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Common Ground operates different from traditional grocers

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November 10, 2020 By Common Ground Food Co-Operative

Common Ground isn’t just a full-service grocery store; it’s owned by 13,000 community members, residents just like you. A cooperatively-run business definitely operates differently from a standard, traditional grocery. For one, Common Ground’s top priority is supporting all things LOCAL. Local farmers and producers, local organizations, and local people of Champaign-Urbana. The Co-op is a small local business that focuses on keeping its shoppers’ money as close to home as possible, boosting the local economy and serving its residents.

First and foremost, Common Ground is adamant about sourcing local products whenever possible. This includes local fruits and vegetables, freshly baked breads, jams, coffees, meats, and cheeses. No other business in town sources a comparable inventory of locally grown and made food. The Co-op is proud to carry seasonal vegetables from farms like Blue Moon and Sola Gratia; local meat cuts from Triple S, Moore Family Farm, and Bane Family Meats; artisan breads from Central Illinois Bakehouse; Page Roasting Company whole bean coffees, locally harvested autumn berry jam from Autumn Berry Inspired and black currant jam from Nature Keeper’s. During the growing season, Common Ground also stocks local, sustainably-grown cut flowers from Delight Flower Farm.

Common Ground has been invested in the local food system for decades, and they have no plan on stopping! In 2019 alone, the Co-op spent $978,000 on locally grown and made products. That’s $978,000 invested back into Central Illinois, supporting small independent businesses and farms.

In effort to support the CU community as a whole, Common Ground also has a beloved crowd-funding program called Round Up For Good. Round Up For Good allows customers to “round up” their purchase to the nearest dollar and donate the change to a local organization. Common Ground owners nominate and elect these organizations to receive Round Up funds each September during the Owner Election. These small, incremental rounded up donations add up to an average of $3,500 - $5,000 each month! In 2019, Common Ground owners and non-owners rounded up over $54,317 for organizations within the CU community.

In addition to the local food system and crowd-funding for community organizations, Common Ground also focuses on best serving the local people in the Champaign-Urbana area. In the midst of the COVID pandemic, the Co-op developed their first-ever curbside pick-up service. What started out as phone-in orders with a limited number of items available has turned into an online “Co-op Shop” with thousands of products that continues to grow each week. Owners and non-owners alike place their weekly grocery orders from the comfort of their home and pick up from the comfort of their cars.

Common Ground Food Co-op is more than just a grocery store. It’s a cafe. It’s a hub for cooking classes. It’s an advocate of local food. And it’s a champion for all things Champaign-Urbana. When you shop Common Ground, you aren’t just supporting one small business. You’re investing in the local economy and local community.


This article was presented and sponsored by Common Ground Food Co-Operative. For more information, go to commonground.coop.


 


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