March 2021
In this month's newsletter:
  • A Word from the General Manager
  • A Word from Your Board
  • Events, Announcements, & Community Happenings
  • Owner Appreciation Days This Month
  • Online Ordering with Curbside Pick-up
  • Radish Rewards: An Owner Loyalty Program
  • 2020 Impacts Report
  • Pay-What-You-Can Virtual Fitness Class
  • Common Ground's Link Match Program
  • Updates to Our Prepared Foods Departments
  • Café Featured Items
  • Latest Beer & Wine Selections
  • Recent Blog Posts
  • Exciting New Products
  • Round Up For Good Update
  • Classes Canceled Until Further Notice
  • Thanks for Reading $2 Off Coupon
by Gary Taylor

"Spring is March-ing in! The birds are singing! The sun is shining! We are hopefully seeing the light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel... and I am finally out of bad cliches.

I am excited to announce that we are releasing our annual impact report a little earlier than usual! This report measures how Common Ground met its Ends the past year and, and in 2020's report, we also recount how we responded to the unprecedented circumstances. Here is a little sneak preview into some of the highlights."

by Lisa Bralts & Taidghin O'Brien

"Late January’s announcement that farmers markets in the C-U area are, in partnership with Common Ground, piloting the Universal LINK Match Program – a winning proposition for local eaters, local farmers, and the markets/our Co-op themselves – was very much a bright spot during the toughest part of our Lower Midwest pandemic winter.
This SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) incentive program, administered by Experimental Station in Chicago and funded in part by the USDA, will allow area shoppers currently receiving SNAP benefits to stretch their food dollars further, thanks to extremely generous matching, when shopping for local produce at multiple locations – the Champaign-Urbana Winter Farmers Market and the Champaign Farmers Market (both operated by The Land Connection), Urbana’s Market at the Square (operated by the City of Urbana), and CGFC."
The Board of Directors typically meets the second Monday of the month from 6:15 to 8:15 pm in the Flatlander Classroom.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Board of Directors meets online via Zoom.
Email for more information!
It's the first Owner Appreciation Days of 2021! Get deep discounts, save an additional 10%, receive owner-exclusive coupons, and let us celebrate you as an owner!

What are Owner Appreciation Days?
Owner Appreciation Days are our special sales period where all of our Co-op owners can get great store-wide deals! Due to COVID-19, we are extending Owner Appreciation Days to 8 days to encourage safe shopping, reduce crowds, and allow customers to maintain their regular shopping schedule. We're stocking up on all these great deals for everyone! Like all Owner Days, owners will receive a 10% discount off their entire purchase of one shopping trip of their choice (excluding Co+op Basics, alcohol, and items already on sale). 

All owners who shop during Owner Appreciation Days and use their 10% discount will also receive special owner-exclusive coupons for the next few months.

Skip the line and shop at the Co-op Shop! Our special Owner Appreciation Days deals will also be available to you through our curbside service. In order to get your 10% discount deducted from your shopping trip, please make a note requesting your discount in 'Order Instructions' in the online shopping cart. We will add your all savings on your curbside order and include the owner coupon book, too! 

After a successful pilot program, we are launching Radish Rewards for ALL our owners starting March 2!
We are starting our first-ever owner loyalty program here at Common Ground! At the beginning of 2021, we started the Radish Rewards pilot program. After two short months, we are ready to roll out the program to all our owners starting March 2nd!

What are Radish Rewards?
With Radish Rewards, owners can earn 1% back on their purchases. An easier way to think about it is this: You can earn 1 point per dollar spent. Those points can be redeemed as cash off a Common Ground purchase! Owners must accrue 200 points, or $2.00 in rewards, before redemption.

2020 Impact Report is available!
Read all about it!
Every year, we measure all the ways we worked to meet our Ends. Typically, we release the Impact Report at our annual Financial Meeting of Owners in April, but we wanted to share it with our owners early this year! 2020 was an unprecedented and chaotic year, but we are so proud of the impact we made. This report will detail how we specifically worked to meet our four Ends and showcase our response to the challenges and calls-to-action we were presented last year.

Join SweatPractice for a virtual fitness class; all donations given to the Co-op's Round Up program!
Start a fitness routine that not only benefits you,
but your local community too!

SweatPractice, owned and operated by Co-op owners, Maria Ludeke and Nightrain Epton, is teaming up with Common Ground Food Co-op to bring you monthly Pay-What-You-Can Community Fitness Classes! All proceeds raised in this monthly fitness series will benefit the current recipient of Common Ground's Round Up For Good program. Each of these SweatPractice classes are live through Zoom and taught with all levels in mind -- all you need is your mat. 

The upcoming virtual class is Sunday, March 28 at 12pm.
Once your registration and donation is complete, your confirmation email will have instructions to gain access to the class.

This March fitness class will benefit Buy Black Chambana.

Curious about SweatPractice's other fitness classes and membership, check out their upcoming fitness calendar!
In partnership with The Land Connection & Winter Farmers Market, CGFC is part of a Link Match grant!
Common Ground is excited to be accepting Link Match vouchers this winter! In partnership with The Land Connection & Winter Farmers Market, any shopper who uses SNAP at the winter market will receive an equal dollar amount in Link Match vouchers. These vouchers can be redeemed at the Co-op on local produce!

How does it work?
Thanks to the Link Up Illinois grant, The Land Connection's winter farmers market in Lincoln Square Mall is offering Link Match vouchers for every dollar of SNAP spent at the market. For example, a shopper swipes their Link card fo $10 in market tokens, they will receive an additional ten $1 vouchers to be spent at the winter market or at Common Ground. To promote and support the local food system, these vouchers are valid only on local fruits and vegetables. There is a $20 match limit for these vouchers.
How do I know what's local?
Just look for our special signs! All our local produce is marked with a special green sign, indicating which local farm it was sourced from. Additionally, for the duration of the grant, all local produce will be tagged with a special "Eligible for Link Match with Voucher" signs.
Hear from our Beer & Wine specialist, Lisa,
on what's new in the store!
March is Women Winemaker’s Month, so I thought we would celebrate the women who make not only wine, but other tasty libations we carry in the store. Way to go ladies! Our palates would like to thank you and raise a glass in your honor!
Let’s start with Luna Bay Booch Company, our regional hard kombucha brewer. “Luna Bay was started by a team of women passionate about wellness, adventure, community and fun – and we plan to spread those values through simple, honest, boozy booch. We were the first of its kind to be produced and distributed in Chicago. And now we are proudly on shelf coast-to-coast. All products are gluten-free, low in sugar, vegan and naturally fermented to 6% for a boozy bite.” Enjoy more of their story by clicking on this link:
Yalumba “Y” Series, has been a long time favorite of mine. Meet Louisa Rose, Chief winemaker at Yalumba AND winemaker at Pewsey Vale. She holds several recognitions, one of which is
2014 Australia's Greatest Winemaker. Louisa grew up in a family of grape growers in Australia. Yarra Valley and much like other winemakers, she went to college with other plans in mind. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Physics and imagined she'd become a science teacher. At some point, the wine bug bit her, and she returned to school to study winemaking in South Australia, graduating Dux, known as Valedictorian here in the US. The wines are very well made and over-deliver for their price point. They are produced in South Australia and are a stylistic nod to the Northern Rhone, France. We carry 2 in the store: Viognier and Shiraz-Viognier blend, both $10.99

Want to easily spot the businesses supporting women brewers and winemakers? Look for this special sign in our Beer & Wine department!
And we can’t forget about St. Patrick’s Day!!
We will have Guinness Draught in NITRO 4 packs available for your St. Paddy’s Day shenanigans. You’re welcome. I love the nitro beers. When you pour into the glass, you don’t need to tip it. Pour directly into the bottom of your glass and watch the foam cascade into the beer. So pretty! And this is a totally sessionable beer at 4.2% ABV and a lowly 125 calories… Sláinte!
Out with the old, in with the new!
What's Happening?
Common Ground is replacing the old salad bar with a brand new grab n' go island cooler!

Why's It Happening?
The COVID pandemic has significantly changed shopping trends and affected projections for future shopping trends. Impacted most are self-serve food options. In market studies across the country, buffets, shoppers are projected to continue avoiding buffets, salad bars, and other self-service food options. In 2020, we shut down our salad bar and hot soup wells due to the pandemic. With shopping trends looking bleak for their reopening, we realized we needed a viable alternative. Rather than waiting for self-serve food to make a comeback (if it does), losing sales in our prepared foods departments, and doing costly repairs to the salad bar unit, we applied for a grant with the City of Urbana to purchase a grab n’ go island cooler. We are excited to announce that we got the grant, covering the cost for the whole unit. We expect it to be up and running after the second week of March.

What Can You Expect?
In the grab n' go island, you can expect to see more prepared salads, including family sized salads. We'll also stock it full of more meal components options, including a build-your-own pizza with Our Own par baked pizza crust. We'll have plenty of additional grab n' go entrees, deli salads, and breakfast offerings.
Try these new menu items & old favorites!

March's Drink of the Month is the Lucky Latte.

The luck of the Irish has struck the Co-op Cafe! Our Own Lucky Latte is made with 2 shots of espresso, Our Own Irish creme syrup, and your choice of milk.

12 oz : $4.50
16 oz : $5.00
Take a look at our latest blog posts!
We are sharing our owners' & community members' special recipes in a new blog series!

"Choux à la crème (cream puffs) are a staple of French baking tradition. We eat them at weddings, family reunions, or every time we want to feel a bit fancy! These tasty bites are a perfect way to dive into the French style of baking."

"The world of fair trade is definitely extensive and complicated. There is so much amazing work being done to increase worker wages, develop communities, and provide safe working environments. However, no system is perfect. There are complications and shortcomings in fair trade, such as lack of transparency, lower accessibility, and some descrepency in wages between what we often consider "blue collar" work and "white collar" work. Nevertheless, fair trade organizations collectively work to improve the lives of laborers and communities as a whole. "

"These are not healthy, but boy, are they a tasty time! Join me in my self-indulgent journey in making these Local Western Bacon Beef Sliders with fried cheese curds."

what's coming to produce in March?
March isn't known for its abundant newness in the produce department, but luckily, our citrus offerings are still going strong. Kumquats, for example, are among our wide selection. To those unfamiliar, kumquats are these small, oblong citrus fruits that you eat whole. The flesh is sour, and the rind is sweet, with few seeds. Kumquats originated in China, and are first referenced in literature from the 12th century. Whether or not they belong in the genus Citrus, or the genus Fortunella, depends on who you ask, but they can readily be crossed with citrus. There are a number of varieties of kumquats, as well as a number of crosses with other citrus, such as limequats and mandarinquats, that are occasionally available.

To eat a kumquat, pick one that's a nice orange color. You can either just eat it whole for a true sweet-tart experience, or roll it between your fingers to release a bit of oil from the skin. This will sweeten things up a bit. Either way, eating a kumquat is a delicious, if sometimes intense, experience. You'll be able to find these little fruits in the fruit case throughout March!
take a peek at what we're stocking now!

New Local Vendor!

Old Town Flowers
found in the wellness department!

Cabot Creamery Co-op
Synergy Cheddar Cheese

made by a dairy cooperative!

Bee's Wrap
Plant-Based Food Wrap
made with candelilla wax instead of beeswax!

Millie's Corner Farm
Soy-Free Duck Eggs

Cascadian Farms
Sprouted Wheat Frosted Flakes & Sugar-Free Granola

Evolution Fresh
Juice Varieties

Health Ade

LOCAL Prairie Fruits Farm
Artisan Cottage Cheese

Our Own
Burrito Bowl
with chicken or seasoned tofu
found in the grab n' go case
these favorites are finally back on our shelves!
  • Freeze-Dried Strawberries (bulk)
  • Crystallized Ginger (bulk)
February Round Up For Good Update: Champaign County Humane Society
In February, we rounded up over $2,500 for Champaign County Humane Society. With February’s Round Up funds, the Human Society will be able fund surgical sterilization (spay/neuter) of feral or free-roaming cats. With this service, cats receive sterilization surgery, FVRCP vaccine, rabies vaccine, and flea treatment. The Human Society will use Round Up funds to provide this service at no charge to members of the public and partnering cat-rescue groups who are struggling to manage feral and free-roaming cat populations in their communities.
March Round Up for Good: Buy Black Chambana
In March, we are rounding up for Buy Black Chambana. Buy Black Chambana is home to Champaign-Urbana's black-owned business directory filled with over 150+ businesses. Buy Black Chambana is a community organization dedicated to empowering and creating space for all people to celebrate and honor Black culture, support Black businesses, and uplift the community.

With March’s Round Up money, Buy Black Chambana will update the online Black-owned business directory with the intention of printing hard copies of the directory. They will also use Round Up money to host the 2nd Annual Urban Market where they create space for minority-owned businesses to pop up at an outdoor market without the barrier of participation fees. Buy Black Chambana will also work toward an expansion of turning their online store to a brick and mortar location.

Be sure to stop by Common Ground to Round Up for Buy Black Chambana this month! Read more about this organization here!
Due to COVID-19, all classes and events have been canceled until further notice.
Enjoy $2 off your next purchase of $15 or more
Just bring in this slip or show it on your device. Valid through the end of March. May not be reused or used for sale items, Co-op Basics, or alcohol.