BOD: The CCMA Conference 2008

The Consumer Cooperative Management Association (CCMA) holds an annual conference each year, attended by food co-ops from across the country.  The gathering features workshops, displays, board training, human resources panels, special interest roundtables, forums, and local tours. CCMA 2008 took place in Portland, Oregon on June 12-14, with local host People's Food Co-op.
CCMA was a great experience this year! Two of us from the BCS board, Mary Beth Haas (treasurer) and Donna Stroup (president), attended CCMA, along with seven Bloomingfoods staff members. Together, we covered nearly every session in seven tracks.
For the most part, we attended different sessions, to maximize our exposure to the various topics, ideas, and other co-op board and staff members present. Our sessions included a variety of topics, ranging from the benefits of local produce and food production, to member linkage, patronage rebates, and tools for the board. Several sessions were panel discussions, so we were able to hear from many successful co-ops about what works and what doesn't. We will be exploring much of what we learned in upcoming board and committee meetings.
It was especially exciting to see eleven new co-ops recognized, including our neighbor, Lost River Community Co-op, in Paoli, Indiana (Orange County). All began operations within the last year, with the support of the Food Co-op 500 program, a support system that seeks to enable a faster and more efficient start-up process to develop new retail grocery co-ops.
Portland provided a beautiful site for the conference and a dinner cruise on the Columbia River toward Mount Hood was a perfect conclusion to two busy days of classes.
by - Mary Beth Haas & Donna Stroup