University of Wisconsin–Madison


Do you know someone in the food co-op community or a food co-op that deserves an award?

Here is your opportunity to recognize them!

Cooperative Development Foundation and the Bowers Fund manage the awards for cooperative excellence that are presented at CCMA. These awards, which recognize excellence and outstanding achievement, are Cooperative Excellence (also known as Retailer of the Year), Cooperative Service, Cooperative Innovation and Achievement, and Cooperative Board Service. This is the food co-op’s opportunity to honor colleagues and cooperatives for their achievements and accomplishments. Nominations are made by the food co-op community. If you know of a food co-op or someone in the food co-op community who deserves an award, please nominate them!


Cooperative Excellence

This award is also known as the Retailer of the Year. It goes to the co-op that demonstrates high achievement in the following areas:

  • Leadership – This co-ops board and management set realistic priorities and follow through on them. This co-op addresses its responsibilities to the public and practices good citizenship. It also practices business ethics and works to protect public health, safety and the environment.
  • Strategic Planning – The co-op’s board and management set strategic directions to focus on future sustainable growth and market leadership
  • Organizational Effectiveness – This co-op values learning at all levels and looks for opportunities to effect significant change and to do better. The co-op has the capacity for rapid change and flexibility and innovation is part of the co-op’s culture. The co-op strives for success in design, management, and improvement of key production/delivery and support processes
  • Human Resources – This co-op establishes a climate of customer/member-driven excellence, enables its workforce to develop its full potential and makes member education a priority
  • Business Results – This co-op shows success in its key business areas while staying true to its mission.

Cooperative Service

This award is given to an individual who has made outstanding contributions above and beyond normal course of work. This person’s accomplishments are consistently viewed as models by other cooperators and has made a profound difference in store operations and member services. This cooperator is not afraid to take risks to achieve positive change and is a champion of the cooperative principles. In addition, recipients of this award motivate employees and colleagues and are regarded as a mentors, innovators, and leaders. Their accomplishments have not only enhanced the stature, reputation, and overall strength of the cooperative community, but the significant changes they have instituted have allowed the cooperative to better achieve its goals.

Cooperative Innovation & Achievement

This award is given to cooperative innovators who have changed the way that cooperatives approach problems. This can be an individual, a group, or a co-op. Recipients of this award understand the urgency, relevancy, and complexity of the problem or opportunity addressed by the innovation. Due to this innovation, there are measurable improvements or achievements that resonate with the cooperative principles and the cooperative’s mission.

Cooperative Board Service

This award is given to an individual on the board of a food co-op that has gone above and beyond the scope of work expected of a board member. This person has fostered democratic organization and champions the cooperative principles. This board member exhibits highest standards of excellence, dedication and accomplishment, and in doing so has pushed the co-op to meet its goals. This leader has made an extraordinary commitment of time, talent or resources in order to impact the co-op and the community it resides in.