What is a Co-op?

by Mia Hanneken

Common Ground Food Co-op has existed since 1974. Since its inception, the Co-op has been a small, independent entity serving the Champaign-Urbana community. It’s been around for 47 years, but so many in the area aren’t familiar with Common Ground. Most notably, there is still a lot of confusion about what a cooperative business even is. 

Sirisha's Pongal, Tomato Pulusu Stew, and Sesame Laddus

Pongal or Makar Sankranti is a festival celebrated all over India. It goes by different names in different parts of India and the customs in celebrating the festival vary too. This festival is dedicated to the deity Surya (Sun). It is a harvest festival. It marks the first day of the Sun’s transit into Makara (Capricorn), marking the end of the month with the winter solstice and the start of longer days. It usually falls on the 14 or 15 of January.

3 Homemade Simple Syrups by Mac

So how do restaurants make their cocktails so great? It’s simple! Using simple syrup adds sweetness without being overpowering, plus you can infuse the simple syrup with just about any flavor you want. Here’s how I make mine:


General Simple Syrup


2 cups of water

1 ½ cups sugar (raw cane sugar, if you can find it)



In a small saucepan, add water and bring to a boil. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Let cool. 

Sarah's Kitchen Creations: Plant-Based Miso Ramen

Try this soothing miso vegetable ramen chock full of local winter produce, including shiitake mushrooms, scallions, carrots, and radishes. This cozy recipe will bring you comfort all while incorporating those whole foods your body craves.

What you need for Plant-Based Miso Ramen:

2 containers Pacific Foods mushroom broth

2 1/2 cups water

2 pieces of kombu (optional for broth)

1 local & organic celeriac (celery root) from PrairiErth Farm, coarsely chopped (optional for broth) 

Sarah's Kitchen Creations: Spicy Pork Ramen

This spicy ramen is perfect to make on a cold weekend. This recipe walks you through how to slow cook local pork shoulder, how to prepare tasty ramen broth, and what local winter vegetables go great with black forbidden rice ramen noodles.

What you need for Spicy Pork Ramen:

2 T. organic canola oil

1-2lbs local pork shoulder roast from Central Lean

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp black pepper

2 containers (8 cups) Field Day Vegetable Broth

1 cup water

1 inch piece fresh ginger, thickly sliced

Mac's Christmas Morning Kombucha Mimosa

Craving a mimosa but want to mix it up? Check out the easiest twist on this classic cocktail to ring in Christmas morning: the Kombucha Mimosa! There are tons of kombucha flavors you could easily substitute, because, let's face it, it's rare for a flavor profile to clash with Champagne or Prosecco (though we do recommend staying away from GT's MultiGreen). A mimosa is best served with either a brut Champagne or Prosecco. A traditional mimosa is 1/2 wine and 1/2 orange juice, and we did the same with kombucha. 


DIY Gifts for the Holidays

Make gift giving extra meaningful this year by making your own gifts! Not only will these gifts be fun and affordable to make, they also can ship well as holiday care packages.

Learn how to make:

  • Fudge Brownies In a Jar

  • Infused Honey (Lavender & Tulsi Basil are great options)

  • Meyer Lemon Infused Salt

  • Cumin & Coriander Infused Salt

  • Zinfandel Infused Salt

Sarah's Kitchen Creations: Latkes

Try these decadent latkes for Chanukah this year! Made with local PrairiErth Farm potatoes, yellow onion, local eggs, a little matzo meal, and some scallions, these latkes are perfect when topped with sour cream and applesauce.

What you'll need for Latkes:

2lb bag of local & organic gold potatoes from PrairiErth Farm, grated

1 organic yellow onion, grated

1/2 cup organic green onions, thinly sliced (more for garnish)

1/4 Manischewitz matzo meal (if not available breadcrumbs or flour will do)


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