The Cooperative Council of North Carolina (CCNC) combined fun, education and insight into the future in its annual meeting held March 9-10 in Winston-Salem. With the theme Taking Charge of Change, the CCNC took a keen interest in millennials and how co-ops can be the business of choice for this generation.
“This is a small organization with a lot of potential,” said Dan Schline, who was introduced as chairman of the board during the event. Schline noted that while co-ops in North Carolina may look a lot different and be engaged in many different activities, “we share that common business model and that common focus.”
Following a welcoming reception the cooperators took a short walk to the Triad Buying Co-op for a tour of its facility. Created many years ago to help local neighbors find local sources of healthy food, TBC today holds a laser focus on sustainable practices that benefit local producers.
The meeting also heard from emerging leaders in the cooperative movement. A millennial panel of cooperators shared how they use technology, access information and make choices as consumers.
Mo Kessler & Casey Thomas, two younger directors of Greensboro’s Renaissance Community Co-op, shared the story of how the push to organize the cooperative emerged from a committed group of local citizens who were actively involved in some high profile political battles in the Gate City. Kessler & Thomas related that fighting and winning those political battles that were of importance to the neighborhood led them to tackle a pressing human issue – food insecurity – that is a daily battle in the Northeast Greensboro food desert.
Outgoing Chairman Kyle Randleman noted that the past year has seen significant change at the CCNC. The Council’s board committed to a new strategic vision of educating, connecting and promoting the cooperative movement in North Carolina. The CCNC also welcomed Emily Nail as its new executive director at the end of 2015.
The Annual Meeting marked the unveiling of this new direction for the Council, and from all signs, the Council is well-positioned to move forcefully into the future.