Our Departments & Team
I am an only child, and when I was young my mom told me I was special. Therefore, it seems I was destined to manage the Specialty Department from an early age. I became a Common Ground owner in 2004, was hired as the Cheese Buyer in 2012, morphing into the Specialty manager a few months later when we added beer and wine to the store. Originally from Iowa (go New Pioneer Co-op!), I've moved around a bit over the years, received a couple of degrees in music, traveled as an Alexander Technique teacher, and have picked up my food knowledge everywhere from the backside of a Prairie Fruits Farm goat to suit-and-tie cheese service at NYC's three-star restaurant Picholine. Working at Common Ground is a very rewarding experience for me, and I can't imagine a job more fun than running a cheese, beer, and wine department. Thanks!
Kevin was born right here in C-U and is proud to be a part of an organization that makes this community a top priority. As an educator by trade, Kevin has worked in the academic, nonprofit, and business work environments. Most of these positions were housed in the Human Resources Department. As such, Kevin has had responsibilities with regard to training managers on hiring and supervising employees, developing databases to track employee information, creating internship possibilities for students, and producing a career pathing program for employees wishing to move up internally. In 2009, Kevin utilized his HR experience to create a local nonprofit: The UP Center of Champaign County. In this role, he has lead a team of volunteers through the incorporation process, as well as overseen the development of the organization’s policies,procedures, and overall governing structure. His philosophy on Human Resource Management aligns well with the co-op spirit:
Human Resources is a combined process with an end goal to support the organization’s mission and vision by creating a fair, equitable, and diverse work environment. Through collaboration efforts, HR staff work to increase knowledge and improve performance of employees through a systematic and humanistic approach.
I am long time resident of the Midwest but life shuffled me around a few times before I found the wonderful town of Urbana and decided to settle. A few months later, I interviewed to be a Change-maker at CGFC and upon being hired, I quit my job as a manager at Wal-Mart and I made the move from corporate to co-op! My interest in natural foods was first sparked when I became vegetarian and began purchasing my own groceries, as a senior in High School. At the time, I lived in Ames, Iowa and was able to shop at Wheatsfield co-op -a wonderful introduction to natural foods! Although I have always LOVED food, natural foods were not a part of my life until then. Now I can’t stay away from the incredible edibles I have since discovered!!! As Common Ground’s Produce Manager, I now happily taking care of the amazing fruits and veggies we carry, learning more and more about the awesome members of our community, meeting with the wonderful local farmers, and loving the fact that I work for one of the coolest businesses around. Outside of CGFC, I have a plethora of passions including professionally hula-hooping as part of “The Extreme Variety Act” with my juggler/magician husband, acting, writing, auto didactically studying neuroscience, and tinkering or crafting in general.
Born and raised right here in Urbana, I am both proud and sentimental about my hometown community. I love fresh foods and fancy foods, and tend to be an avid baker during cooler weather. I am noted among our staff for my encyclopedic knowledge of food science and product information, which I maintain with frequent visits to wikipedia and an obsession for reading food packaging. I am very excited to see the future of our Co-op. I am enthusiastic about our continued involvement with community, natural foods, the local economy and local agriculture.
Jacqueline Hannah moved to C-U from the Chicago area in 1996 to help a friend get her business ready to be a part of a business that was going to move to the Chicago area within a year. A year later the business had moved, but Jacqueline was still in C-U which she had quickly fallen in love with and made her home.
Jacqueline has worked exclusively for independent local businesses for over 18 years, and has been in retail management for over 18 years of her working life, but it was only in the fall of 2006 that she finally found a job that combined her passion for business, management, and sustainable food as well as her belief that businesses should exist to enrich the communities they exist in when she was hired as the General Manager of Common Ground Food Co-op.
In 2010 Jacqueline was named one of the "40 Under 40" business people of excellence by Central Illinois Business Magazine, and in 2011 she was awarded the Innovation Award for Economic Development Impact for her work with Common Ground Food Co-op.
The only vegetables I liked as a child were carrots, potatoes, and corn. In early adolescence, I tasted my first fresh asparagus, and I've never looked back. The same degree of revelation came ten years later, when I tried my first local, organic asparagus; I felt as though I'd been let in on the best secret ever.
My favorite part of my job is welcoming the seasons with new produce: there's nothing like a taste of the first strawberry of spring or a whiff of summer's first basil to make a person feel connected to the world. I also love getting to know new fruits and vegetables and the farmers who grow them, and sharing my enthusiasm with anyone who will listen.
I came to the Champaign-Urbana area in 1992 for school and never left (!). I've been a Common Ground owner since 2001, and I think it's one of the most important resources in C-U -- not only because of the food that's available here, but because of the community connections that happen while we shop for groceries.
Co-op products I could not live without: Asian Baked Tofu, Arriba! coffee, Honey Mints, Zum Bar soap, Prairie Fruits Farm goat cheese, and Blue Moon salad mix.
I came to Urbana from Bloomington-Normal in the summer of 2008 when my husband got accepted to the U of I. I’ve been working in natural foods on and off since 2001 and have a passion for cooking and baking with organic and local ingredients.
I love Common Ground Food Co-op because it is owned by the community and you can see the great impact it has on the community. I’ve never lived in a place that is so friendly and welcoming and I’m really excited to be a member of the community and the food co-op.
I love food. I have always loved food. I love talking about food, eating food, smelling food, reading about food, learning about food and cooking food. Until I started working at Common Ground Food Co-op, I felt like my love of food was extreme, but, man, do we love food at Common Ground!
I moved to Urbana, Illinois in August of 2010 from Fort Collins, Colorado; however, I was born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana and graduated from Indiana University. While I very much enjoyed living in Colorado, the other love of my life led me here, back to the Midwest.
My favorite part about living here is, in fact, my job and the community minded people I meet every day. I am proud to promote an organization whose values match my own.