The Flatlander Teaching Kitchen and Community Classroom will be opening this month! How exciting! The Teaching Kitchen, in Common Ground’s expanded store represents a space for community to thrive and for educational programming that empowers people and teaches them invaluable life skills. We are grateful for vision and financial support from the Flatlander Food Foundry, born out of Dan Schreiber’s dreams for our community. Our Co-op’s Ends, which represent the vision that our owners have for the future of our store compliment Dan Schreiber’s conviction in support of education as a tool to make food a community asset and empower people to feed themselves and their families well and we hope to work with you, our community, to build the most exciting and effective educational programming that we can.

Many of you have heard of the Flatlander story, some of you never have. In June of this year our General Manager, Jacqueline Hannah, wrote a thorough and illuminating article that told the story of Dan Schreiber, for whom the Flatlander Community Kitchen/Classroom space is named. Check it out here.


Room for Growth

In the middle of August I had the pleasure of sitting in a small chair in a classroom of the middle school I attended a handful of years ago, presenting our Co-op’s classes and educational opportunities to a room full of dedicated educators. What I came away with was a wealth of ideas and passion that these hard working teachers shared with me. Our children’s future is looking bright in these hands. During the session they shared a need for healthful food choices and food education for the young people they work with every day and their families.

As we get back into the swing of the school year we have a lot to look forward to here at Common Ground. We are continually working towards our cooperative Ends and, as many of you may know, education is a huge part of these Ends. We have the opportunity, as a Co-op, to push new boundaries and redefine what it is that education means to our community.

It is no doubt apropos that this month is Local Foods Month, because the entire expansion project aspires to strengthen the local economy and bolstering local producers (check out the Expansion Update, below, for details). The opening of the Flatlander Community Kitchen classroom here at Common Ground  represents an opportunity for our local foods community to thrive and expand as, like all social consciousness shifts, education is paramount.
So here comes the challenge:  How do we work to serve the needs of our loyal long-term customer/owner base but also reach out to communities that we have never worked with before? How do we build a community based educational initiative that enriches and expands our engagement with local and global food policy? How can we continue to push the boundaries of what we define as ‘possible’?

Oh the potential!  The investment that our Co-op is making in education enables us to chart a trajectory that moves us closer to our Ends. Charged with this work we prioritize  making the “Co-op the center of a vibrant, inclusive community,” and “serving as an educational resource on food issues.”

We can continue this work by utilizing the explosive knowledge that we have right here in this town. To make the most of this resource let’s forge a culture of mutual education. Teach and be taught. Learn from our neighbors, and build partnerships with community organizations. We can gain perspective from considering what education means to families who can not make ends meet. We can help make healthy eating  an attainable goal regardless of circumstance. We can make eduction a tool to improve the health of our community, our world, and our environment.  We can see what it means to make a priority out of one another.

I am looking forward to collaborations that strengthen our local economy and building a Co-op community with a foundation in education. We are embarking on so many exciting projects, I’ll do my best to keep you all abreast of new developments!

In Cooperation,
Maya Bauer
Education Coordinator Common Ground Food Co-op