CCMA 2017 will be held June 8 – 10, 2017 in Minneapolis, Minnesota at the Radisson Blu. The conference is co-hosted by the University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives and the Twin Cities area food cooperatives as local hosts.
The theme of this year’s conference is “Our North Star: Cooperate to Differentiate."
This year’s CCMA theme is inspired by Minnesota’s state motto “L’etoile du Nord” or Star of the North. Throughout history, the North Star has been a symbol of guidance, dependability and reassurance. Just as the North Star is the brightest and the point around which the entire northern sky turns, food cooperatives rely on the principles of cooperation for guidance in an ever-changing, and often troubling, world.
As food cooperatives are challenged by increased market competition, shrinking margins and rising costs, we are challenged to demonstrate our commitment to the values that differentiate us. As cooperatives we are committed to building vibrant, inclusive communities and a healthier planet.
In U.S. history, the North Star was an important symbol for the pathway to freedom for African-American slaves. The popular song, “Follow the Drinking Gourd” was actually a code of directions for traveling north, using the “drinking gourd”, or Big Dipper, a constellation that points to the North Star.
In 1847, Frederick Douglass, an abolitionist, former slave, and social reformer established the anti-slavery paper, The North Star. Douglass was a passionate believer in the equality of all peoples, and supported alliances across racial and ideological divides. Guided by our own North Star, food cooperatives can navigate through these challenging times and create opportunities for environmental, social, racial, and cultural justice.
The future of food cooperatives depends on differentiating ourselves. CCMA 2017 challenges you to follow Our North Star.