rice. I then headed to Columbus, Ohio and helped to grow the urban agriculture program at the American Community Garden Association. From there I went to Washington, DC and spent nearly ten years as the National Deputy Organizing Director at Food & Water Watch. I was fortunate to be able to move to Portland in 2015 and now work as a senior strategist coaching progressive nonprofits.

I understand the hard work that goes into producing healthy food, and how important it is that the Co-op is a place where farmers can get a fair price for the food they produce. Our Co-op also helps keep our money local by supporting Maine producers who provide our community with food that is good for us and our environment. The experience I’ve gained working in diverse communities mobilizing people towards common goals will inform how I work with my fellow member-owners to help direct the growth and evolution of the Portland Food Co-op.

I would be honored to have the opportunity to put what I’ve learned organizing for sustainable, local and fair food systems to good use as we work towards our collective vision for a thriving Co-op.


Steve Papaccio

I am interested in applying to be on the Board of the Portland Food Co-op and believe my experience and passion for the Co-op make me a good candidate for helping the PFC achieve its mission.

Professionally, my background is in data technologies and analytics and I am currently pursuing an MBA. I’ve worked with a variety of organizations, including small companies, multinational corporations, government departments, and non-profits. I’ve worked to understand the needs and wishes of consumers, communicated those desires to management, and worked with leaders to find solutions that meet those needs. I enjoy learning about different organizations, discovering what makes them work, and finding ways to help them meet their goals. We are never done learning and I regularly pursue new opportunities that will expand my knowledge. I will use these skills and leverage my experience to represent PFC member-owners.

Personally, I grew up in a family that grew many of our own vegetables, supplementing them from the local farm-stand when possible. The availability of fresh produce has always been important to me. I believe fresh food tastes better. I believe that supporting local farmers and artisans leads to healthier economies and more sustainable food systems. I believe a member-owned nonprofit cooperative can provide employment opportunities that are meaningful and rewarding. And I believe that it’s the social responsibility of organizations to give back to their communities. I’m proud to be a member-owner of the PFC, an organization that delivers on each of these beliefs, and I am eager to do what I can to help the Co-op continue to strengthen as a sustainable mainstay of the Portland economy.