On June 8-11, the Consumer Cooperative Management Association (CCMA) Conference took place in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
CCMA is the national annual conference for food cooperative directors, management, staff and sector allies. The CCMA Conference is organized by the University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives with assistance from a planning committee comprised of co-op managers and board members, representatives from cooperative associations, development organizations, financial partners and other various allies.
The theme of this year’s conference was “Rooted: Renewing Our Cooperative Identity,” which focused on how cooperatives can “use the challenges of the last two years to grow a more resilient cooperative community that is diverse, connected and thriving.”
Food co-ops have a significant and growing presence in the U.S. economy accounting for over $2 billion in sales, and outperform traditional grocery stores by many important indicators.
For example, local products make up 26 percent of an average food co-op’s sales, compared to the national average at conventional grocery stores of 1.8 percent. Food co-ops also reinvest at higher rights back into the local economy, create more jobs and offer higher salaries than the national grocery average. You can learn more about the impact of food co-ops here and in the National Co+op Grocer’s 2021 Food Co-op Impact Report.
CCMA also features annual awards that celebrates cooperative excellence. These awards and the 2022 winners include:
Crystal Halvorson (GM), Rick Remington (Board President), Menomonie Market Food Co-op (Menomonie, Wisconsin)
For coming to the aid of a sister co-op during a time of stress, for strategically approaching the long term welfare of both co-op stores at a time when small independent grocers are failing against bigger chains, for evolving to keep service to their members at the center of all they do, for the success of their merger and exciting plans for future growth.
Emily Rogers, Education Manager, Hanover Consumer Cooperative Society (Hanover, New Hampshire)
For her outstanding leadership in creating and implementing social impact programs that have generated enormous positive benefits in our community. Emily’s support of food access and sustainability has resulted in raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for local nonprofits, and has helped thousands of people. Programs are most successful when people have imaginative ideas but are also able to lead others in the implementation of those ideas. Coordinating the launch of programs across several locations with hundreds of employees and thousands of members is complex. However, Emily excels at this work. Emily can often see the outcome and the end result, even when others cannot see it with the same clarity. Her ability to see purpose and inspire others toward the outcome is motivating and instills trust.
Cooperative Board Service
Dorian Gregory, former Board President, River Valley Food Co-op (Northampton, Massachusetts)
For more than a decade, Dorian brought her perspectives from her diversity of experiences and skills along with enthusiasm for learning more about cooperative business and co-op governance in general and what made our co-op work in particular. Dorian listens deeply and thoughtfully to others, she asks good questions, and was particularly adept at elevating the conversation by contextualizing the topic for better clarity. Dorian built teamwork and collaboration on our Board.
Ahzhah Simons, former General Manager, Sevananda Natural Foods Market (Atlanta, Georgia)
For extraordinary commitment to her Coop community as well as to the general public. Ahzjah Simons is the General Manager and Cooperative Director of Sevananda Natural Food Co-op in Atlanta, one of the largest retail food cooperatives in the Southeast. She also serves as VP Board Member of the GCDC (Georgia Cooperative Development Center, a non profit dedicated to providing resources for startup cooperatives and other organizations interested in the cooperative model. In addition to serving on the GCDC Board, she serves as Treasurer of the Little 5 Alliance (a local community collaborative group working to leverage, share, and maximize local resources to achieve a variety of collective community goals), Georgia Organics, and interim Board Member appointed to the National Cooperative Grocers in 2019-2020.
Jacki Arthur, former General Manager, Three Rivers Market (Knoxville, Tennessee)
For her over 21 years of service, in which she has dedicated her education, experience, and business acumen to Three Rivers Market, resulting in a true cooperative center and strong, dependable business that creates and nourishes a healthier environment, healthier people, and a healthier community throughout East Tennessee. Her candor, compassion, community mindset, and keen sense of business direction have been pivotal to shaping Three Rivers Market into a locally cherished and nationally respected cooperative.
Oryana Community Co-op (Traverse City, Michigan), accepted by Steve Nancy, General Manager
For the co-op’s positive impact on the local community and the larger food co-op community by practicing their cooperative values. Oryana onboarded a new location and an entirely new staff amid an emerging global pandemic that resulted in ‘stay at home’ orders and rapidly changing and often confusing advice from the CDC about how to keep their staff and shopper safe from COVID-19. By living out their principles through their actions, Oryana has increased healthy food access, protected the environment, supported local business development, and strengthened the cooperative community.
The ceremony also features awards recognized by the National Co+op Grocers and the Food Co-op Initiative:
National Co+op Grocers Bill Gessner General Manager Coaching Award
Jessica Armbrust, General Manager, East Aurora Co-op Market (East Aurora, New York)
Food Co-op Initiative Startup of the Year Award
Urban Greens Co-op, accepted by John Santos, General Manager (Providence, Rhode Island)
Bill Gessner Startup of the Year Award
Detroit People’s Food Co-op (Detroit, Michigan)