Ben Cutler is the Vice President of the Montavilla Food Co-op Board of Directors. Growing up in Portland, good food has always been an integral part of Ben’s life. It’s not surprising to find that he now works for the region’s largest distributor of organic produce, Organically Grown Company, a grower and employee owned company. Ben lived in and worked for the student housing cooperative sector from the late 90’s and into the next decade, serving on the board of directors of the Students’ Cooperative Association in Eugene, Oregon and on the board of the North American Students’ of Cooperation (NASCO). He also was a member owner of Genesis Juice Cooperative, a former worker cooperative that produced organic, raw juices. Ben has a strong commitment to the cooperative movement, healthy foods and a vibrant community.
Locally grown, healthier food options, supporting our community in the process. These are the reasons that I joined Montavilla Food Co-op. I believe that supporting our local farmers not only helps our local community, but it helps the environment. I am fairly new to the movement within the last few years, however have been supporter of the environment and sustainability for over 15 years and this is a natural transition.
I was born and raised in Iron Mountain, Michigan–a town in that state’s remote Upper Peninsula surrounded by hilly mining country and stunning night-time quiet. As a kid I moved across the border to Wisconsin, got involved in politics, went to college in Madison, and got elected to the county board at 21. I was heavily influenced by parents and grandparents who survived the Great Depression and World War II. From them, I learned how to live according to a set of ethics I later observed to be embedded in the co-op values. In Madison, I earned a B. A. in history while serving two terms on the county board. Afterward, I settled into a fifteen year career at one of the country’s largest and oldest worker co-ops, Union Cab. In addition to spending 15 years in the romantic and dismaying lifestyle of a cabbie, Union elected me three times to it’s board, and once as president. After 21 years in Madison, I needed a change and moved here to Portland where I’m hoping to work on building co-ops.
Missy has an abiding love for organizations that put people before profits. She is a long-time member of People’s Food Co-op and spent seven years as a vendor at their farmers’ market. Through her activism in workers’ rights, police accountability, and cross-border solidarity organizations, she has gained much experience in meeting facilitation, democratic organizational structures, and the nerdy particulars of meeting process.
A resident of Portland for over twenty years, Missy is enamored with both the city and its surrounding ecosystems. She is an herbalism instructor at the Arctos School and a volunteer with Bark. She can often be found hiking in the forest, snuggling with her cats, or enjoying Montavilla’s many delicious restaurants.
Ellen has been an advocate and supporter of co-ops since her days in Madison, Wisconsin, where she lived before moving to Portland in 2007. She has seen how communities can thrive when they have access to local, affordable, healthy food sources. She also recognizes the important role co-ops can play in disseminating information about nutrition and cooking, supporting local businesses, and serving as neighborhood gathering places. Ellen has long been passionate about locally-focused sustainable farming and food distribution, environmental stewardship, and education.
Ellen’s professional background is in energy efficiency, green building, and project management. She hopes to apply her knowledge and skill in these area to the planning, site selection, design, and operation of a co-op that will be a vital community asset for many years to come.