From The Ground Up
Common Ground's Monthly E-Newsletter
May 1, 2016 
PLANT SALE MAY 7th, 7am-12pm!

This will be our 8th Annual Plant Sale this year happening on May 7th from 7am to Noon on our Co-op Porch! Also it is the first Market at the Square of the Season! Seedling plants are $2 dollars each and the 11th plant purchased is free!

All of the proceeds raised at the Plant Sale will go to our Common Ground Food For All Program that provides access to healthy and affordable food for all of our community! We will have Food For All information at the plant sale, so stop by to hear more and sign up! Last year we raised over $3,000 for our Food For All Program!

All of the plants have been grown with care by wonderful folks from Green Pantry Nursery, Blue Moon Farm, PrairiErth Farm, Green Island Farm Collective, Prosperity Gardens, and Midwest Agriculture & Restoration Services! Thank you wonderful growers! You made this possible!

Plant list includes:
-Broccoli, Kale, Rainbow Chard, and Cauliflower
-Oregano, Dill, Cilantro, Thai Basil, Thyme, and Genovese  Basil
-Watermelon, Cantaloupe, and Squash
-Many varieties of Tomatoes
-Several varieties of Pole and Bush Beans

May is the month that we focus on strengthening our Food For All program. FFA is our food accessibility program that incentivizes making healthy food affordable for all people in our community. The core components of our FFA program include our Co-op Basics List, Owner Equity Grants, a 10% store-wide discounts, free health/budget conscious classes, and our quick and healthy FFA recipes.

-Co-op Basics includes a list of over 200 staple pantry items from oils, grains, proteins, to lunch snacks that at everyday low prices.

-For those who are new to the Co-op and want ownership, we offer Owner Equity Grants from our FFA program that waives the $60 equity fee for those who believe they need an additional support to eating healthier food. A 10% store wide discount is also available for those that are eligible!

-For the entire month of May we highlight our Food For All Program as the featured program for Round Up for Good. Customers can round up their grocery purchase to the next dollar and have their change be donated towards the Round Up program of the month. Paired with the Bag incentive Program which donates 10 cents when reusable bags are used, fundraising for Food For All has become stronger!

-We are hosting our 8th annual Plant Sale on Saturday, May 7th on the our Porch from 7am-Noon. All plants will be $2 or less. The plants have been grown by local farmers and treated with care. All proceeds will be donated to our Food For All program! Come stock up on seedlings and reap the rewards of a strong garden and strong community enrichment.

-Our second trimester of classes are now available! Check out our website for new Food For All Classes for this year. We offer grants on all of our classes, so let us know if you would like to sign up! Here is our class list!

Thank you to all the owners who took time out of a gorgeous Saturday afternoon on April 23 to attend the Fin MOO (Financial Meeting of Owners)! As Board treasurer, I was responsible for presenting the 2015 financials to owners and this year we had many exciting things to share. Our total sales and gross profit were higher than in 2014, owner equity increased, base wages for workers increased to $10/hour, and we had a net profit!

These are all signs of financial strength, and we are confident that the Champaign store project will make our co-op even stronger, both financially and as a community. Our General Manager, Satina Braswell, also presented at the meeting detailing 2015's progress towards each of our four Ends and sharing projections of the impacts we could have by 2018 with two sites in operation. If you missed the meeting, the 2015 Impacts Report is available in the Urbana store by the welcome desk.

Other exciting financial news is that 2015 was the first time in the over forty years of Common Ground that we have had a complete audit of our financials. The Board decided to do an external audit this year based on our volume of sales, change in General Manager, and planned expansion. An audit is more detailed than the reviews that we have been conducting annually and focuses more on the processes by which financial matters are handled, offering suggestions to improve processes and spot-checking for accuracy. Although the report from the auditors is not yet complete, their initial feedback has been positive.

We encourage you to engage with the board! You can have coffee with us on the first Saturday of the month - that's May 7 - from 10am to noon in the classroom, or join us for the monthly board meeting on May 9th at 6:15pm in the conference room in Lincoln Square. We highly recommend attending a board meeting this summer if you are considering running for the board during the fall election cycle.

-Magdalena Casper-Shipp, Board Treasurer

Cooks and bakers agree that the best secret of cooking is the use of fresh ingredients. Even the simplest recipes will become outstanding when locally-sourced and freshly-grown produce are used. A great exemplum for this is our bakery department. We attribute our success to our talented bakers as well as Brian Severson Farm, a local mill from Dwight, IL that grows and mills fresh grains for the Central Illinois area.

Brian Severson Farms produces oats, wheat, buckwheat, specialty corn including popcorn, as well as corn and soybeans for animal feed. They clean, roll and stone grind the grains on their farm and distribute the grains to their CSA as well as local groceries close to town. Brian Severson and family take pride in providing high-quality grains to the local community. They are a family-operated business consisting of six family members with support in summer from family friends.

To Brian, grain production comes naturally. He states that he's been involved with his family's farm, "ever since I was old enough to push in a clutch on a tractor." He reminisces about learning useful tricks from his grandfather and how much the practices he learned as a child align with organic production. Brian Severson Farms is organically certified and he says it's pretty rewarding. The only difficult part about organic certification are knowing all of the rules and keeping track of all the paperwork.

Saving seeds are important to Brian Severson Farm and they practice saving as many seeds as they can. As a tip for gardeners trying to grow sweet corn this year, he recommends to harvest the corn in the early morning while still cool and place on ice to bring down the temperature of the corn.

We love Brian Severson Farm so much that we are having a sale on all their products in the bulk aisle. Save 25% off on all Severson grains and flours from May 2 to May 8th.

(Photo Courtesy of Severson Family)

May might be our favorite month around here.

Local asparagus is in full swing, the Market at the Square is revving up, and we get the  chance to show our owners some  love!

Mark your calendars for May 11-15, because this month's Owner Appreciation Days!

We will feature fresh one-day deals you won't want to miss, including half price hummus, two buck organic strawberries, and buy one get one free local goat cheese, to name a few. Not an owner? There's no better time to join us!

One of the central pillars of our Food For All program, that we take great pride in, is the goal of providing our co-op owners and members of the broader community with educational opportunities to learn about the value of eating fresh, locally produced food.

Throughout the year, we make an effort to provide a number of different classes in our Flatlander Classroom free of cost to the public that can provide the skills needed to eat healthy and stick to a limited budget. Whether you're interested in learning how to set up your home kitchen, the basics of buying in bulk, meal planning, or cooking healthy on a budget, we've got you covered! This summer, be on the lookout for some exciting Cooking Healthy on a Budget classes, where you can learn how to make some delicious recipes that will be a big hit with your family without breaking the bank.

-Brad Olson, Education Supervisor
 (Photo Courtesy of Sam Logan)

Would you like to see Common Ground's accomplishments last year?

Interested in seeing how we are meeting our ends?  Stop by the welcome desk and take a 2015 Impacts Report!

Need a Sneak Peak? 
Last year, we produced over $1,070,000 dollars for regional businesses, donated $28,263 through Round Up For Good, and had a 63% increase in our Food For All Participants!

See for yourself how the Co-op is improving the local economy and our neighborhoods! 

We had over 550 submissions so far from customers and owners and we wanted to say how much we appreciate you for giving your valuable and thoughtful feedback about our store.

We have already begun to analyze the results and love reading your recommendations on how to be better. We will be improving very soon in many of these areas you've mentioned!

Also, a special thanks goes out to all those who put in effort to complete the survey and encountered any trouble with our survey website. We are sorry about any inconvenience you have experienced and are grateful to have wonderful people like you as a part of our community. 
  Thanks for reading our newsletter! Enjoy your savings and see you next month!    
This coupon is valid for the month of May only. It can be printed or presented on smart device at time of purchase. Limit one coupon per customer. Applies to all store items besides those that are on sale or considered Co-op Basics.
Common Ground Food Co-op 
300 S. Broadway Ave, Urbana, IL, 61801
In This Issue

Fruit Bliss Dried Fruit Medley SALE $3.69

See the full Owner Deals list here!
Upcoming Board Events

Free coffee with the Board on Saturday, May 7th, 10am-12pm in the Flatlander Classroom!

Meeting on Monday,  May 9th,  from 6:15-8:15pm in the Lincoln Square Conference Center.
Food For All Plant Sale
Saturday May 7th,
7am-12pm. Get local plants for your garden!

Owner Days Are Coming!  
Stop in and save from  
May 11th-May 15th!
Prosperity Gardens

Thank you for helping to raise $4,139.57 for Prosperity Gardens for the month of April. Check out their website here to learn about ways to continue your support.

Bag Incentive Total will be announced by May 5th on Facebook!
Food For All Program

For the entire month of May, we will feature our Food For All Program in Round Up For Good! This is our community- supported, food accessibility program open to everyone!

Want us to reach out to your neighborhood to talk about healthy food?  Contact us about your community events coming up!
Cool and Fresh

The Market season is beginning and the Deli will once again offer grab & go iced drinks on Saturday mornings.  So, take a break from the heat and the crowds to snap up one of our delicious iced coffees, teas, or lemonade!

This month the Deli Counter will feature Strawberry Lemonade and a Goat Cheese and Roasted Vegetable Sandwich (made with local Prairie Fruits Farm chevre!). 

Also, look for gazpacho, iced cookies, salsas, dips, and deli salads perfect for Memorial Day picnics. Make the Co-op your go-to place for cool and fresh flavors in May!
Best Soil In Town

Does your garden or potted plants need livened up with rich soil this growing season, but you dislike the quality of bagged potting soil? Look no further than Urbana's Landscape Recycling Center.

Located off of University Ave and close to the Co-op, you can ask for their Bucket Deal and pay $15 dollars to get an unlimited amount of compost soil for the entire year. Invest in the work of your local recycling center and walk away with the best quality soil you could dream of: rich, black soil that was created from the collective landscape materials from here in C-U! Your garden will thank you for it!
Jarah's Naturals
We are proud to introduce Jarah's Naturals, a new line of local natural skin care products handmade by Jarah O'Brien in LeRoy, 37 miles northwest of Urbana.

You can now find coconut-ginger-almond and cool-citrus-herb bar soaps and some unique lip and body butter sticks in two scents, spearmint and cinnamon-ginger-mint.

Want to know more? Come in and meet Jarah on Thursday, May 12 th  from  10 am to 1 pm during Owner Appreciation Days!
Gratitude Day At
Urbana Civic Center
Come to the 1st Annual Day of Gratitude Celebration on Thursday May 26th, from 6:30 to 8:30 at the Urbana Civic Center. 

With entertainment and refreshments served, the community will be focusing on coming together to show how gratitude influences the community. 

All members of the community are welcome and appreciated. Share your perspective on gratitude and meet our diverse community!

For more information contact: asalaam@integmot.com
Fun Summer Camps For Kids!
Pollen Power Summer Camp 
June 27-July 1
(for m iddle school girls)

Contact Courtney Cox, Camp Coordinator pollenpower@igb.illinois.edu or 217-300-8870

Kid's Summer Art Camp
(ages 6-9)

3D & SCALE July 5-July 8

MAPS & PLACE July 11- July 15

Contact Lara Orr at larajobester@gmail.com
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