March 2020
  • Featuring News On Our Updated Cafe, The Effects of Shopping Local, March Owner Days, and More!
In this month's newsletter:
  • A Word from the GM
  • A Word from Your Board
  • March Owner Appreciation Days
  • CSA Fair
  • Co-op Seed Swap
  • Cafe Menu Updates
  • Strengthening the Co-operative Movement
  • Top Ten Brunch Items
  • Final Call for Local Artists
  • Art Gallery Reception: Blessing Tshimankinda & Reneeta Mack
  • 15th Annual Edible Book Festival
  • New Items
  • Round Up for Good
  • March Classes & Events
From the GM
Gary Taylor, General Manager
Read Gary's piece on the updates being made to our cafe and its menu.
The Effects of Shopping Local On Your Friends & Neighbors
Board Director Rey Dalitto reminds us of the importance of shopping local
When my husband and I moved here, we joined the Co-op because it is locally owned and stocks local products, which helps bring the community together and allows people to make a difference.

Small local farms and businesses are excellent for the economy because they create jobs. By supporting local producers, you contribute to helping your friends, neighbors and other community members find sustainable employment. In addition, they often develop a close network between themselves, and their local buyers. This builds relationships among community members, which fosters a sense of belonging and togetherness within the community.

This extends beyond local food. Other small local businesses play a vital role in job creation. Buying from local businesses helps employment levels stay more stable and may even create more opportunities for residents to work in the community.

When dollars are spent locally, they can be re-spent locally, raising the overall level of economic activity and paying more salaries. This re-circulating of money leads to an increase in economic activity, with expanse dependent on the percentage of money spent locally. Significantly more money re-circulates locally when purchases are made at the locally owned business. This recirculation is attributed, in part, to locally owned businesses purchasing more often from other local businesses, service providers and farms. Purchasing locally helps other businesses grow.

Four ways in which a business keeps money local are wages and benefits paid to residents, profits earned by local owners, the purchases of local goods and services for resale and internal use, and contributions to local nonprofits with studies showing that small businesses donate more than twice as much per sales dollar to local non-profits, events and teams compared to big businesses. Consistently, locally owned businesses exceed their chain competitors in all four ways.

On average, for every $100 in consumer spending with a locally owned business, an average of $73 remains in the local economy. The remaining $73 is then dispersed locally in the form of wages, charitable donations, taxes that fund city services, and purchases of goods and services from other local businesses. Contrast this to the effects of consumer spending at a non-locally owned business. For every $100 spent, only $43 remains in the local economy.

Money spent in a community is re-spent several times in that community This spending happens in multiple layers: spending done by a business in the local economy to operate the business, including paying employees and local taxes; then the money that those local businesses spent at other area businesses re-circulates in our local economy; and finally there is consumer spending which happens when employees, business owners, and others spend their income in the local economy. This economic multiplier effect creates additional jobs in our communities — plumbers, electricians, retailers, service industries, hairstylists, teachers, accountants, etc. Those jobs form the critical mass required to not only keep and create jobs locally but to maintain vibrant, healthy communities with shops, restaurants, hospitals, schools and a wide range of recreational and cultural opportunities.

Besides helping local small farms survive for future generations, buying local helps maintain other small businesses and helps keep the unique character of our communities.

Rey Dalitto
The next meeting of the Board of Directors is Monday, March 9th, from 6:15 to 8:15 pm. All Board meetings moving forward will be located in our Flatlander Classroom.
March Owner Appreciation Days Are Almost Here
These Owner Days are giving you something new and exciting to look forward to
We're celebrating our community-owned food co-op with Owner Appreciation Days, Thursday March 5 - Sunday March 8, where all owners will receive 10% their shopping trip of their choice, get amazing deals, local samplings, cooking classes, and much more!
Here's the sample schedule:
4:30-6:30pm: Free Wine & Beer Samples

4:30-6:30pm: Free Wine & Beer Samples

9-11am: Mad Goat Coffee local roasted coffee samples
12-2pm: Free Wine & Beer Samples

11-1pm: Triple S Farms
Check out these awesome events happening during OAD
Thu, Mar 5, 2020 6:00 PM CST
Homemade Dog Treats
Common Ground Food Co-op, Urbana
We can all agree our pups quickly become one of the family, so why not feed them like it!? If your furry friend is one of your children, attend this make-and-take class taught by Board Member and Co-op Owner, Evelyne Tardy, and learn a tasty recipe for homemade dog biscuits. Save them for the fur babies in your life or gift them to your dog lover friends!
This class includes homemade dog treats to take home.
Tickets are $10 owners / $15 non-owners
Sat, Mar 7, 2020 8:00 AM CST
CSA Fair
Lincoln Square Mall, Urbana
At the CSA Fair, the community 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.
With the CSA method of doing business, 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.
The CSA Fair is FREE to attend.
Sat, Mar 7, 2020 10:00 AM CST
Co-op Seed Swap
Lincoln Square Mall, Urbana
It’s time to start planning your garden and trading seeds with your neighbors! Join us for our annual  Co-op Seed Swap  on Saturday March 7th from 10-1pm in the Co-op Mall Hallway. Bring seeds to share and/or pick seeds to take home to plant this growing season. We’ll also have a tips and tricks on successful seed starting, sowing techniques, and transplanting. Whether you're starting a pollinator flower patch or a vegetable garden, stock up on unique seeds you'll enjoy watching grow.
The event is FREE and we usually have hundreds of seed packets to share.
New Cafe Menu Options Coming Soon
Our refreshed cafe menu is making its debut during March Owner Days
Strengthening the Co-operative Movement
The importance of supporting co-operatives on a local and national level
Did you know you can support tons of co-ops all in one shopping trip? Not only does your purchase benefit your local food co-op, but you can choose specific products that support national and international co-ops, too. But why is it important to support co-operatives? 

Let’s start with Common Ground. Any purchase made at Common Ground not only supports your local co-op, but it benefits the community as a whole. Whether your dollar is going to one of our 97 local producers, to Round Up For Good, or to staff pay and benefits, Common Ground keeps more money in the local area than the grocery industry standard.

Common Ground also provides more than groceries! Since 2012, we’ve sold prepared foods in our Grab n’ Go cooler and made-to-order foods in our Cafe. This includes hot sandwiches, made-from-scratch soups, and signature pizzas. The Co-op also boasts of a renowned in-house bakery that gives shoppers fresh pastries and baked goods daily. All Co-op made foods utilize local and organic ingredients whenever possible. The Cafe, soup & salad bar, or Grab n’ Go cooler is the ideal spot for before-work breakfast, lunch breaks, and quick dinner meals when you just don’t feel like cooking. 

Aside from our in-house made goodies, Common Ground carries products from other cooperatives as well. The Co-op invested $242,517.00 in other co-operative businesses throughout 2019. We carry countless dairy products from Organic Valley, among the largest dairy co-ops in the world; high quality soaps from Alafia, a personal care cooperative originating in Togo; fair-trade teas from Equal Exchange; organic & fair-trade coffee from regional producer, Just Coffee; and even more! Plus, nearly all our bulk herbs and spices are sourced from a regional co-op located in Iowa, Frontier Co-op. 

When you can’t find something locally made, try finding it cooperatively made! Whether it’s cream cheese from Organic Valley or a pinch of cumin from Frontier, Common Ground seeks to support other cooperatives throughout the store. When you shop co-op, you support the fair treatment of workers, responsibly sourced products, and--like our Ends state--strengthen the co-operative movement.
Top Ten Brunch Items
Mia shared with us some of her favorite brunch items to buy at the Co-op
Cielo Prosecco
Can you even call it brunch without a classic mimosa? Cielo Prosecco is an ideal choice for whatever flavor mimosa you make, but you’ll get major bonus points if you pair it with Ceres Passionfruit Juice.

Funks Grove Pancake Mix
Funks Grove knows how to Brunch with this delicious pancake mix. Every pancake comes out ultra fluffy for the most satisfying cake you can imagine.

Maple Valley Cooperative Maple Syrup
We’re all about supporting fellow cooperative businesses, especially when their products are as delicious as Maple Valley’s syrup. Pairs great with Funks Grove Pancake Mix.

Colectivo’s Sisters Coffee
There’s no brunch without coffee. Colectivo’s Sisters coffee is a women-produced, organic coffee. Sisters is a blend of coffees produced by women in Latin America, Africa, and Indonesia. Support a great cause while enjoying your cup of joe!

Common Ground Bakery’s Chocolate Espresso Coffee Cake
Maybe cooking for brunch isn’t your bag. In that case, Common Ground’s bakery has you covered. The chocolate espresso coffee cake is melt-in-your-mouth delicious, made from scratch, and a definite hit for your brunch crew.

Moore Family Farm Eggs
Moore Family Farm is known for their incredible eggs. Fry them sunny side up or make a tasty frittata, these eggs should be your go-to for any eggy brunch dish.

Triple S Farms Pepper Bacon
You can’t go wrong with local, humanely-raised, certified organic bacon. Triple S makes sure their meats are the highest quality possible, and you can taste it! Their pepper bacon is the perfect complement to that frittata or makes a great sweet-and-salty pairing with Maple Valley syrup.

Blue Moon Spinach
Add it to that frittata or make a simple side salad to freshen up your brunch menu. Blue Moon Farm supplies Common Ground with year-round local spinach that is the perfect edition to any meal.

Central Illinois Bakehouse Sourdough
This bread is so tasty and so versatile. Make it into French toast (tip: use those Moore Family Farm eggs!!) or the most decadent avocado toast possible (we recommend our organic avocados, topped with gorgeous edible flowers from Delight Flower Farm--coming this summer-- and local microgreens from Living Waters--available now!).

Brown Cow Maple Yogurt
Yogurt may not be the most conventional brunch choice, but who doesn’t love a good parfait? Mix it in with some fresh berries, slivered almonds, and our co-op made granola for a tasty addition to your brunch. Bonus: it’s also on Co+op Basics so you can always get it at an everyday low price!
Final Call for Local Artists
The deadline to submit Artist Application is March 9th 2020 at 10pm
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 [email protected] .

Deadline to submit Artist Application is March 9th 2020 at 10pm.
Art Gallery Reception: Blessing Tshimankinda & Reneeta Mack
Friday, March 13th 5-7pm in the Flatlander Classroom
Join us for the Art Gallery Reception on Friday evening, March 13 from 5-7pm to celebrate our two featured local artists: Blessing Tshimankinda and Reneeta Mack. There will be free food and beverages and a chance to meet the two artists in person.

Blessing Tshimankinda is an eleven year old 7th grader at Urbana Middle School and has been drawing cartoons for four years. His cartoons are titled ‘Rockin’ Robert’ and tells the story of main character Robert, his best friend Achilles, and Robert’s arch-nemesis Luna.

Reneeta Mack is a local photographer and staff member at Common Ground. Her installation titled 'Local Artists as Local Art' is meant as a tribute to the talented musicians that thrive with the support of the CU community. Each photoshoot showcases a different artist which was local to the area at the time of the photoshoot, and in that time was able to blossom enough in the Champaign-Urbana music scene that they gained the tools to expand their talent beyond this community.
15th Annual Edible Book Festival
Saturday, April 4th 10-1pm in Co-op Mall Hallway
What is the Edible Book Festival?
Around April 1st, bibliophiles, book artists, and food lovers around the world gather to celebrate the book arts and the (literal!) ingestion of culture. Participants create an “edible book,” which can be inspired by a favorite tale, involve a pun on a famous title, or simply be in the shape of a book (or scroll, or tablet, etc). All entries will be exhibited, documented, then EATEN!

The Champaign-Urbana Edible Book Festival is sponsored by the University Library and Common Ground Food Co-op, and supported by the generous help of campus and community volunteers and prize donors. It is a fundraiser to support the crucial work of the Eastern Illinois Foodbank.

2020 Festival Award Categories
Starting to think about your edible creation for this year’s festival? Consider fitting your entry to one or more of these prize categories!
  • Best Depiction of a Classic
  • Best Visual Presentation
  • Most Appetizing
  • Funniest/Punniest
  • Best Entry Based on Book for Children or Teens (Award sponsored by the Center for Children’s Books.)
  • Best Collaborative Creation
  • People’s Choice

Who can participate?
Whether you’re a professional chef or just like to play with your food, the festival is open to anyone in the UIUC & Champaign-Urbana communities. If you don’t have time to make your own edible entry, join us in admiring and eating the delicious creations at 11:30 am!

Schedule for the 2020 Edible Book Festival
9:30-11:00am – Participants drop off edible entries Common Ground Coop, Lincoln Square Mall (we’ll be in the hallway just outside the store)
11:00-11:30am – Judging
11:30am – Public viewing begins
12:10pm – Welcome, judges’ commentary, and awards
12:45pm – Eating of books
Introducing our March Featured Drink
This month's featured drink is the Lucky Latte
$4.50 (12 oz) or $5.00 (16 oz)

Latte with two shots of Regional Colectivo Espresso, housemade Irish creme syrup, and your choice of milk

Save 75¢ on Wednesdays
$1 off 16oz on Fridays

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.
New to Our Wellness Department
We now have Za'atar in Bulk! Za'atar is a traditional Middle Eastern herb and spice blend with ingredients that include sumac and hyssop . You can add it to roasted veggies and meats or use it with hummus, tahini dip, and baba ganoush. A simple way of trying it would be to warm up some pita bread, dip it in olive oil, then in Za'atar. It's a quick and delicious snack.
News and More from Our Meat and Cheese Department
First, a bit about our Meat Department...

Items discontinued by vendor
  • True Story organic deli sliced meats
  • Empire Kosher chicken franks
A search is being done to replace these items in the future. Our Meat & Cheese Department is also on the look out for a fresh mozzarella ball as tasty and affordable as the Belgioioso used to be. Stay tuned for updates on this.

Back in Stock
Lieb Farms ground bison

Out of Stock
Have you been noticing a few items out of stock from Triple S Farms? We should be seeing those out of stock items return late March or early April.
New items in our Cheese Department
Westminster's Rustic Red Cheddar

  • This cheese was a happy mistake! A helveticus culture was added to a savoury cheddar recipe by accident. The cheesemaker noticed the error of his ways too late, and over time the cheese matured into something magnificent. Sweet, nutty caramelized notes combined with a little savory bite and made this wonderful cheese. The Helveticus culture creates its signature snap/crumble when you bite it. It's the perfect cheddar for your cheeseboard
February Round Up: First Follower's Re-entry Program
An update on the February Round Up
In February, together we raised around $4300 for First Followers Re-entry Program and contributed towards its efforts to build strong and peaceful communities. This organization provides support and guidance to the formerly incarcerated, their loved ones, and the community as a whole.

Thank you for helping us support such a great organization!

March Round Up: Daily Bread Soup Kitchen
Introducing the February Round Up For Good Recipient
With 270 volunteers, Daily Bread Soup Kitchen serves a hot, nutritional meal 7 days a week to approximately 200 people daily. Additionally, this organization provides a one or two sack lunches for guests to take with them. For many of the people who eat with this is their only full meal of the day. It is estimated that 153,000 meals are provided yearly by 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. All volunteers are welcome to this service who share an unconditional positive regard for every human being. DBSK provides a safe respectful, and inviting environment in an atmosphere of hope and dignity.

Last year's Round Up for Good grant funds were used to provide food, specifically protein, for the organization's guests. There is a significant amount of food donated from the East Illinois Foodbank, local grocery stores, and the University of Illinois. But meat, cheese, peanut butter, and other necessary items are purchased. DBSK spends an estimated $100 daily to feed over 200 guests.

Plans for 2020 funds: Daily Bread Soup Kitchen would continue to use funds from its schedule of providing a nutritional meal, plus a sack lunch for our guests, 7 days a week, 362 days a year. DBSK is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day because regular bus service is not available.
See what else is new for the month of March in our current classes email .

You can always sign up online or in store and classes are listed on the class calendar.
Sat, Mar 14, 2020 2:00 PM CST
Indian Flavors: Pav Bhaji
Common Ground Food Co-op, Urbana
Thu, Mar 26, 2020 6:00 PM CST
Face Scrub, Body Scrub, & Cleansing Balm
Common Ground Food Co-op, Urbana
Sat, Mar 28, 2020 2:00 PM CST
Mediterranean Series: Greek Lemon Chicken & Pasta Salad
Common Ground Food Co-op, 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 March. May not be reused or used for sale items, Co-op Basics, or alcohol.