Call for Proposals

Call for Proposals for CCMA 2022

CCMA 2022 will take place June 9-11, 2022, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives seeks proposals for breakout sessions for CCMA 2022 through Wednesday, February 16, 2022. Please read this document carefully before submitting your proposal.

THEME: Rooted: Renewing our cooperative identity

Today’s social, political, and ecological crises have left many of us feeling uprooted and burned out. Like the revitalization of a prairie after a fire, how can we use the challenges of the last two years to grow a more resilient cooperative community that is diverse, connected, and thriving? How can we use our cooperative identity to expand our imagination about what is possible?

Our deep cooperative roots help us survive during times of upheaval; however, we are at an inflexion point. It is time to take stock and reexamine the direction and identity of our cooperatives through the lenses of inclusivity and sustainability. CCMA 2022 will focus on strategies for building resilience and vitality through our diverse experiences and our shared cooperative identity.


CCMA is an annual three-day gathering of food cooperative leaders, including management, staff, and board members of food cooperatives. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we will be offering a limited in person event and a mini virtual conference of recorded content.


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: presentation session, teaching session, or workshop.  We use the following definitions and room set ups:

Presentation Session: Innovative, challenging, topic of interest to an audience. One to three presenters each present material related to the theme of the session. Following the presentations there are at least 15-20 minutes of Q&A. Standard room set: head table & lectern for presenters, chairs in rows for attendees.

Teaching Session: consists of one or two experts with a how-to approach to the stated subject matter. Standard room set up: chairs set at round tables for attendees.

Workshop: A workshop provides an opportunity to exchange information or work on a common problem, project, or shared interest. Presentations are brief, allowing adequate time for reflective discussion and interaction. Didactic presentations are limited, and learning by doing occupies most of the session. Standard room set up:  chairs set at round tables for attendees.


  • January 3, 2022: Call for Proposals opens.
  • February 16, 2022: Call for Proposals closes.
  • March 18, 2022: UWCC staff will notify all applicants of their application status via email.


CCMA 2022 will feature five tracks:

Track 1: The Foundations of Grocery Greatness – This track is designed for attendees who may be new to cooperatives or the retail grocery industry. Topics may include pricing strategies; operational best practices; merchandizing fundamentals; product mix; strategies for documenting systems and practices; prepared foods; etc.

Track 2: Being a Great Employer – creating equitable and sustainable jobs; attracting and retaining staff; developing a culture of equity and inclusion; improving internal communication; developing a leadership pipeline; open book management; effective meetings for departments; building a strong workplace culture; etc.

Track 3: Members: The Roots of the Co-op – improving the member experience; engaging current and future members; authentic connections with the local community; stories of mutual aid in action; co-op education programs; demonstrating impact and the cooperative difference; using community organizing tools to foster democracy; accessibility programs; welcoming diverse populations from all ages, classes, abilities, genders, religious affiliations, and sexual orientations; etc.

Track 4: Growing Resilient Boards – cultivating a healthy board culture; building a diverse and inclusive board; board development and succession strategies; the role of the board in strategic planning; board self-evaluation; policy governance; board communication strategies; developing an effective board-management relationship; financial literacy and monitoring; updating governance for a new era: processes, technology, revision of bylaws; etc.

Track 5: Strategies to Compete – trends in the competitive retail market; strategic partnerships and co-op to co-op trade; supply chain challenges; investment and finance strategies for growth; increasing access to healthy food; expansion best practices; tools for driving sustainable growth; sustainability; leveraging technology to improve your co-op; etc.

Addressing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion:
In order to survive and thrive, it is critical that food cooperatives welcome and lift up diverse voices and engage in the deep work of addressing systemic racism and oppression. Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) practices must be core to the work and identity of our cooperative community. In the past, the CCMA Planning Committee has dedicated a specific track to addressing DEI initiatives. This year we ask that all applications address relevant diversity, equity, and inclusion activities related to their proposed topic. We need to work on diversifying voices in our board rooms, removing implicit bias from our hiring practices, measuring our product procurement from Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) farmers, etc. The goal of this change in programming is to embed DEI thought and action into all CCMA breakout sessions.


All proposals for CCMA 2022 must be submitted online here. Proposals are due by 11:59 pm CT on Wednesday, February 16, 2022.

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., presentation session, teaching session, 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 (only include confirmed presenters[i]).
  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.

[i] On our application, please only include confirmed speakers or panelists. Any general positions mentioned, e.g. “co-op GM” or “co-op producer manager” will be removed before final submission to the review committee.


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.

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.

In person vs. virtual presentations

We welcome proposals for both in-person presentation, virtual-only presentations, as well as hybrid – meaning that part of the panel is in person presenting with a panelist that is presenting virtually. At least one room at the conference hotel will be set up with accommodations for virtual participants. Please indicate in the last section (If there is anything else you would like to share about your proposed CCMA 2022 breakout session, please add it here.) if members of your proposed session need to present remotely.

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 18, 2022.


Participation as a presenter in CCMA 2022 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.).


Please contact Megan Webster, UW Center for Cooperatives, at or 608-890-1048. We look forward to receiving your proposal.

Download the Call for Proposals

Online Submission