March 2019
Is it Spring yet?
In this month's newsletter:

  • A Word from the General Manager
  • Board Visioning Update
  • March Owner Appreciation Days
  • Two Friday Feasts for the Month of March
  • CSA Fair
  • Edible Book Festival
  • This Month's Meal Kit
  • Call For Local Artists
  • Art Gallery Reception
  • Introducing: CU Wild Food Club
  • This Year's FinMoo
  • Plant Sale Needs Volunteers
  • New Items
  • Humans of the Co-op
  • In the Media: A Brighter Future Starts with Today
  • Round Up For Good
  • Kitties of the Co-op
  • Upcoming Classes
From the GM
Gary Taylor, General Manager
Read Gary's March piece on activities and events to look forward to this month, including Owner Appreciation Days, Friday Feast, and this year's FinMOO.
Board Visioning Update
An update from Board Member Evelyne Tardy
March 2019

"Hello! As I think about what March brings, I think of spring, and new beginnings. This is synergistic with Common Ground Food Coop in so many respects. My first few months serving on the board have been a productive fresh start for me with deepening my commitment to healthy living and aiming to make the world a better place, starting in my community. It has also been inspiring in that I’ve learned so much more about our wonderful Co-op. The dedication and work pouring out from staff, owners, and the community is so readily apparent! Whether tabling at the store, mingling at events, teaching classes, attending classes, and chairing a Co-op Vision Group, I am constantly impressed by the many facets that make up Common Ground. Each part requires flexibility, creativity, a concern for our community, and a desire for a kinder, more compassionate world..."

The next meeting of the Board of Directors is Monday, March 11 from 6:15 to 8:15 pm at First United Methodist Church of Urbana. Owners are welcome and encouraged to attend.
Owner Appreciation Days
The first Owner Appreciation Days of 2019 are here!
Between March 7 and March 10, owners can enjoy 10% off during a shopping trip, along with amazing store-wide sales, available from store open to close! You'll also have the opportunity to meet some local farmers and producers, while they sample their unique products!

Check out the event page for a complete line-up of samples and events.
Friday Feast: Double the Affordable Meals
Corned Beef, and Cabbage, and Vegan Gyros...Oh my!
The month of March features TWO Friday Feast events!
The first Friday Feast is Friday, March 15th, from 5 to 7 pm near the Café! We're serving a Corned Beef & Cabbage dinner in honor of St. Patrick's Day.

The Second Friday Feast is Friday, March 29th, from 5 to 7 pm near the Café. We will be serving Vegan Gyros.

Friday Feast is a monthly Co-op event, which features a meal that is healthy, delicious, and affordable. Each meal will incorporate local and seasonal food and typicall include a meat and vegan option. The recipe from the Vegan Gyros will be made available as the Meal Kit of April, to be made at home.
CSA Fair
Contribute to Community Supported Agriculture
Join us for the 5th annual Community Supported Agiculture (CSA) Fair on Saturday, March 16th from 8am-12pm at the Market IN the Square, located in the mall hallway.

At the CSA Fair, customers will have the opportunity to meet local farmers and businesses that offer CSA programs and buying clubs, learn about their farms or businesses, and select a share or club that best meets their needs! They can also buy products from many of the vendors that will be selling at the Market.

Using the CSA business method, farms offer fresh food products through annual subscriptions, or a flat fee, that a customer pays for upfront once a year in exchange for a portion of those farmers’ products. The products are then delivered weekly or monthly to a central pick-up location or made available for pick up at Urbana-Champaign farmers' markets.

If you're interested in being a vendor, you can register here. There is a $15 registration fee.
Edible Book Festival
Eat your words
Stop by the 14th annual Edible Book Festival on Saturday, April 6th from 11:30AM-1PM in the Lincoln Square Mall Hallway. This quirky festival celebrates literature, gastronomy, and community. It is held on or around April Fool's Day every year and it is "the perfect day to eat your words." This event is hosted by the University Library in collaboration with the Co-op and the Eastern Illinois Foodbank.
You can register here.

March Meal Kit: Shepherd's Pie
Each month you can order a 4-serving Meal Kit and pick it up on the designated day. We shop for all of the ingredients and you bring it home to cook.

This month’s recipe features both a meat and vegan adaptation of Shepherd's Pie, a traditional meal for both Ireland and England.

Pick-up date is Wednesday, March 20th, from 10 am and 6 pm in the Flatlander Classroom.

Order your kit online here .
Call for Local Artists
Apply by March 14th
Apply to show your artwork here at the Co-op! We are looking to feature many local artists who work with a variety of different media in our art gallery, located in our highly utilized Flatlander Classroom. This multi-use classroom is ideal for integrating the arts into an urban environment and creating partnerships among artists, the community, and the Co-op.

Selected artists will be invited to install their artwork alongside another local artist, for two months.

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, biodiversity & ecology, food system & farmers, and inclusive messages to share with others. 

Find more info and apply here.

Art Gallery Reception
The Art Gallery Reception is March 18th
Join us in celebrating two local artists, Sarah Meadows and Jacob Dilley, for an Art Gallery Reception on Monday March 18th, from 4-6pm. Meet the local artists and see their artwork in person. Light refreshments and beverages will be free in the classroom during the Art Gallery event! Hope to see you there! Read more about our local artists here .
Introducing: CU Wild Food Club
Foragers Unite!
Have you ever stared at an unidentified plant and wondered, "can I eat that?" Often dismissed as childhood folly, such notions are actually a deeply human impulse.

Curious? Stop by the Flatlander Classroom on March 31st at 2pm for the kickoff meeting of CU Wild Food Club , a new community group dedicated to the study and promotion of local wild food resources. All ages and ability levels are welcome. Meetings will be monthly.

Questions? Reach out !
Financial Meeting of Owners (FinMOO)
This year's FinMoo is on April 16th.
Save the date! This year's Financial Meeting of Owners will take place on Tuesday, April 16th, from 6-8 pm at the Independent Media Center.
Volunteer to Grow Plants with Us
The Plant Sale is Saturday, May 4th
Calling all volunteers and plant lovers!

We need your help to grow seedlings for our 11th Annual Plant Sale Fundraiser , which takes place on Saturday, May 4th. We provide the seeds and cells and you provide the soil, lights, and care!

The success of the plant sale is very important to us and the community, as our Food for All program is made possible through most of its proceeds. Food for All funds equity grants, food discounts, and class discounts for those in need of financial assistance.

Keep an eye out for more information and save the date: Saturday, May 4th.

Want to volunteer to grow seedlings? Email us!
New Items Around the Store
March Café feature: Irish Cream Latte
  • Made with Co-op Made Irish cream syrup
  • Topped with Co-op Made whipped cream
  • 12 oz $4.49
  • 16 oz $4.99
Also at the Cafe:
  • Corned Beef Reuben Sandwich ($8.50)
  • Made with sliced Triple S Farms corned beef on Great Harvest's pumpernickel rye hoagie
  • Garnished with organic sauerkraut
  • Topped with Co-Op Made Thousand Island Dressing
  • Choose from either Ropp's Baby Swiss Cheese or a more vegan option
New meat and cheese items
  • Triple S Farms Corned Beef Brisket ($9.99 lb)
  • Tipperary Irish Cheddar (12.99 lb)
  • Located in Co. Tipperary, Ireland
  • Aged over 12 months
  • Has a rich, creamy texture and a delicious, sharp taste
  • Cahill's Whiskey Cheddar ($15.75 lb)
  • Made with pasteurized sheep's and cow's milk
  • Mixed with Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey
  • Matured for nine months
  • Has a smooth and rich taste, easily enjoyed with fruit or on a sandwich

Co-op Bakery:
New Items
  • Broccoli & Cheddar Crustless Quiche
  • Made with local eggs and cheese
Returning Items
  • Irish Soda Bread (Back for March!)
  • Co-op Made from Scratch
  • $1 off for owner days
  • (An owner favorite!)
  • Jerk Style Seitan with Coconut Rice
  • Co-op Made from Scratch
  • Jamaican-Style Blended Seasonings
  • Vegan
  • (A staff favorite!)

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.
New seed varieties from Seed Savers Exchange:
  • Located in Decorah, IA
  • Three different kinds of milkweeds
  • Flower varieties for pollinators
  • $2.69/ea

As a nonprofit, Seed Savers Exchange aims to conserve and promote America’s culturally diverse but endangered garden and food crop heritage for future generations by collecting, growing, and sharing heirloom seeds and plants.
Green Mountain CBD Has A New Name
"Green Mountain CBD has changed its name to Sunsoil! This means that our name and logo are different, but our fundamental mission remains to bring the most good to the most people by increasing the accessibility and availability of high quality, full spectrum CBD products."
Learn more about this change here.
韦姝然 Shuran (founder of @WithSeason, owner #12340)
"I was born in Inner Mongolia where there used to be countless stars in sky at night and the most beautiful grassland in China. But everything changed due to the pollution which motivated my initial interests in studying Environmental Engineering at U of I. I hope to hope to bring the clean sky and water back to my hometown so I started the idea to encourage people having a more sustainable lifestyle. With Season is to motivate and encourage people on different ways to practice sustainability. For example, we support local farms and encourage people to buy seasonal food for cooking; shopping with non-packaging to reduce waste. I also want to share the idea that cooking a meal is not only a sustainable way of living, but also to encourage people spending some time with friends and families. We are getting too busy either on studying or working so I wish everyone to have some time to slow down and enjoy the moment with our loved ones."

Visit the Humans of the Co-op website for the entire interview and to see all our Humans.
A Brighter Future Starts with Today
February brought with it the lasting effects from one of the longest government shutdowns in U.S. history. Unprepared for the flood of problems which followed the crisis that took America by storm last January, it became increasingly apparent just how important it is to make sure that as a community of people, we're creating or contributing to ways in which we're able to promote environmental sustainability and self-preservation.

Much of the talk of February seemed to revolve around damage control, after realizing that the U.S. Food System is just one unplanned disaster away from being an economic crisis. In this conversation, one of the areas recognized as being in need of investments that would lead to a brighter future, in relation to the food system, were the 12 percent of Americans who live with a more permanent food insecurity than the furloughed government workers who joined them at food banks in January. Another area was the food insecurity and lack of proper nutrition experienced by college students . Two additional areas worthy of ensuring preservation and environmental sustainability were protecting the many varieties of plants through the establishment of a community seed bank , and protecting the many varieties of people by keeping alive aspects of the rich cultures of our Indigenous populations.

  • Senior director of programs at WhyHunger, Alison Cohen, and co-founder of the Community Food Security Coalition, Andrew Fisher, suggest that in order to promote a food system which speaks to the preservation of the 46 million people who are forced to rely on charity to feed their families, the following policy changes are needed:
  • "Rather than the federal government outsourcing to charities its response to hunger, we would like to see policy changes that make the need for food banks obsolete: increased SNAP allocations, a $15 minimum wage, more affordable housing and childcare, universal healthcare, stronger labor laws, and healthier school meals."
  • In relation to school meals our own self-preservation, Hilary Seligman, an associate professor at the University of California-San Francisco is addressing the joke of the 'starving student' and bringing light to the fact that it masks their most important daily problem to solve: food insecurity on campus. This problem, of course, makes it difficult to focus on coursework and other college-related challenges that they face, and consequently works against promoting the success of students in higher education. Seligman encourages us to invest in the food security of this population:
  • "If we can invest in our students now so that they are more likely to excel in school and more likely to graduate and more likely to become self-sufficient after graduation, that puts their children at reduced risk of becoming food-insecure in the future."
  • Another important aspect of self-preservation worth considering is the preservation of culture. Two indigenous chefs, Vincent Medina and Louis Trevino are working to do just that, while celebrating their heritage through the revival of their native cuisines. They believe that Café Ohlone, from which they bring these traditional recipes to life, is helping to repair damages from colonization and keep their culture alive:
  • “Whether an elder or a young person, when they ate the acorn for the first time, there was this look people had: of feeling proud, of being able to eat that and to know it was something familiar, even if it was their first taste of it.”
  • In relation to environmental conservation, Ballarat gardeners are working to create a community seed bank to store and share different varieties of seeds. This is because seed bank organizer Noel Schutz believes that the lack of seed saving is reducing the number of varieties of fruits and vegetables. This means that if a disease outbreak or natural disaster was to occur, there wouldn't be enough variations of these fruits and vegetables to have the resistance required of them being wiped out, which impacts food security. Perhaps this same idea could be worth considering for the U.S. Schutz explains the importance of preserving these varieties of these fruits and vegetables in protecting food security:
  • “Of the thousands of varieties that used to be grown we have had a severe bottle neck effect where only the most productive for commercial use have been saved. Should there be a major disease outbreak in the future the genetics just won’t be there that have resistance. If we have different varieties there is something to adapt to.”
Overall, February showed us how, when faced with the aftermath following a crisis, it is important to focus on what we can do to protect our futures and make sure that both the environment and our future generations withstand the test of time. Accomplishing this, of course, starts with what we do today.

If you're interested in reading more on the subject, here are a few different articles:
Round Up for Good Update
2019 Round Up is off to a good start

  • Last January, you helped raise $3,711.78 for Daily Bread Soup Kitchen. Its mission is to "feed the hungry of Champaign-Urbana in a safe and inviting environment with a spirit of unconditional positive regard, respect, and compassion for every human being."
Thank you for helping such a worthy cause.

  • In February, together we raised over $3,500 for the Champaign County Humane Society and contributed towards its efforts to “instill respect, kindness, and compassion for animals as community values." It's your compassion and willingness that allows Round Up For Good to continue supporting these amazing local organizations.

The Importance of Round Up For Good
Help us foster a vibrant, inclusive community

  • 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.

March: Rape Advocacy, Counseling, and Education Services

R.A.C.E.S. is celebrating its 45th-year anniversary this March!

This organization   is the community-based rape crisis center serving East-Central Illinois, providing free, confidential services to anyone who has been affected by sexual assault, abuse, or harassment.

It is now temporarily located on the first floor of Lincoln Square Mall, Suite 154C.

R.A.C.E.S' mission is “ to challenge the rape culture and empower victims and survivors of sexual violence through advocacy, counseling, education, crisis intervention, and activism. "

In addition to this, R.A.C.E.S:
  • Works with non-offending significant others, allied professionals, and the community at large to end all forms of sexual violence
  • Believes that working with to end sexual violence is essential to building a world free of all forms of oppression

You can also become a community partner and donate; visit
While we round up for R.A.C.E.S., we're also continuing our efforts to find forever homes for the long-term shelter animals of Champaign County Humane Society.
Kitties of the Co-op:
Could you or someone you know be her forever home?
Peggy is an eight-year-old gorgeous tortie who is looking for a relaxing home where she can lounge the day away in the comfort of a cat bed. With her larger size, Peggy will certainly keep your lap, and possibly the rest of you, warm throughout the long Illinois winters. She lived peacefully with other cats in her previous home and would do wonderfully in a quiet home.

Stop by the Champaign County Humane Society and adopt this little cutie.

Also, an update on Samantha AND Frankie, our February Kitties of the Co-op: THEY'VE BEEN ADOPTED!
March Classes & Events

See what's new for the month of March 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 February. May not be reused or used for sale items, Co-op Basics, or alcohol.