Spring Momentum

Your Shared Harvest team has been busy this past month working toward our vision of opening our cooperatively owned grocery store focused on healthy products to meet the needs of our community. 

We’re actively pursuing the Illinois Grocery Initiative (IGI) grant opportunity, designed specifically for new grocery stores in our state’s food deserts. Like many communities, parts of Elgin are considered food deserts by the USDA based on both access to fresh foods and income levels from census data. We’ve known that our store is a great opportunity to remedy this issue while bringing economic diversity to downtown Elgin. The grant could provide funding for land acquisition, site development, construction of a new facility, equipment, and working capital for first-year operating expenses. 

Our IGI grant committee is meeting at least twice a week ahead of the August 31 deadline for our round two application. We’re moving forward with an updated market study, financial feasibility refresh, and all of the other tasks that go along with these planning activities — as well as applying for an additional grant to potentially offset some of these costs. If you have any questions or want to get involved, please reach out to any board member. Thank you for your ongoing support during this very exciting season! 

Shaping the Future of Food and Farming

5 15 2024 il stewards set the table 1
5 15 2024 il stewards set the table 2

On Monday, May 13, Shared Harvest celebrated Illinois Stewardship Alliance’s 50th anniversary by joining in “Setting the Table for a Better Food & Farm Future” in Woodstock. Illinois Stewardship Alliance has been working since 1974 to unite farmers and eaters to use their choices and their voices together for a more just and regenerative food system.

Friends from FoodShed Co-op even took time out of their grand opening prep to join this excellent event. We networked with farmers, eaters, and food system leaders from across the region to share thoughts on the biggest challenges facing the farm and food system, along with solutions we’d like to see. And we enjoyed some phenomenal food with local ingredients by Zac Dolezal, chef and owner at Duke’s Inferno and Duke’s Alehouse & Kitchen. 

If this sounds like your kind of event – you’re in luck! Join Shared Harvest on Tuesday, June 18th at 5:00 p.m. at Baker Community Center in St. Charles for the next “Setting the Table” event. RSVP at https://ilstewards.org/50-2

Advisory Council Opportunity

Are you a shareholder or co-op supporter with experience working in the retail grocery space? Our newly formed Advisory Council is composed of food industry leaders, food co-op general managers and grocery industry professionals to meet quarterly and provide counsel/guidance as key decisions are made. Our first advisory council meeting will be held Monday, June 24 at 4:00 p.m. via Zoom (potentially hybrid as well) and we’re seeking additional participants. Email us for details. 

Congrats to FoodShed Co-op 

On May 15 we joined FoodShed Co-op in Woodstock to celebrate their grand opening. After ten years of hard work and dedication this new co-op’s doors are open to the public. It was a beautiful day for a ribbon cutting ceremony that included Woodstock’s Deputy Mayor, FoodShed’s General Manager, founders and members of their board. The local Chamber of Commerce, McHenry County and USDA officials were also at the celebration. FoodShed will serve the Woodstock and Crystal Lake area with fresh local offerings and national fair trade and organic products. They’re open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at 2390 Lake Shore Drive, Woodstock, IL. If you’re in the area be sure to stop by to support them and get a taste of what Shared Harvest will bring to Elgin.

Spring is here (or is it Summer already?)

After what felt like a slow start, the growing season is here and there’s a plethora of plant sales in our region. Here are two you may want to check out: 

  • Wild Ones of Greater Kane County. Saturday, May 18, 2024 from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Over 150 species of native plants including ferns, trees and shrubs will be available at Wild One’s 12th annual native plant sale. For a list of plants available visit http://startinyouryard.com. Cash, check, Paypal and charge accepted. Gray Willows Farm, 5 Corron Rd, Campton Hills, IL, 60175. 
  • Tsedah Farms. May 17, 18 & 24 from 10 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and May 25 from 8:00 a.m. to Noon. Tsedah Farms is a long time partner of Shared Harvest and supplied wonderful produce for our Farm to Table Dinners. Plants for sale include peppers, tomatoes, herbs, squashes, cucumbers and marigolds, plus sample their relishes and jellies. There will also be demonstrations of how they plant, harvest and more at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Click here for details. 2708 Walkup Rd, Crystal Lake, IL 60012 (follow signs for parking). 

Downtown Elgin Market opens soon

Friday, June 7 marks the kick off of the 2024 Downtown Elgin Market on South Riverside Drive from 3:00 to 8:00 p.m. We’ll once again be partnering with Allison’s Wonderland Farm to offer fresh, locally grown organic produce. See you there! 

Become a Co-op Owner

While Shared Harvest will welcome everyone to shop, becoming an owner means so much more. Learn about the benefits of co-op ownership and consider joining us today!

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