I have a confession to make. Sometimes, in the course of my week, I make too much food. Sound like a good problem to have? Well, it seems to be alarmingly common in our affluent country. My excuse is that I develop recipes for a living, so I test recipes even when I already have food to eat. My family, friends and neighbors all benefit from my overproduction, but more often than I would like, things go to waste. That half a jar of tomatoes for the pizza I made a couple of weeks ago got ignored when I moved on to testing dessert recipes.
Common Ground's Sustainability Committee has been very busy this past year. Since January, we've been tracking and reporting metrics to the National Cooperative Grocer's Co+Efficient program to see what our environmental impact performance actually is, and how it compares with similar sized co-ops across the country.
As a member of Common Ground’s Sustainability Committee, I recently attended a workshop and conversation at the University of Illinois hosted by The Institute for Sustainability, Energy & the Environment (iSEE). As a committee, we are very interested in exploring ways that Common Ground can extend efforts toward our 4th End: Our local food system is equitable, robust, and environmentally sound.
Farming is a risky business. Unpredictable and uncooperative weather is a major risk farmers face every day and every year. No other business or profession is as dependent on factors completely outside their control as farming. And as the saying goes “mother nature bats last.” Many farmers throughout Illinois are experiencing this hard truth right now.
Introducing the Sustainability Committee!
The Sustainability Committee’s mission is to provide awareness of both renewable and nonrenewable resource usage. We strive to form a conscientious culture that approaches day-to-day resource usage with both frugality and practicality. We believe that sustainable practices can and should be incorporated into our daily CGFC operations. We strive to transpose our acquired knowledge into a comprehensive and trainable model.
Most of us rely on our city water utility to provide us with clean water for drinking, washing, bathing… And there are some of us who rely on our wells. No matter how we get our water, we know that it has been tested and meets certain governmental standards for cleanliness. We receive an annual report from our provider that lists results from testing.
Most tap water in the US is provided by municipal water companies, which are regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The source of municipal water for Champaign County and much of East Central Illinois is groundwater in the Mahomet Aquifer. It is then processed by American Water of Illinois, whose Champaign plant, built in 2009, is one of 2 LEED certified water treatment facilities in the nation. Using a series of filtration systems, minerals and other particles are removed.
This year we’d like to begin a conversation about water, the most essential substance for the maintenance of life on Earth. In upcoming posts, we’ll be presenting basic information on water options for home and garden use, filtration options, sustainability issues and environmental impact. The goal is to provide information on how all the specific topics fit together so you can make informed decisions about the choices we all make every day.