Call for Proposals

CCMA 2020 will take place June 4-6, 2020 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives seeks proposals for breakout sessions for CCMA 2020 through Friday, February 7, 2020. Please read this document carefully before submitting your proposal.

2020 THEME: Rooted in Community: Embracing our Diverse Identities

The CCMA 2020 theme, Rooted in Community: Embracing our Diverse Identities, pays homage to the vast prairie that blankets South Dakota. The rolling landscape of tall grasses and wildflowers harbors a rich diversity of plants, animals, and pollinators. The swaying grasses are just the tip of the iceberg. Hidden underground, the massive root systems of prairie plants extend deeper into the soil than the stems that rise above. These root systems store nutrients, build and anchor fertile soils, resist drought, and filter water. Titans of resilience, prairies have adapted over time, surviving droughts, fires, and intensive grazing. These periods of turbulence play an important role in triggering regeneration.

The grocery cooperative community is in a period of turmoil with increased competition, and market disruptions, and pressure to better reflect and serve our communities. Let us use this time as an opportunity to both reflect and regenerate. As cooperatives, our resilience lies in our deep, interconnected roots, and how we embrace our diverse identities. Only by leveraging both will we thrive.


CCMA is an annual three-day gathering of 350-400 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:

CCMA 2020 will feature six tracks:

Track 1: Growing Resilient Boards – building a healthy board culture, board development and succession, strategic planning, board self-evaluation, policy governance, board communication strategies, developing effective board-management relationships, board financial literacy and monitoring, etc.

Track 2: Strategies to Compete – trends in the competitive retail market, strategic partnerships, investment and finance strategies for growth, expansion best practices, tools for driving sustainable growth, sustainability, leveraging technology to improve your co-op, etc.

Track 3: Cultivating a Welcoming Workplace – improving internal communication, living wage, attracting and retaining staff, developing future leadership, open book management, effective meetings for departments, building a strong workplace culture, etc.

Track 4: Embracing our Diverse Identities– 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, intersectionality, welcoming diverse populations related to, but not limited to age, class, disabilities, gender, gender identification, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, etc.

Track 5: The Seeds of Grocery Greatness– pricing strategies, operational excellence, product mix, e-commerce, achieving operational efficiencies, category management, food safety, etc.

Track 6: Shoppers: The Taproot of the Co-op– improving the 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.


NEW! All proposals for CCMA 2020 must be submitted online here. Proposals are due by 11:59 pm CT on Friday, February 7, 2020.

Session Proposal Guidelines:

  1. Session title and description (300-500 words)
  2. Target audience (board members, co-op staff, managers, etc.)
  3. Session format (e.g., lecture, panel, interactive workshop)
  4. Three active learning outcomes that the attendee can expect to take away from the presentation and apply to their co-op or job/role
  5. Describe how your session will address diversity regard race, class, gender, or other communities.
  6. Name, title, organization, email, phone number, and mailing address for all presenters
  7. 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.


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 must address relevant diversity and inclusion activities related to their topic. 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 after March 17, 2020.

Other Information

Participation as a presenter in CCMA 2020 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 10, 2020: Call for Proposals opens.
  • February 7, 2020: Call for Proposals closes.
  • March 17, 2020: UWCC staff will notify all applicants of their application status via email.


Please contact Jack Kear, University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives, at or 608-265-4577.

We look forward to receiving your proposal.

Download the Call for Proposals

Online Submission