Call for Proposals

Call for Proposals for CCMA 2019

CCMA 2019 will take place June 6-8, 2019 in Durham, North Carolina. The University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives seeks proposals for breakout sessions for CCMA 2019 through Friday, February 8, 2019. Please read this Call for Proposals carefully before submitting. We look forward to seeing your proposals!

2019 THEME: Cooperative Tapestry: Fostering Democracy and Equity in Our Communities

The CCMA 2019 theme, Cooperative Tapestry: Fostering Democracy and Equity in Our Communities, recognizes the influence of the textile industry on North Carolina’s economy and on the modern cooperative movement. How do we weave our unique cooperative values and identities into community-led solutions that help us be more relevant and successful?

Over the past 200 years, textiles have played a fundamental role in North Carolina’s economy, although sometimes with a fraught history concerning worker’s rights. Textiles were also instrumental in the founding of the modern cooperative movement. The Rochdale Pioneers, a group of weavers, codified the principles of a successful cooperative, which are the basis of the Seven Cooperative Principles. In the American South, the Freedom Quilting Bee, a handicraft cooperative born out of the Civil Rights Movement, demonstrated how collective action can address economic obstacles.

After nearly going extinct, North Carolina’s textile industry is experiencing a resurgence thanks to innovative practices, a commitment to customer service, and democratic ownership models. We have also seen renewed interest in leveraging the cooperative model to deliver quality food at fair prices and a new openness to critical conversations about equity and inclusion in the food system.

As we embark on another year of growth and discovery as a cooperative community, how can we use the threads of the cooperative tapestry to remain competitive and to foster democracy and equity in our communities? To do so effectively and with integrity, we must understand the power of the cooperative model and the competitive challenges that lie ahead. We must use our cooperative identity to differentiate ourselves in the marketplace. And we must take a deep and honest look at our culture and our past so we can learn from our historical errors and move forward as a stronger, more resilient, and more inclusive community.


CCMA is an annual three-day gathering of 350-450 food cooperative leaders, including management, staff, and board members of food cooperatives.


Each breakout session is part of a track. Breakout sessions are 90 minutes in length and can be delivered in the format of your choice: panel, lecture, or interactive workshop.


CCMA 2019 will feature six tracks:

Track 1: Strengthening the Threads of Democracy – building a healthy board culture, board development and succession, strategic planning, board self-evaluation, recruiting a new GM, Board and GM as a leadership team, board financial literacy and monitoring, etc.

Track 2: Cooperative Innovation and Growth – cross sector collaborations and strategic partnerships, investment and finance strategies for growth, expansion best practices, tools for driving sustainable growth, sustainability, leveraging data to improve your co-op, etc.

Track 3: Inspired to Lead – improving internal communication, living wage, developing the next generation of co-op leadership, employee engagement, building a strong workplace culture, etc.

Track 4: Weaving the Future Co-op Community – creating a culture of equity, committing to diverse leadership, increasing access to healthy food, addressing the impact and challenges of white privilege, dismantling racism, using community organizing tools to foster democracy, accessibility programs, welcoming diverse populations, etc.

Track 5: Be the Best Retailer – pricing strategies for a competitive marketplace, operational excellence, product mix, meal kits, private label opportunities, e-commerce, competing with online grocery, category management, food safety, etc.

Track 6: Everyone Welcome – delivering a better customer experience, engaging current and future shoppers, authentic connections with the entire local community, co-op education programs, demonstrating impact and the cooperative difference, etc.


All proposals for CCMA 2019 must be submitted via email to Megan Webster at Proposals are due by 11:59 pm CT on Friday, February 8, 2019.

Session Proposal Guidelines:

  1. Session title and description (300-500 words)
  2. Target audience (board members, co-op staff, managers, etc.)
  3. Three active learning outcomes that the attendee can expect to take away from the presentation and apply to their co-op or job/role
  4. Session format (e.g., lecture, panel, interactive workshop)
  5. Name, title, organization, email, phone number, and mailing address for all presenters
  6. If a panel, contact information for each proposed panelist

If selected, your name, photo, biography, presentation title, session description, and learning objectives will be made available on the CCMA conference website. Conference attendees will receive your presentation in PDF format via a link to Dropbox and/or be made available on the Cooperative Grocer Information Network website.


To ensure full and fair consideration, proposals will be evaluated and selected by the CCMA Planning Committee according to the following criteria: 

  • Relevance – directly addresses the conference theme and selected topic track.
  • Clarity – offers a clear description of the proposed session and learning objectives.
  • Innovation – displays innovations or originality.
  • Application – participants will be able to learn practical tools or lessons.
  • Format – co-op case studies and interactive workshops will be given preference.
  • Program balance – the conference planning committee strives to create a balanced program covering a wide range of topics with diverse presenters.

Addressing Diversity and Inclusion
CCMA is committed to providing content that supports diversity and fosters a culture of inclusion within food cooperatives.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to address relevant diversity and inclusion activities related to their topic when appropriate. Potential diversity and inclusion topics include but are not limited to race, class, and gender.

For example, a workshop focused on products could address ensuring product selection for the entire community; an HR related workshop could include appropriate interview questions; and an expansion related workshop could include store design considerations for improved physical access.

Co-op Case Studies
We encourage co-ops to share their successes, failures, and lessons learned with their peers. Technical assistance providers are encouraged to partner with co-op presenters to develop proposals.

Selection Process: The CCMA Planning Committee selects a Proposal Review Committee to review CCMA breakout session proposals. UWCC will ensure that each proposal received is reviewed by at least four members of the Proposal Review Committee.  Each reviewer will score each proposal against the criteria listed above on a 4-point scale (1 = poor, 2 = acceptable, 3 = very good, 4 = excellent). UWCC will collect all scores and take the average score of all four reviewers. Next UWCC staff will develop a draft breakout session matrix with proposed sessions for each track and identify any topics that are missing from the track. Lastly, the full CCMA planning committee will review, make suggestions, and approve the final breakout sessions for the conference. Applicants will be notified of selection decisions no later than March 15, 2019.

Other Information

Participation as a presenter in CCMA 2019 is voluntary. In recognition of a presenter’s contribution of time and effort, selected presentations will be given complimentary conference admission for up to two (2) presenters per session. If a session has more than two presenters, each presenter will receive a 50% discount on the registration fees.

Each presenter remains responsible for his or her own expenses (travel, lodging, etc.).


  • January 3, 2019: Call for proposals opens.
  • February 8, 2019: Proposals are due. All proposals must be submitted electronically.
  • March 15, 2019: UWCC will notify all applicants of their application status via email.


We have created a Google spreadsheet to be used as an informal tool to connect individuals who are seeking ideas and/or collaboration on session proposals for CCMA 2019. It is not monitored by University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives staff, or the CCMA Planning Committee and is not part of the official submission process.


Please contact Megan Webster, University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives, at or 608-890-1048.

We look forward to receiving your proposal.


Download Call for Proposals