February 2020
  • Featuring Common Ground Showing CU Love, Citrus Fruits and What to Do with Them, and our February Featured Drink
In this month's newsletter:
  • A Word from the GM
  • A Word from Your Board
  • Common Ground is Showing Love for Our Neighbors this February
  • Citrus Fruits and What to Do with Them
  • Andi’s Top 10 Snacky Treats for February
  • Call for Local Artists 2020 Art Gallery Application
  • New Items and our February Featured Drink
  • Round Up For Good: January Update and February's Recipient
  • Look Out for These February Classes
From the GM
Gary Taylor, General Manager
Read Gary's piece on how food cooperatives have always been ahead of the game.
Thinking with Two Minds: Reflections of a Staff Board Director
Explore the dual role of Staff Board Director from Board Director Colin Dodson
Before I dive too far into my own reflections, I want to clarify what I mean by ‘Staff Board Director,’ and in so doing start to illustrate what I mean by ‘thinking with two minds.’ You see, I’m not really a Staff Board Director, as my role on the Board isn’t directly connected to my role as a worker at Common Ground. Instead, I am a Board Director with respect to my ownership in the co-op as a customer . But, yet, the fact that I am a paid employee of the very same cooperative is, in many ways, inseparable from my circumstances as a consumer-owner.  When I say that I am a staff board director , what I really mean is that I am a Board Director who happens to also be a staff member .
So, what exactly is the Board of Directors, and what do we do? There are a few answers to this question, but the simplest way to put it is that the Board of Directors is the standing governing body of the co-op.  Ultimately, the Board of Directors maintains the legal structure that the Co-op operates within, and the Board of Directors bears ultimate legal responsibility for the Co-op in the eyes of the state and federal government. In order for the board to manage regulatory and liability constraints that affect our Co-op, the board needs a structure or a system to govern the Co-op within these restrictions.

As you might imagine, managing these requirements can be a pretty extensive job, even before considering the logistics of actually running a retail store. For this reason, the Board hires, monitors, and supervises a General Manager (GM) to handle the complex intricacies of operating the store.   

Both are big, complicated jobs, and based on the wisdom of countless other cooperative organizations over many decades, our cooperative has determined that we should keep these two jobs generally separate. In order to accomplish this task, our co-op has adopted a governance structure called Policy Governance .

With such a division between operations and governance, any connection between the two needs to be clearly defined and expectations must be set. With the change in our Bylaws in 2018, co-op employees are now allowed to serve on the Board of Directors, and the board has had to consider the extensive ramifications of this change. I’ve been lucky enough to participate in the process as that very type of Board Director.  

This is just an excerpt. Read the entire article here.
The next meeting of the Board of Directors is Monday, February 10th, from 6:15 to 8:15 pm. All Board meetings moving forward will be located in our Flatlander Classroom.
Love Your Neighborhood
The season of love is here!
February is here, and that means that the season of love is upon us. Though this time is usually seen as encouragement to remind your partners or significant others how much you love them, we here at the co-op would like to take this time to remind our community how much we love it. From our local and regional producers, to our local artists, class instructors, student groups, and Round Up for Good organizations, we’ll be showing our love for the community of people which make this all possible all month long--and beyond! February, for us, means showing love to our neighborhood, and all of our wonderful neighbors who are apart of it.
Huan Song Loves C-U Through Community Engagement
Community member Huan Song shares experience volunteering at Champaign Public Library
Dear Common Ground Co-op team,

My name is Huan Song, and I am writing to share how volunteering at the Champaign Public Library has helped me to feel connected to the CU community and brought much joy into my life.

I joking refer to my self as the "tag-along" spouse since I followed my husband here when he started his PhD two years ago at UIUC. Community engagement and volunteering has always been a huge part of my life and I even work at a volunteer-powered disaster relief organization called All Hands And Hearts ( https://www.allhandsandhearts.org/ ) and a huge part of my role is volunteer recruitment. 

Since I work from home and travel frequently, initially I felt disconnected from local happenings and my immediate community. To remedy this, I decided to try volunteering at the FriendShop Bookstore in the basement of the Champaign Public Library a few times a month on the weekends. I've made many friends and met many interesting people through volunteering there and joined the Board this year to increase my involvement. My volunteer shifts are the absolute highlight of my week and I feel so much fulfillment knowing the the proceeds from the shop are supporting children's programming. 

Another highlight for me is attending the cooking classes at the Co-op! I'm really looking forward to the one on injera making in a few weeks!

Happy New Year and happy volunteering.

Huan Song
Citrus Fruits and What to Do With Them
Sarah gives us a lesson in citrus fruits right before their heightened harvest season
Citrus is beloved by so many and rightfully so! The fruits are delicious, nutritious, and serve as a staple in many cultural cuisines. Being some of the most consumed fruits around the world, we are dependent on citrus. From salsas, curries, stir-frys, dressings, beverages, desserts, garnishes, perfumes, cleaning supplies, and preservatives, citrus can be added to anything. In addition to just eating or juicing the delicious fruits, citrus flowers are used for perfumes, syrups, and fragrances; the leaves are included in teas, cooked and steamed meals, as well as spice blends; the peels, packed with potent with oils and fragrance used in body care, cleaners, perfumes, and religious ceremonies for thousands of years.

Citrus trees are grown on almost every continent in tropical, subtropic, temperate, and coastal regions and thrive in warm tropical regions without cold temperatures and significant frost. As a type of evergreen tree, the citrus tree can produce fruit all year long with a heightened harvest season during October through February. This special flowering tree and shrub produces specialized berries, what we know of as the citrus fruit, and date back 15 million years, originating near the Himalayas, western Yunnan region of China, and Assam, India. Every citrus fruit you may be familiar with like grapefruit, oranges, limes, lemons, kumquats all stem back to three ancestral citrus fruits, the citron, the Mandarin orange, and the pomelo.

In warm climates, citrus peels will stay green even after reaching full maturity. As soon as harvested fruits are exposed to cold or refrigeration, the peel will turn yellow and orange. Did you know that blood oranges get their dark pigments in the flesh when the growing fruits are exposed to frosty cold temperatures? The fruit ends up producing anthocyanin pigments which give them their famous maroon and purple coloring.

This next month we will be having so many varieties of citrus, here’s what you can do with them:

Meyer lemons: extra fragrant and juicy are perfect for baking, lemon teas

Kumquats: eat whole for a tart citrus burst or slice for salads

Blood oranges: perfect for slices or wedges

Pomelo: peel thoroughly and add to salads or eat as a snack

Valencia: perfect oranges for juicing

Navel oranges: perfect for peeling and snack time

Tangerines: great for slices in wedges

Mandarin orange: easy to peel and great for snacks and salads

Grapefruit: Slice in half and enjoy with a little sprinkle of sugar for breakfast

Limes: Adds the perfect flavor squeezed on a finished dish or sauce

Now that you know all about citrus fruits, and their multiple uses, we can be that much more excited when the different varieties start showing up in our produce section. Happy harvest season!

Andi’s Top 10 Snacky Treats for February
Here's a list of some of our HR Manager's favorite co-op snacks
10. Cha-Cha-Chia Chunks of Energy : Bulk aisle, $8.99/lb
These little wonders are really tasty and have all kinds of good stuff in them! Great to have when you need a little something to give you energy and through until dinner.

9. Curried Couscous : House Made in the Grab-n-Go Cooler in varied sizes
An all time favorite and a go-to lunch for me. Just the right amount of curry and lots of other yummy ingredients like almonds and cranberries. 

8. Sahale brand Mango Tango Almond Trail Mix : Aisle 6, $1.89
These have everything I want from a trail mix - a little crunchy, a little sweet fruit, a little kick of spice.

7. Finocchiona (Fennel salami) : Specialty Meat endcap, $4.99
Little logs of salami that reminds me of eating with my Italian Grandmother.

6. Ludwig Farmstead Creamery Garden Herb Cheese Curds : Specialty Cheese, $6.99
These are wonderful and make a great snack with crackers. All the flavors are great, but this is my fave.

5. That’s It Fig Fruit Bar : Aisle 6, $2.79
This is the best part of fig bars without the bready stuff. I eat them instead of cookies.

4. Perfect Bar - Blueberry Cashew : Drink coolers, $2.99
You really can’t go wrong with any of the flavors, but the blueberry one is fantastic. I eat them for breakfast often. Good amount of protein for bars of that kind.

3. Barnana brand Acapulco Lime Plantain Chips : Chip Aisle, $4.79
Great crunch, the flavor is bright and crisp without being overwhelming for the creamy plantain flavor. One of the best lime flavored things I’ve tried. The BBQ is great too.

2. Everything But The Bagel Cashews : Bulk Aisle, $15.99/lb
These are PHENOMENAL. I will warn you, it’s a slippery slope, because you will not ever stop eating them. 

1. Irish Soda Bread : House Made in the Bakery area, $6.99
I’ve grown up eating soda bread made by my Irish mother, and this is the closest to my mom’s. With raisins and caraway, it’s great as a snack warmed with butter, or with a meal of corned beef and cabbage. Don’t sleep on this, it’s a seasonal item and won’t be here for long. Is fearr liom t-arán seo….ná inis do dhuine ar bith. Sobhlasta!
Call for Local Artists
Apply to show your local art in our art gallery
Apply to show your local art at Common Ground Food Cooperative! We are looking for many local artists to feature in our gallery. Our Art Gallery is located in our highly utilized Flatlander Classroom. This multi-use Classroom is ideal for integrating the arts into the urban environment and creating partnerships among artists, the community, and the Co-op. Selected artists will be invited to install alongside another local artist for two months (approximately 8 weeks). Each selected artist will be allotted locked case in the gallery that measures 8’ long x 44’’ high x 4’’ wide.

We always welcome artists of all ages to apply. Collaborative groups, student groups, art classes, and kids are also encouraged to apply. Preference will be given to themes related to vibrant community & culture, food system & farmers, biodiversity & ecology, and inclusive messages to share with others. We only show local artists, who live within 100 miles of the Co-op.

Common Ground will provide selected artists with:
1. Approximately two months of Art Gallery space with locked gallery space alongside another local artist.
2. Promotion of artist through various media sources (including social media, newsletter, website, print materials).
3. Art Gallery Reception, with food and drink, to celebrate the two featured artists installed in the gallery space.

If selected, artists will be responsible for:
*Timely installation and labeling of work
*Communication with the Outreach Coordinator
*Completing Art Gallery Application either online or submitted in person.
*Although the artwork is secured in a locked and protective case, Common Ground Food Co-op is not responsible for any damage or stolen artwork.
*To maintain our safe, welcoming environment we require that works are non-discriminatory and non-graphic/explicit in content, and must be appropriate for all ages. Selection is at the Co-op's discretion and will be decided with an artist jury.

Questions or trouble filling out application? Please contact education@commonground.coop .

Deadline to submit Artist Application is March 9th 2020 at 10pm.
Introducing our February Featured Drink
This month's featured drink is the Love Blossom Latte
$4.25 (12 oz) or $4.75 (16 oz)
$4 for 16oz on Fridays
Latte with two shots of Collectivo espresso, a blend of housemade vanilla bean and Monin cherry syrup, with your choice of milk!

About our Cafe: Ethical sourcing is our bread and butter. Whenever possible, everything is made local & organic. You can get your morning coffee, build your own sandwich for lunch or order one of our signature options, have a slice of pizza with our featured drink, and much more.
News From Our Cheese Department
New to our Meat & Cheese Department
  • Hook's-7 year cheddar
  • An extra sharp cheddar with some calcium (calcium lactate) crystals that add a little crunch.

  • 5 Spoke Creamery Tumbleweed
  • This cheese is a bit crumbling, but still dense and buttery. It's tart and fruity, with a brown butter undercurrent

  • New Products in Farmer Focus
  • Organic Italian Chicken Meatballs
  • Organic Lemon Pepper Chicken Strips
  • New Products in Applegate
  • Natural-Chicken Patties in Co-op Basics 
  • 2 New Charcuterie Snack Packs

  • New Healthy Alternatives to Pork Sausage Classics in Smart Chicken
  • Organic Classic Andouille
  • Organic Country Breakfast Sausage
  • New Pork Products from Whistling Hen Farms

Leaving our Meat & Cheese Department
  • BelGioioso products have been discontinued through our vendor. Di Stefano products will be taking their place on our shelves. This means there will be new fresh styles of cheese coming your way!
Di Stefano Cheese is a family owned cheese company in Southern California that has a lifetime of experience, tradition and passion for making cheese. Owner and founder of Di Stefano Cheese, Mimmo Bruno, introduced burrata to the North American palate in 1993.

This boutique-style cheese company is dedicated to making fresh burrata, mozzarella, mascarpone, ricotta, Samorza and Caciocavallo. It makes its cheese fresh daily, and sources milk from a dairy located right down the road!

Out of Stock
  • The Piggery's turkey pepperoni will return in late February.
  • All Green Meadow Cheese products
Here's What's Coming to Bakery this Month
We will see Candy Heart iced cookies for valentines day starting around February 5th and ending the 15th. You'll also be able to find a two pack of flour-less chocolate cake, as well as a two pack of mixed berry pie during the same time frame. During the entire month of February, macaroon coconut cookies and Delightful Shortbread cookies, featuring Delight Flower Farm's edible flowers, will be available by the cafe.
January Round Up: Austin's Place Emergency Overnight Shelter for Women
An update on the January Round Up
In January, together we raised around $4800 for Austin's Place Emergency Overnight Shelter for Single Women and contributed towards its efforts to provide safe and warm overnight emergency shelter for single women during the coldest months of the year. It is the only overnight emergency shelter for women in Champaign County.

Thank you for helping us support such a great organization!

Become an Overnight Volunteer!
Austin's Place Emergency Overnight Shelter for Single Women is looking for overnight volunteers to serve at Austin's Place during its 13th season! Overnight Volunteers stay at the shelter in the evenings from 7:45 pm until 7:00 am the next morning (volunteers are allowed to sleep for 6 hours during the night). There is no required commitment to a certain number of hours or shifts - volunteer one time or make it once a week! With your help, Austin's place will be open until April 30 this year. Attend a training session to learn more!

Training for new volunteers will take place at First United Methodist Church (210 W. Church Street, Champaign, IL 61820) at the following times. Free parking is located at the back of the church, in a parking lot accessible from Hill Street.

Austin's Place Winter 2020 Training Dates:

Saturday, February 22, 2020 at 10:00 a.m.
February Round Up: First Followers Re-entry Program - CU
Introducing the February Round Up For Good Recipient
First Followers Re-entry Program strives to build strong and peaceful communities. In order to accomplish this, the organization provides support and guidance to the formerly incarcerated, their loved ones, and the community as a whole.

First Followers offers:
  • A safe stigma free environment
  • Peer mentoring
  • Assistance with employment searches
  • Job readiness training
  • Advocacy for individuals with felony convictions
  • Family reunification
  • Service referrals
See what else is new for the month of February in our current classes email .

You can always sign up online or in store and classes are listed on the class calendar.
Sat, Feb 1, 2020 2:00 PM CST
Indian Flavors: Malai Kofta
Common Ground Food Co-op, Urbana
Sat, Feb 8, 2020 2:00 PM CST
Home Brewing Kombucha: The Basics
Common Ground Food Co-op, Urbana
Sat, Feb 22, 2020 2:00 PM CST
Acupuncture + Community
Common Ground Food Co-operative, Urbana
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 February. May not be reused or used for sale items, Co-op Basics, or alcohol.