From The Ground Up
Common Ground's Monthly E-Newsletter
April 1, 2016 

We have been moving forward on our Champaign store while also planning improvements for our Urbana location. You could even say we're springing forward on Common Ground's goals!

So, what has been going on at the Co-op lately to prepare for the new store?
  • Our store designer recently visited with our staff to gather input on the design of our new store- focusing on the classroom, work areas and equipment.
  • We've finalized the amended lease for our Champaign location which removes the contingency related to the City of Champaign tax abatement, and reflects the new timeline.
  • We are beginning to work on our Prepared Foods programs for the new location.
  • Our architects and store designer have made great progress on the schematic building design drawings.
  • We have a consultant coming in early April to work with our Supervisors on getting their Standard Operating Procedures and training documents prepared for both stores.
  • We are planning for new flooring in the entrance of the Urbana store.
  • We will be installing a new cooler to house our specialty cheeses which will also enable us to put all of our grab-and-go drinks in one location
  • We will also be installing a new freezer for sale displays near the registers.
  • Also, we will be installing a new single door freezer for all of our frozen seafood-this will put all of our frozen meat in one location.
  • We are looking at some new produce display equipment.
  • We will be installing a new packaging stand in the deli to house salad containers and more.
  • We will also have a fresh, cut flower program for every season.
I can't wait for all of you to see the fruits of our labor!

-Satina Braswell, General Manager


One of the best ways to shop sustainably is to keep it local. April is one of the best times to keep it fresh. Our produce department is bursting with local leafy greens, lettuce, and herbs to make your salad sparkle, and the cheese cooler is fully stocked with all three flavors of Prairie Fruits Farm fresh chevre goat cheese. 

And nothing says spring like flowers! We're super pleased to be embarking on two partnerships with Old Town Flowers in Champaign and Delight Flower Farm! Keep an eye out for glorious seasonal bouquets as soon as you walk in the door and see the Delight CSA bouquets in our Flatlander classroom. Support your local florists and smell the floral beauty!

-Jessy Ruddell, Fresh Merchandiser 

Spring is here! Oh, what a magical time of year that brings new beginnings and new opportunities for us to keep active in our community. At home, the tulips we planted with my daughter are blooming again and we are enjoying the fact that we prop our windows and doors open to get a nice breeze.

With this fresh start, how can we translate the new growth into our Co-op? Well, one way is to stay involved with local events in town and tend to the amazing seeds that we have planted in our community.

This month we are keeping the momentum going for the second store. The Board will being working on the Financial MOO, happening April 23 at 1 p.m in the Lincoln Square Conference Center. We want to meet more of you face to face and hear from you. We also will have Coffee with the Board in the classroom from now on, with coupons and current information. The next Coffee with the Board is Saturday April 12th from 10am -12pm.

Do you need more growth and learning? Sign up for classes this April, you will enjoy a diverse selection for the spring season! Be active and enjoy this amazing time of year, and stop by to see us!

-Martha Mills, Board Member

This month we are featuring Green Pantry Nursery as our local producer. They are known for having the freshest herbs in the area. They supply CGFC with fresh herbs including basil, thyme, sage, oregano, rosemary, dill, and  mint! The couple, Amy and Steve Wenger, are the talent behind this wonderful operation. Amy and Steve have been gardening for over thirty years and have learned how to grow the highest quality herbs and how to keep them healthy all year long. In 2011, they officially started their herb business to supply restaurants in town. The Co-op Deli uses their fresh basil in our homemade pizzas and the basil is highly regarded by our crew.

Green Pantry Nursery is located about 30 miles from Common Ground between Arthur and Tuscola, IL. Steve and Amy are devoted to their business and work full-time, keeping up with plant maintenance (cutting, planting), along with packaging and delivery. They use organic methods when caring for their plants and do not use any synthetic chemicals in their products. They have a small family operation of three people and are passionate about providing the community with fresh herbs. One of the best ways to improve one's health is by eating more fresh herbs in home-cooked meals. All culinary herbs have amazing healing properties that can help aid digestion, reduce blood pressure, and soothe many physical ailments. So if you're interested in eating healthier, add more of Green Pantry Nursery's herbs to your meals throughout the week. We have included a$1 off coupon for all Green Pantry Products at the very bottom of the newsletter.

Steve and Amy Wenger are warm-hearted and extremely knowledgeable about growing herbs. They are experts on how to handle pest pressures, keep the soil well-balanced, and have tips on how to overwinter herbs! If you are interested in contacting them to learn more about their operation, you can email them at greenpantrynursery@gmail.com .

We are so proud to have them as a local producer and you can find all of their herbs in the refrigerated section in Produce.

-Sarah Buckman, Outreach Coordinator


With spring-time upon us, let's set aside space to honor what we need most- our pollinators! Consisting of bees, flies, ants, beetles, birds, bats, moths, butterflies, and many mammals, pollinators are responsible for almost 80% of all crop plants grown in the world. Although they are mighty in their efforts, they are extremely delicate when their habitat is disturbed or when they are exposed to synthetic chemicals like many herbicides and pesticides. 

Here are some tips on how to provide a better habitat where pollinators can thrive, no matter where you live.
  1. For apartment dwellers, set out planters that have been direct seeded with native flowers and grasses. Not only do you get to decorate green space close to home, you will help attract more pollinators.
  2. For those with a yard, many pollinators in their early stages require areas that are undisturbed, including cavities in grasses, old leaves, branches and shrubbery. They need a safe nesting place where they can grow - so avoid mowing your lawn in some areas!
  3. Avoid using synthetic pesticides at all costs! There are many other safe alternatives. Here is a recipe to make a homemade safe pesticide from common household items.
  4. Plan gardening projects with neighbors and share divisions of native plants. It is much easier to divide well-established plants than start new ones from seed. Exchange native plants with friends to diversify your habitat.
  5. Instead of planting annuals each year, invest in native perennials; they will come back stronger each year, require less physical exertion and look beautiful all year round.
  6. If you have a herb garden, let some of your plants "bolt" or go to seed, because the flowers they produce will benefit your pollinator friends. Cilantro and Basil are an easy herbs that both love to bolt!
- Sarah Buckman, Outreach Coordinator

This spring, we've been working busily to cultivate knowledge and learning here in the co-op, as well as out in our community. During the month of April, our classroom will be hosting a number of exciting and informative classes and events that are open to our owners, patrons, and members of the public. This month, our cast of excellent teachers are offering classes that promise to teach participants about a wide variety of subjects, ranging from vegan doughnuts, beekeeping, raising and keeping urban chickens, and much more. As always, anyone interested in any of our events can sign up online or at our registers, and we hope you'll join us to learn something new!

We are also continuing our commitment to education by finding new ways to introduce the goals of our Co-op to the broader public and engage with the larger C-U community. In addition to our ongoing partnership with Douglass Park to provide an after-school cooking and healthy foods program, we are also excited to be working on-site this month at the Champaign County Juvenile Detention Center to provide healthy meals and cooking lessons to the young kids. We are also excited to be hosting groups from Community Elements in our classroom to help teach simple and healthy meals for cooking on a budget. In addition to these projects, we are also still working hard to bring our Grow On program into schools all over town.
-Brad Olson, Education Supervisor
(Photo Courtesy of Sam Logan)

Grab fresh culinary herbs from the produce section! 
This coupon is valid for the month of April only. It can be printed or presented on smart device at time of purchase. Limit one coupon per customer. Applies to all Green Pantry Nursery produce.
Common Ground Food Co-op 
300 S. Broadway Ave, Urbana, IL, 61801
PLU: 960
In This Issue
Once Again Select
Nut Butters 
Reg. $9.99 Now $8.39

See the full Owner Deals list here!

Upcoming Board Events

Free coffee with the Board on Saturday, April 9th, 10am-12pm in the Flatlander Classroom!

Meeting on Monday,  April 11th,  from 6:15-8:15pm in the Lincoln Square Conference Center.

Financial Meeting Of Owners

Interested in meeting owners and learning about the Co-op's Finances for this year? 

Come to the Fin MOO on April 23 starting at 2pm in the Lincoln Square Conference Center. Get free snacks, coupons, and have your voice be heard! 

Prosperity Gardens

Round Up for Good will be featuring Prosperity Gardens for the month of April. Check out their website here!


Prairie Rivers Network
Thanks to all those who supported Prairie Rivers Network through the month of March. Prairie Rivers Network works to ensure that we have safe drinking water and clean river-ways. 

Interested to know how to help? You can donate your change to the featured Round Up For Good organization each month! Ask your change-maker next time you are in!

Springtime in the Deli

Are you looking for ways to reenergize your taste buds? The Common Ground Deli has some exciting fresh, Spring flavors ready for you.

Our Blackened Chicken (or tofu) Salad is making its debut at the Deli Counter as our featured sandwich, and in the Grab & Go look for Quintessential Quinoa Tabouli, Cilantro Lime Hummus, Power Greens Pesto Pasta, and Strawberry Pie.

On Saturdays, don't miss our iced, Shortbread Cookies cut in seasonal shapes. Stop by and discover your new favorite item today!

Did you know you can bring in your own bags, bottles or jars to refill in the bulk aisle with grains, flours, nuts, granolas or spices?

Place the empty container on the scale provided and write down the weight. When checking out at the register, the weight of your empty container will be removed from the price calculation. 

So bring in that jar that fits perfectly in your cupboard or those empty spice bottles that you need to restock. Reduce, Reuse and Recycle!
Local Laundry Soap       
We now carry locally made laundry soap powder from Queen Anne's Lace

Made with only 4 ingredients including Queen Anne's Lace goat milk soap, this laundry powder requires only 2 tablespoons for a large load. It's effective and very gentle for sensitive skin. The scented variety is made with 100% pure essential oils.
Plant Your Seeds!
Get your garden started with our great selection of seeds from
Seed Savers Exchange . Start your tomatoes and peppers inside and direct seed your peas, carrots, turnips, and native flowers!
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