July 2019
We're starting this Summer off strong!
In this month's newsletter:

  • A Word from the General Manager
  • A Word from your Board
  • Our Next Chill & Grill
  • An Update from Jeff Kohmstedt of Prairie Rivers Network
  • An Update from Produce
  • Closing Early July 4th
  • New Local Artist Pop-up Shops
  • Art Gallery Reception: Chibi Levi & George Hardebeck
  • The River and The Wall Film Screening at the Art Theater
  • New Class Series: Eating Seasonally--on a Budget
  • New Items Around the Store 
  • Smile Politely reviews our Grab & Go section
  • June Round Up Update
  • July Round Up: Prairie Rivers Network
  • July Classes & Events
From the GM
Gary Taylor, General Manager
Read Gary's July piece on how working together, with everyone contributing what they can, can achieve a greater good.
Board Visioning Update
An update from Board Member Julie Zilles
July 2019

All of our Ends are awesome. One of my favorite board meetings every year is the one where the Board receives the Ends report, describing how our co-op is striving to move closer to each of them. As an owner, you can hear the highlights from that report at a meeting of owners or read about them in the newsletter. I’m struck by how much we’re all expecting from Common Ground, wanting our co-op not only to supply us with quality food and operate efficiently, but also to … you fill in the blank here … treat staff exceptionally well, support local producers and cooperatives, be transparent with owners and receptive to their input, etc. And for the most part, I think our co-op is juggling those diverse priorities well. It can be hard, though, to dig deep into something, or pull together a major project, when you’re working in so many different directions. That’s why I am excited about two recent Board decisions about the next phase of our visioning work.

The first decision is a structural one. After several months of open-ended visioning, with input from staff, owners, and producers, we’re going to focus Board visioning work on one area. The idea is that we’ll dig deep into this area for the next year or two, get creative about how we could take our contributions to the next level, find out what is feasible for us, hopefully embark on substantive endeavors that increase our impact, and then shift to another focus in a rolling fashion. This is a departure from our past practice of treating visioning as a sporadic happening, where we got together every seven years or so to discuss big ideas, and I’m excited about its potential to keep our co-op vibrant, competitive, and engaging.

The second decision is that our first focus area will be local. We’ll be exploring big ideas for how we can leverage our experience in grocery to make our local food system more equitable, robust and environmentally sound. This is an area of strength for us, a competitive advantage, but we think there’s also a lot of room for doing more. We don’t know yet exactly what that might look like; new strategies could focus on increasing the demand for local products, better supporting home and community gardeners, growing new gardeners … if you have ideas, please send them our way at visioning@coop.org. And if you’re really excited about digging into this work, consider running for the Board. Election packets will soon be available on the store website.

In cooperation,

Julie Zilles

The next meeting of the Board of Directors is Monday, July 8th, from 6:15 to 8:15 pm at First United Methodist Church of Urbana located on Race Street near the west entrance to Lincoln Square. Owners are welcome and encouraged to attend. Please use the entrance with the maroon awning, on the east side of the church.
First Friday: Chill & Grill
A choice of beef, pork, or vegetarian hot dogs
Our next Chill & Grill is happening on July 12th from 5-7pm on the porch. We will be having Triple S Farms hot dogs or vegetarian hot dogs. They will be served with a side of Chambana Potato Salad & macaroni n' black bean salad.
Live music will be provided by Ryan Groff of Elsinore Find the complete line-up of this summer's Chill & Grills here .

A special thanks to Triple S Farms, our sponsor for the Chill & Grills this summer! 
An Update from Jeff Kohmstedt of Prairie Rivers Network
Jeff Kohmstedt talks about Senate Bill 9
"After an incredible two months of work with partner organizations; many meetings with legislators and opposition; and the bipartisan leadership of Senator Scott Bennett, Representative Carol Ammons, and Representative Mike Marron; the Coal Ash Pollution Protection Act (SB9) passed the Illinois Senate and House and heads to the Governor’s desk for signature. The bill would ensure the EPA approves protective closure plans for coal ash impoundments. It gives the public a voice in decisions around coal ash, and it makes polluters pay for the clean up, not the taxpayers. This is a huge win for Illinois! The bill now awaits the Governor's signature, but you can help by writing the Governor today. Ask him to sign the bill !"
An Update from Produce
Assistant Produce Manager Anne Bargar tells us what to look forward to in July
"July is usually a time of great local bounty. Despite the wonkiness of the weather, I think we can probably look forward to tomatoes, eggplant, okra, a variety of peppers, potatoes, garlic, and onions all becoming available. In addition we should still have cucumbers, zucchini, green beans, and some greens around, although it's still hard to predict which ones. There should be some local fruit available as well."
Closing Early July 4th
Both the store and the Cafe hours are being effected
New Local Artist Pop-up Shops!
There will be a different artist every Saturday showcasing their artwork on the porch in July
Art Pop-up Shop: Chibi Levy
The talented 21 year old, Chibi-Levy aka Kymberlie, will be featuring her hand drawn artwork on the Co-op porch on Saturday July 6th, 9-12pm during Urbana's Market at the Square! Currently featured as an artist in our Co-op Art Gallery in our Flatlander Classroom, Chibi Levy will have artwork for sale as well as options to order prints of her original work. 

To read more about Chibi Levy and to see her artist statement, check out her feature on our website.
Art Pop-up Shop: Andalyn Hodge
13 year old artist, Andalyn has a goal to attend Art School for college and working her way to get there! This talented artist will be selling her artwork on the Co-op porch during Urbana's Market at the Square on Saturday, July 13th from 9-12pm. Stop by the co-op and support a young and talented artist with a great future ahead of her. 

Help us spread the word and bring along some cash to buy some Andalyn's hand drawn artwork. 
Art Pop-up Shop: Mary Margrave
Stop by our Porch on Saturday, July 20th from 9-12pm during Urbana's Market at the Square and shop at our Art Pop-up Shop featuring the artwork of local artist, Mary Margrave! 

Artwork will be available for purchase.
Book Pop-up Shop & Book Signing: Z Snyder
Join us on market Saturday, July 27th , where our Co-op owner and local author, Z Snyder will be selling copies of their book "The Witch" on our front porch. Have your newly purchased book signed by the author themselves! Help us support this talented queer author.

Cash is accepted for book purchases. The book will be sold for $5.

Here is the book's description:

When Marisa comes back to town after the sudden loss of her mother she inherits the house she grew up in, and a few of her mother's bible-thumping enemies as well. Little do they know, however, that no matter how much faith they put in their lord, they're no match for the powers of this witch.
Art Gallery Reception: Chibi Levi & George Hardebeck
The Art Gallery Reception is on Friday, July 19th.
Join us on Friday, July 19th from 5-7pm in our Flatlander Classroom to celebrate the two featured artists, Chibi Levi and George Hardebeck, whose artworks are featured in our Art Gallery. The Art Reception is open and free to all and Co-op beverages and food will be available for all attendees. Read the artists' statements here

Chibi Levi's prints of artwork will be available for purchase. Cash or card accepted.
The River and The Wall Film Screening at the Art Theater
Explore the potential impacts of a border wall on the natural environment
On Monday, July 15th, we are having a very special event, in partnership with the Art Theater, the Sierra Club, and Prairie Rivers Network, for a screening of The River and the Wall at the Art Theater. There will be a meet & greet and discussion with the organizations afterwards. Check out the trailer here.
New Class Series: Eating Seasonally--on a Budget!
Learn about this new free monthly class series led by Mia Hanneken
by Mia Hanneken

When we prioritize eating locally, we also prioritize eating seasonally. Seasonal food is freshest, tastiest, and healthiest, but it’s also something that’s been lost in the wake of the global food system. When we can buy winter greens in July and summer squash in December, we lose a special kind of understanding our ancestors used to live by. Seasonality is something the co-op is tackling this summer. In conjunction with The Land Connection’s Champaign Farmers Market, we’re re-launching the Cooking Healthy on a Budget classes!

The nature of Cooking Healthy on a Budget is, of course, showcasing low-cost recipes using co-op foods. The re-launch will continue this mission with an added layer: seasonal food. When produce is in season, it’s plentiful and able to be sold at a lower cost. This connection between budget-cooking and seasonal food is the perfect educational opportunity our owners expect from their co-op, and I am so pleased to be leading these classes in the coming months.

Each month will feature different in-season produce that can easily be found at both the farmers’ markets and Common Ground. Participants will learn three or more simple recipes using those ingredients in order to build confidence and familiarity with using seasonal foods. 

Best of all, these classes are completely free! Remember our Plant Sale and Food For All Round Up in May? Thanks to the funds you all raised, we are able to fund free classes to teach our neighbors how to prepare healthy meals and advance our food access efforts.

The next free Cooking Healthy on a Budget class is Wednesday, July 24th at 6:00 in the Flatlander Classroom. We’ll be learning all about cooking the abundant summer squash and eggplant. Hope to see you there!

Check out the line-up for other classes in the series here.
Farm Tour at Triple S Farms
Stan S. Schutte is the owner and farmer of Triple S Farms with the help of his kids, Ryan and Jannie
Here at the Co-op, Stan is a household name, known by our staff, owners, customers, farmers, and market goers on a first name basis. Stan S. Schutte is the owner and farmer of Triple S Farms in Stewardson, IL, seventy miles away from the Co-op with the help of his kids, Ryan and Jannie.

For over 30 years, Triple S Farms has built a name for themselves in kitchens around Central Illinois through tending to chickens, pigs, and cows raised on organically certified pastures. These field pastures are grown with the animals in mind, inherently nutritionally balanced to nourish the animals as they graze. The family also grows organically certified grains and row crops for supplemental food for the animals. You may already be familiar with the delicious Triple S Farm meats because Triple S has been our main source for Thanksgiving Turkeys, our continuous sponsor for summertime Chill and Grills, our co-host when the Co-op cooks on WCIA, a longtime farmer and board member for Urbana’s Market At the Square (and a vendor In the Square). The Schutte family works hard each day to ensure their land and soil are healthy and ecosystems are in tact. Healthy land will provide a prosperous space for their animals to be comfortable, well fed while they wander and run about. Stan says, “Our animals are our livelihood and we respect the part that they play on the farm. It is a symbiotic relationship where they rely on us, the animals rely on the soil and the soil relies on both of us.” 

Read more about our trip to Triple S Farms here.
New Items Around the Store
At the Cafe:
July Café feature:
  • NEW Blurazz Lemonade >>>
  • Only $1.99
  • Made with organic blueberries, organic raspberries, organic lemonade, & local, organic mint
Coming soon to our meat department:

New items are coming to our fresh meat case. Here are some of the brands that we're hoping to expand:
  • Thousand Hills
  • Thousand Hills strives to produce the best tasting, most nutritious beef you’ve ever tasted from its small herd of grassfed Red Angus cattle. Its cattle is always treated humanely and live their entire lives on pasture with a natural diet of grass, forages, and locally raised hay. Its beef is processed locally and marketed directly to customers in the local area.
  • Garrett Valley
  • Garrett Valley Farms meats never contain antibiotics, preservatives, growth hormones, or any man-made chemicals. It only works with farms that raise their animals stress-free and free-to-roam. These are the extra steps it takes to ensure the meat on your table is truly natural in every way.
  • The Piggery
  • The Piggery sustainably raises heritage pigs on pasture, then handcrafts fresh cuts and charcuterie. It also offers fresh chicken, beef and eggs from local, pasture based farms.

Grilling Season is in full effect! Here are some items to look out for this month:
  • Triple S Farms pork & all beef hot dogs at $9.99/lb 
  • Various flavors of Triple S Farms fresh bratwurst at $7.95/lb in the beginning and middle of July
  • Miller Amish Poultry chicken drumsticks on sale July 2-9 at $2.53/lb, while supplies last

New items in our cheese department:
  • Divina Blood Mary Olives (6.7 oz) & Divina Sweet Sangria Olives (6.3 oz) for $6.99
New at the Bakery:

  • Vegan-friendly chocolate espresso cake>>
  • Made with vegan raspberry frosting, house espresso, & seedless raspberry jam.
  • Co-op Honey Nut Granola
  • Made with organic oats, local honey, non-GMO canola oil, almonds, organic coconut, organic sunflower seeds, organic molasses, walnuts, sesame seeds, cashews, vanilla extract, & sea salt
  • Blueberry pie
  • Wheat-free & made from scratch, making its debut during the 4th of July pie sale

The Co-op Bakery will also have $1 off Co-op Made whole pies for the week of July 2-9

Our Co-op Bakery is located in the Co-op Kitchen, where all of our delicious Co-op foods are made from scratch, with love, with local and organic ingredients whenever possible.
Smile Politely reviews our Grab & Go section
Below is an excerpt of the article titled "Common Ground has you covered when you forget your lunch" - you can  read the full article here .

"Vegan, vegetarians, gluten-free folks, and others with dietary restrictions will find something in the grab and go cases. And the staff is always friendly, helpful, and willing to answer any questions or concerns you may have. Common Ground has seating inside, picnic tables outdoors, and all of these selections are perfect to take back to work or home. I appreciate the value and prices at Common Ground. You can eat healthy meals, with some locally-sourced ingredients, for under $10 a person, and have leftovers to toss in your work fridge and leave until the next day. If you can control yourself.
June Round Up: Eastern Illinois Foodbank
An update on the June Round Up

In June together we raised over $3800 for
Eastern Illinois Foodbank and contributed towards its efforts to be the primary food source for food pantries, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, and other programs working to feed our hungry neighbors. The Annual Ice Cream Social Fundraiser was also a huge success, its proceeds contributing over $1300 to the program in addition to Round Up For Good.

Round Up For Good is a call-to-action inspired program, which began in February 2010 when Common Ground owners expressed a desire to help fund the relief of the earthquake in Haiti. Since then, the program has transformed into a community-focused ongoing effort to help fund local organizations that are selected democratically by store owners.

July Round Up: Prairie Rivers Network
Prairie Rivers Network promotes the restoration of polluted rivers and the preservation of pristine rivers - with the goal of safeguarding resources for future generations.

This local organization works for native river populations of fish and riverside wildlife, as well as rivers able to function as floodwater protection and rivers providing safe drinking water.

It is Illinois' only statewide river conservation organization, and the state affiliate of National Wildlife Federation.

July Classes & Events

See what's new for the month of July in our classes email.

You can always sign up online or in store and classes are listed on the class calendar.
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 July. May not be reused or used for sale items, Co-op Basics, or alcohol.