Springing Forward

1. A Word from the General Manager
From New GM, Gary Taylor
2. Good to Know: Announcements & answers
March 1: Last call for artists
March 2: CSA Fair in mall hallway
March 2: Pop-Up $6 Dinner
March 8-11: Owner Days
March Features in the Deli
3. Why Co-op?
Bacon Cheeseburgers, Parking Lots and Flooded Basements
by John McNally, Co-op Cook & Local Producer
4. Know Your Farmer
Sola Gratia Farm & The Local Food Movement
5. Round Up For Good
February Results
March: Prairie Rivers Network
6. In the Media
WILL Covers Art Gallery Mural by Danville Inmates
ci Living Hosts Sarah Buckman & Triple S' Stan Schutte
News Gazette: Lincoln Square Mall Urbana's Priority
Civil Eats: Food Co-ops in the New Retail Reality
7. From Your Board
On the Board's Current Activities
by Keith McKenney
8. Keepin' it Class-y
Upcoming Classes & Events
A Message from our New GM, Gary Taylor

Dear Owners and Friends of Common Ground Food Co-op,

I cannot begin to describe the excitement I am feeling after my first few days at Common Ground! I have never before met so many people as committed to their beliefs as the ones I have met in the last two weeks. Thank you everyone, who has welcomed me with open arms and have been so willing to share their thoughts about the co-op, the food movement, and the future of both!

I was raised in the small farming community of St. Joseph, Illinois and worked for 3 area farmers from the age of 12 to 18, mostly walking beans and baling hay.  I started working in retail grocery after high school and have remained in the business ever since.  For me, working in grocery stores started out as a way to earn money while getting my degree in management at Illinois State University but I soon realized I had a passion for food and have never felt any desire to do anything else! I grew up in this area, have lived most of my life here, and I wish to not just show my support for the local economy, but also do all I can to help it thrive. A community is made stronger when its local businesses are supported by all who live in the surrounding area and we must endeavor to send the message to our residents that shopping local first is critical to the long term growth of the greater Urbana-Champaign region.  

I invite all owners, customers, and local vendors to drop by the Co-op so I can meet you and hear what you have to say. While I will make myself as available as possible on a daily basis, I have completely cleared my schedule on Saturday, March 10, during Owner Days, to devote to you! Please drop by and ask for me. I can't wait to meet you!

Thank you for all you do!

March 1: Last day to apply as an artist
Apply online or in person

March 2: Community Supported Agriculture Fair
Ten local producers will be in the mall hallway to talk about their CSA shares

March 2: Corned Beef & Cabbage Pop-Up Dinner
$6 plates of the traditional St. Patrick's Day recipe

Owner Appreciation Days: March 8 - 11
Check out the local producers coming in & click to see the Facebook event

Our new General Manager, Gary, has cleared his schedule to talk with YOU on Saturday, March 10 - feel free to ask for him while you're in the store!

Owners save 10% on one purchase during Owner Days, 
excluding sales, Co-op Basi¬Ęs, & alcohol.
March Features in the Deli

Local beef used  for your TRADITIONAL Reuben, 
served with our house-made 
Thousand Island dressing.

YES, we are still serving our Common Ground Seitan Reuben too!

House-made syrup and whipped cream in a delicious latte version of the popular drink.

Don't forget to take advantage of Mocha Mondays ($2 for a 12 oz & $3 for a 16 oz) and our new sandwich punch cards  (get your 11th sandwich free)!

Check out the  Deli Menu  for our full offerings, and don't forget you can call in your order at 217-239-4525.
Bacon Cheeseburgers, Parking Lots and Flooded Basements
by John McNally, Co-op Cook & Local Producer

The flooding that we recently experienced was made much worse by the corn and soy fields that surround our town. I must first remind you that those corn and soy fields primarily exist to feed the animals in feedlots and other CAFOs (concentrated animal feed operations). According to the USDA, more than 95% of the corn produced in the United States is used for animal feed. My strong moral objections to CAFOs is a topic for another newsletter. 

Read the whole article here...
Sola Gratia Farm
Local food in Champaign-Urbana

In the linked video, Traci from Sola Gratia Farm discusses the farm's work and the local food system in Champaign-Urbana. 

We agree, Traci - we truly live in a special place!

We are pleased to work with  Sola Gratia . As a local producer, they have donated over  one-third  of their produce (50,000 pounds!) to East Central IL food banks and hunger abatement programs.

You can find Sola Gratia and nine other local producers at the CSA Fair, March 2nd from 5 to 7:30 pm in the mall hallway behind the co-op.
March Round Up For Good: Prairie Rivers Network

This March, we are featuring Prairie Rivers Network as our Round Up For Good recipient. Prairie Rivers Network "champions clean, healthy rivers and lakes and safe drinking water to benefit the people and wildlife of Illinois. Drawing upon sound science and working cooperatively with others we advocate public policies and cultural values that sustain the ecological health and biological diversity of water resources and aquatic ecosystems."

Recently since January 31st, PRN and Earthjustice are suing Dynegy for their coal ash pits polluting the Middle Fork of the Vermillion River. Read more here.
February Results: Education Justice Project

Together, we raised over $4,100 for the Education Justice Project in March! Not bad for the shortest month of the year. That brings our total community donation to over $189,000 since we began Rounding Up in 2012.
WILL Covers Co-op Art Gallery Featuring Inmates' Mural
Common Ground partnered with Education Justice Project for the installation

"Like the local artists the co-op regularly features in its combination gallery, dining space and classroom, [Outreach Coordinator Sarah] Buckman says the artist inmates at Danville Correctional Center are also a part of the Urbana community.  "This has just been another way that we can extend this program to people who really need their voices to be heard."'

Read the whole article here...
ci Living Hosts Sarah Buckman & Triple S' Stan Schutte
The two previewed our Corned Beef & Cabbage Pop-Up and the CSA Fair

Watch the video here.

Get a traditional St. Patrick's Day plate for $6 at our Corned Beef & Cabbage Pop-Up on Friday, March 2 from 5:30 to 7 pm.

While you're there, you can find Stan from Triple S and nine other local producers at the  CSA Fair (5 to 7:30 pm) and learn about Community Supported Agriculture at our local farms in 2018.
News Gazette: Lincoln Square Mall Urbana's #1 Priority 
The Co-op's home will be a focus for the city through 2021

Read the article here.

Planners from the City of Urbana will be tabling at the CSA Fair on March 2nd to solicit input on the future of the mall.
Civil Eats: Can Food Co-ops Survive the New Retail Reality? 
Common Ground is confident and determined!

Read the article here.
Hear from Keith McKenney, Board Member

Happy March, y'all!

As a former staff member, I feel acutely aware of the lack of a certain clarity around the role of Common Ground's Board of Directors. As such, I am particularly interested in making our Board's work more visible. To that end, in this month's dispatch I'll focus on reporting some of our committees' current efforts.

The next board meeting is: Monday, March 12 from 6:15-8:15 pm, Urbana Civic Center
Spring is almost upon us! Check out all our new seasonal classes & events, along with some co-op favorites.

Register online via the links below, or sign up in person with our staff at the registers. Unless otherwise indicated, all classes and events are located in the Flatlander Classroom at Common Ground, 300 S. Broadway in the Lincoln Square Shopping Center. 
Thursday, March 1; 4-5
*This class is full*
This monthly cooking class is for kids in grades 3-5. We learn how to read recipes, use kitchen tools safely, and prepare new foods. Due to the high demand of Team Artichokes, we have a second session! See below for details.
Friday, February 1; 6-7:30
$10 owners; $15 non-owners
Dream of hosting the perfect dinner party? Lola's got the class to get you started. She'll share three tasty snack and appetizer recipes you can easily make for your next get together. On the menu: guacamole and mint spritzer (non-alcoholic); melon and chia seed bowl with coconut water; and chickpea dip from scratch with veggie sticks and a sour beer (Bring your ID for a taste!). Join us for a fun and relaxed dinner party-style class. 

Friday, March 2; 5-7:30
Common Ground is hosting the annual CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) Fair with The Land Connection and the City of Urbana. Join us in the mall hallway to support your favorite local farmers! Co+op Explorers will have kids activities while parents enjoy the fair. 

In the co-op, we'll be offering a pop-up Corned Beef & Cabbage dinner sourced locally for only $6.  Pre-order your meal for a $1 discount!

Saturday, March 3; 11-1
$10 owners; $15 non-owners
Our latest Pakistani Cuisine class will highlight an authentic vegetarian dish made primarily of rice and lentils with savory spices. Come hungry! We'll provide a full sized lunch, complete with dessert.

Saturday, March 3; 1:30-3:30
$10 owners; $15 non-owners
Our first henna class was a hit! Sultana is back to teach another session of Henna 101 for those who were unable to attend--or for those who want more practice! Sign up to learn the basics in design and application of this beautiful tradition.

Tuesday, March 6; 4-5
FREE; registration required
Team Tomatillos is a monthly cooking class for first and second graders. In this hour long class, we learn how to read recipes, use kitchen utensils safely, and make delicious snacks!

Thursday, March 8; 4-5
FREE; registration required
This is the second session of Team Artichokes, a monthly kids cooking class for third, fourth, and fifth graders. In this hour long class, we learn how to read recipes, use kitchen utensils safely, and make delicious snacks! Children must be registered in order to attend.

Saturday, March 10; 3-4:30
$5 owners & non-owners
Eastern Illinois University professor and nutritional spokesperson, Jim Painter, PhD, will be leading a discussion on foods to enhance your heart health and reduce the risk of developing heart disease. Sign up to learn more about his research and theories on this topic.

Sunday, March 11; 1-3:30
$20 donation with registration
U of I student, Cara, is leading another bread baking fundraiser. All proceeds will be donated to a Hurricane Maria relief organization, and class participants receive hands-on experience baking bread from scratch. Additional donations are not expected but incredibly appreciated.

Thursday, March 15; 6-7
$5 owners; $10 non-owners
Sitting doesn't have to be uncomfortable! This class is all about the practice of ergonomics, which focuses on efficiency and safety, resulting in comfort and improved wellness. By learning to make slight ergonomic adjustments, matched to your individual needs, you can make sitting more comfortable and supportive. We'll discuss problem-solving for couches to office chairs, and everything in between. 

S aturday, March 17; 11-1
Free! No registration
It's time to start planning your garden! Stop by the mall hallway for a seed swap! Bring some seeds to share with others and pick up some new ones for yourself. We'll also have a tips and tricks on successful seed starting and transplanting. No need to register! This event is casual and flexible. Come and go as you please!
Saturday, March 17; 3-4:15
$10 owners; $15 non-owners
Long time kombucha brewer, Holly of Delight Flower Farm will lead a class on home brewing with local flowers. Join us to learn about the health benefits of kombucha, gain experience on making your own, and sample her own supply of kombucha with flowers!

Thursday, March 22; 6-7:30
$7 owners; $12 non-owners
Spring is just around the corner! Liz from Talk Wild Herbs and Delight Flower Farm will lead an introduction to nutritious and safe wild plants. As a prelude to her spring plant walk (hosted at Delight Flower Farm), she'll cover the basics of foraging and how to process these plants to aid in the body's transition from winter to spring.

Saturday, March 24; 3-5
$10 owners; $15 non-owners
This month, our famous Thai Cooking class will follow an authentic recipe for the popular dish, Pad Thai. It may be different than the common Americanized adaptation, but it'll be twice as delicious! Chicken Pad Thai and a vegetarian option will both be offered.

Saturday, March 31; 2-3:30
$10 owners; $15 non-owners
In this make-and-take class, Grounds for Growth, a student-run business, will teach you the process to make a homemade, coffee scrub with materials found in your kitchen.  Grounds for Growth partners with Urban Restoration Ministries to produce a line of coffee soap and body scrub made entirely of recycled materials. Sign up to learn more about this transformative community organization and leave with your own exfoliating scrub!

For details on our classes, check  the calendar.
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Thanks for reading!

Common Ground Food Cooperative | 217-352-3347 |  www.commonground.coop  | 
300 S. Broadway Avenue Suite #166, Urbana, IL 61801

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