Board of Directors

The Board of Directors is composed of nine volunteer members who collectively support the Co-op in developing its vision and realizing its mandate. Directors meet at least once a month. Currently, one Board member is elected by the Co-op staff, and other Directors are elected by Co-op members at the Annual General Meeting. Directors are elected for a 2-year term. For more information about becoming a member of the Board, to receive Board meeting minutes, or to learn about other volunteer opportunities with the Co-op, please email


Current East End Food Co-op Directors:

  • Graham Anderson (President)
  • Bill Bargeman (Vice-President)
  • Brian Egan
  • Michael Price (Staff Representative)
  • Marie Dickens
  • Heather Forbes
  • Dragana Panic
  • Amy Fell


Graham Anderson – President

Graham is a social entrepreneur with a passion for the community resilience and the co-operative movement. Graham is a founding member of Shift Delivery Co-op, a innovative worker co-op replacing truck trips in the downtown core with heavy-duty cargo trikes. Through this social enterprise he has gained experience with business planning, member engagement, and financial management. This is Graham’s second term on the board; he is also a past director of the Grandview-Woodland Area Council and HUB (formerly the Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition).

Bill Bargeman – Vice President

Bill is a retired teacher and local teacher union president.  He lives in the ‘hood, shops by bike, and has been a member of the East End Food Co-op for over 25 years. He joined the Board in 2009.

Brian Egan

Brian is a researcher, writer, educator, and project manager specializing in land, resource, and Aboriginal issues. He has a lifelong passion for environmental and social justice issues, and sees cooperatives as a great model for achieving equity, sustainability, and democratic governance. Brian joined the East End Food Co-op Board in late 2011 and served as secretary between 2012 and 2013.

Michael Price – Staff Representative

Michael has been an employee of the Co-op for several years and has had a long career in retail. He is particularly interested in the development and applications of quality customer service. As an extension of this, he is also interested in the direct social impact of the Co-op on the local community of Commercial Drive. 

Marie Dickens

Marie is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA, CA) with over 20 years of financial, human resources, information systems and facility experience in the private sector, including 12 years in a community based organization. She started her career with KPMG in Metro Vancouver and Chicago, obtained her designation as a Chartered Accountant and then joined the Vancouver Aquarium eventually becoming the Sr. VP Finance and Operations. After leaving the Aquarium, she worked in private industry providing expertise in financial management, human resources and information systems as a Sr. Financial Professional.

Heather Forbes

heather on saturnaHeather works in communications and fundraising at First United Church in the Downtown Eastside. She is passionate about equitable access to good food. Heather has served on the boards of the Vancouver Public Space Network and the Vancouver Fruit Tree Project Society, and has worked recently with Vancouver Native Housing, Aboriginal Affairs, and HELP-Sierra Leone. Through her professional and volunteer pursuits, she has developed strong aptitudes in strategic planning, branding and partnership development.

Dragana Panic

Dragana PanicDragana brings 10+ years of experience with financial cooperatives, and currently works at Vancity Credit Union as a Fraud Investigator. She has passion for cooperatives and sustainable business practices and believes that through support of local businesses, citizens help their communities thrive. When not working or spreading her seeds of cooperative knowledge you can find Dragana on the ski hills or out camping in the province’s beautiful wilderness.


Amy Fell

Amy FellAmy is a resident of East Vancouver and past President of the BCIT Faculty and Staff Association. She has 10 years of board experience leading an Association and certified trade union. Following completion of her final term, Amy pursued a MA in Leadership focusing on employee engagement and organizational change. With a background in organizational development her studies enabled her to reflect on her years of professional experience to gain renewed insight into all elements of leadership.

Gus Abato – General Manager

Gus AbatoGus was born of an Italian immigrant family in New Jersey and majored in psychology at Rutgers University. While working as an insurance underwriter in Washington, D.C., he began practicing meditation and became a member of the local Buddhist community, which continues to be important to him today. After moving with his family to Halifax, Nova Scotia, Gus founded Nova Scotia’s first and only Italian foods market. Growing it from scratch, he added a full service deli, a bakery and eventually full kitchen and dining room. Over ten years of steady growth, Gus expanded the store to a second location and moved the original location to a facility with twice the square footage and staff. Over 50% of the store’s sales were from locally made products. Leaving behind what had become the largest specialty foods Italian store in the Maritimes, in 2011 Gus decided to sell his business in order to join his two sons in Vancouver, BC. He is excited to make the city his permanent home. As the General Manager of the East End Food Co-op, Gus is dedicated to improving operations in all key areas of the Co-op for the benefit of its members, customers and staff, along with the broader community.

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