January 2022 Newsletter
In this month's newsletter:
  • A word from the Board of Directors
  • Round Up For Good Update
  • Greek Cooking Class & Meal Kit
  • Perennial Crop Class Series with The Land Connection
  • Food Waste and The Food Donation Improvement Act of 2021
  • Recipe Features: Co+op Basics
  • New Products
Hello Cooperators!
As we enter 2022, we want to thank you for your continued support. It has certainly been a difficult year for everyone, and we are grateful to have such a wonderful community of neighbors that help sustain the Co-op. From all of us here at Common Ground, have a safe and wonderful new year!
Written by Ben Galewsky

There is one more thing to add to the list of things impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic: The relationship between the Board of Directors and the owners at large. Even before restrictions were imposed by the virus, it was difficult for directors to meet and hear from the growing ranks of owners, but there were still some good tried and true methods. 

In the past, in-person annual Meeting of Owners (MOO) were well-attended celebrations. Directors wore badges for easy identification and it was easy to have conversations about the food co-op we all love. 

Directors took turns at tabling events at the store on Saturday mornings. We’d sample some interesting food items and enjoy casual interactions with owners and curious shoppers. These were fun events that I always looked forward to.

The board is dedicating some of its study time to try to find new ways to reach out to owners and hear from you. The virtual MOO has been successful, but the format keeps it far too one-way for my liking. This newsletter has also been an essential lifeline, but it’s not the sort of conversation many of us are craving. 

The grocery business is changing rapidly and the role of the co-op in our community has never been more important. We will be trying out some new ideas over the coming months, but you are all the experts in this. Do you have ideas that you’d like to see the board putting into practice? Share them with [email protected]. Let’s start a conversation!
2021 Round Up For Good Update
Stock Up on Bulk!
It's time to use those January comeback coupons! Don't forget about the 20% off all grocery bulk items. Stock up on baking ingredients, beans, grains, nuts, seeds, and snacks!
Events & Programs
Greek Cooking Class & Meal Kit
Learn how to make traditional Greek dishes in the upcoming cooking class! Join George Kritikos and Katie Chamberlain as they share their tips on making family recipes including chicken (or tofu) souvlaki, tzatziki (yogurt cucumber dill sauce), fassolia (Greek stewed green beans and potatoes), and horiatiki (Greek village salad with cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes, and onions). This $40 Meal Kit serves 3-4 people and includes everything you need to make the dishes including pita bread (gluten free pita bread available), with the option to add on Greek wines to pair with the meal.

About the Instructors
George is the director of analytics for the J.M. Smucker Company and grew up in the Chicago suburbs cooking with his Greek grandmother and running around the kitchen of his family's restaurant. A transplant from Alabama with C-U roots, Katie is an information science professor at the University of Illinois who loves baking and just married George for the food. They are expecting their first baby in June.
Perennial Class Series
with The Land Connection
Elderberry Syrup & Fire Cider
Learn how to make some time-honored herbal tonics that have been traditionally used to boost your immune system! Join Joan Jach, owner and farmer of Old Town Flowers CU, as she shares her favorite recipes for Elderberry Syrup and Fire Cider. Funding for this class is provided in whole or in part by the Illinois Department of Agriculture's Illinois Specialty Crop Block Grant program, awarded to The Land Connection and in collaboration with Common Ground Food Co-op. The virtual Zoom class is free to attend but class participants have the option to preorder a class kit to make during the class with the instructor. This $30 Meal Kit includes everything you need to make elderberry syrup and fire cider including local honey, dried elderberries, horseradish root, ginger root, garlic, onion, apple cider vinegar, cheesecloth, and other herbs and spices.
Knife Sharpening is back in the classroom!
Saturday, January 8th 9 - 11 am
Saturday, January 15th 9 - 11 am
Saturday, January 22nd 9 - 11 am
Saturday, January 29th 9 - 11 am
Food Waste & the Food Donation Act of 2021
"Food waste is not only an environmental problem, but a social and moral conundrum." These words, spoken by Danielle Nierenberg of Food Tank, are more true than ever. I was recently able to attend a virtual conference hosted by Food Tank and WW International where they discussed the Emerson Act of 1996. Also known as the Good Samaritan Food Donation Act, the Emerson Act was created to incentivize businesses to donate excess food to shelters, food banks, and soup kitchens, while providing them a certain level of liability protection. Even so, many companies are hesitant to donate surplus food due to fear of someone getting sick, as well as the logistical factors of time and energy spent sorting and donating this food. The Food Donation Improvement Act of 2021 is a bi-partisan legislation introduced to try and combat food waste, one of our biggest national and global issues.
Recipe Feature: Co-op Basics
Do you know about Co+op Basics? Co+op Basics are discounted items for everyone. Over 147 unique Co-ops nationwide have teamed up for collective buying power so we can offer low prices on healthy, organic, and wholesome foods everyday. We've got recipes for a Zucchini & Corn Frittata at only $1 per serving, and a creamy Brown Rice Risotto with Peas & Cheddar for only $1.86 per serving!
Seasonal Produce Spotlight:
Winter Citrus Salad
It's officially citrus season! This crisp and refreshing salad features a citrus vinaigrette with fresh oranges and lemons, paired with beautiful blood oranges, granny smith apple, pumpkin seeds, and avocado over a bed of spinach and spring greens. This is the perfect winter salad.
New Products
New from Grocery
Weird Meat Boyz Hot Sauce
This small batch craft hot sauce is made with simple recipes of hand-selected local, sustainable, and intentionally sourced ingredients to ensure truly exceptional and nuanced hot sauce. Each batch will look, taste, smell, and even sound and feel, different, because every individual ingredient is different.

This sauce is the single barrel scotch of hot sauce. Less boring, more weird.

  • Jalapeno, pineapple, white miso $9.99
  • Habanero, Malort, bell pepper $9.99
  • Pasilla chile, chile de arbol, coffee $9.99
  • Spicy Barbecue sauce $11.99
Natierra Dried Fruit
Freeze-drying is a process that allows food preservation without the use of any additives, colorants or flavoring. These on-the-go snacks combine the vitamins and fiber of fresh fruit with the crunch of a chip and the sweetness of candy. There's no frying, no baking, and only the sugar provided by Mother Nature!

  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Mangoes
  • Raspberries

$4.99 each
Hu Kitchen Chocolate Bars
Hu Kitchen strives to replace weird, industrial ingredients with simple, healthier ones. They believe this is the key to thriving, not just surviving. These organic chocolate bars don't contain any dairy, refined sugar, or soy lecithin.

  • Simple Dark Chocolate
  • Salty Dark Chocolate
  • Almond Butter + Puffed Quinoa Dark Chocolate
  • Cashew Butter + Raspberry Dark Chocolate
  • Cashew Butter + Orange Vanilla Dark Chocolate

$5.99 each
New from Meat & Cheese
Supreme Brie Bites
Supreme Brie Bites are small wonders of creamy decadence. Each bite is supremely creamy, rich and buttery. Individually wrapped and perfect for snacking. These bites are plenty on their own, but also pair well with jam and crackers.

$7.75 each
New from our Kitchen
Vegan Spaghetti & Meatballs
Also known as Sp'Teddy n' Wheatballz after our Kitchen Assistant Manager, this vegan dish will delight! Featuring seitan style meatballs paired with classic spaghetti and marinara.

$8.89 per pound
Beer & Wine Features
Treehive Meads
Treehive is a mead focused winery in Rantoul, IL. They take the greatest treasure in the world (honey) and blend it with water, fruits, and spices to make an alcoholic beverage called Mead. They source their honey from all over, but really enjoy using our very own Central Illinois honey, which you can find in most of their products. There are many different varietals of honey and they all have their own flavor. The greatest thing about about mead is the endless possibilities of flavors you can achieve.

  • Blueberry
  • Red Currant
  • Easy on the Bees

$17.99 each
Quady Red Electra Moscato
Red Electra Moscato, first released in 2000, is garnet red, tastes of succulent cherry, berry, and pomegranate, and has a slight sparkle. Try it with all kinds of desserts and cheeses including chocolate bon-bons, truffles, spiced holiday cookies, vanilla, and fruit.

Red Electra is made by combining Orange and Black Muscat grapes, and fermenting them very slowly at a low temperature so they keep their delicious flavors. That's why Red Electra tastes like a bowl full of cherries.

Red Electra makes delectable sangria and sorbet. To make sangria add chilled Red Electra to seasonal fruit and sparkling water. To make sorbet, pour into a freezer safe container and freeze overnight.

Vine Connections
Kanbara Bride of the Fox Sake
This savory sake is inspired by local legends of Niigata's annual fox-bride festival. Local lore tells of mysterious lights that appeared on nearby Mt. Kirin in the distant past, which are claimed to be the lanterns carried in the fox-bride procession. With a 50% polishing rate, this sake could technically qualify as a Junmai Daiginjo, but the savory notes and food pairing versatility identify more with the style expected from Junmai Ginjo.

Intense aromas of grilled nuts, pistachio, and a hint of white chocolate. Ripe honeydew notes finish crisp with a hint of lingering sweetness.

One of the best meat pairings in the portfolio. Try with duck, fig-stuffed pork loin, or black cod with miso glaze.
Last month we raised over $5,579 for Crisis Nursery! Crisis Nursery creates an "Island of Safety" dedicated to the prevention of child abuse and neglect by providing 24-hour emergency care for children and support to strengthen families in crisis. Crisis Nursery is the only free emergency-based child care facility in Champaign County open 24/7, 365 days a year, for the entire community to access.

January's organization is Daily Bread Soup Kitchen. The mission of the Daily Bread Soup Kitchen is to feed the hungry of our community regardless of race, religion, or ethnicity. We welcome all volunteers to this service who share an unconditional positive regard for every human being.

Project Proposal: "Our yearly budget indicates that we will spend $31,974 on protein, meat and cheese, for our sack lunches. We serve an average of 225 to-go hot meals, accompanied by a sack lunch. The sack lunches are filled with hearty meat and cheese or peanut butter and jelly sandwich. For our homeless and transient guests this is often their only meal. Also, we provide each guest with a bottle of water. We are requesting $5,000 to help pay for the additional protein, meat and cheese, for our sack lunches."