Join Forest Preserve District Commissioner and fellow PFC Owner, Jeff Gahris, as he explores Churchill Woods Forest Preserve. The 2-mile hike will focus on Native American history at this preserve, more recent European cultural history, old oak woodlands, and a state-designated nature preserve, containing a grassland prairie. Additionally, Jeff will cover the ecological restoration efforts that have been ongoing for this preserve. An optional side trip will take us off the beaten path to find the Grandfather Oak that is estimated to be 250 years old!
We will meet in the main parking lot on St Charles Road on Sunday, September 26. The terrain is gentle with a few hills, but suitable walking shoes are recommended.
Don't forget to bring water, bug repellant, sunscreen, and a sunhat as needed. We will cancel if there is severe weather.
This event has been so popular we have added a second hike!
Sunday, September 26, 2021
First Session: 10:00 am
Second Session: 11:30 am
If you would like to join the 10:00 am hike, please fill out the RSVP form below (Only a few spots remaining for this time slot). If you would like to join the 11:30 am hike, please complete this form.WHENSeptember 26, 2021 at 10:00amWHEREChurchill Woods Forest Preserve
Main Lot on St Charles Road
Lombard, IL 60148
Google map and directions
- Hometown: Glen Ellyn
- Owner #: 886
- Term: Elected 2021. 1st term ends 2024.
Why are you interested in serving on the Prairie Food Board of Directors?
I have a personal passion for community connection and environmental awareness and education. I see the Prairie Food Coop as a natural intersection between these two areas, and the PFC as a place that will have positive benefits on our community, environment and local economy for years to come. I am excited about working with other passionate volunteers to make the PFC a reality.
Employment: Please tell us about your Past or Present Employment
I was previously a senior manager with Deloitte Tax for over 16 years within the Global Employer Services practice. I advised clients on the tax and human resource implications of global talent deployment as well as employee experience. I also led a number of internal initiatives focused on training, mentoring, and creating a motivating, fun, and inclusive work environment for my team through events like office scavenger hunts and decathlons.
Currently I am a consultant with Beautycounter, a safer cosmetics and personal care products company. I share information about ingredient safety so individuals can make informed decisions when purchasing a product. Additionally I advocate for stronger, more transparent regulation at the state and federal level that considers the health of consumers and the planet.
Volunteer: Membership/Affiliations/Leadership past and present
- HFS Chicago Scholars; mentor and volunteer, 2005-2017, Young Professionals Board Member, 2014-2017
- Abraham Lincoln Elementary School PTA; Auction Fundraiser co-chair, 2018 and 2019
- La Escuela Cooperativa de Sayulita; current Board Member
- Glen Ellyn Environmental Commission; current Commissioner
- Glen Ellyn Park District Environmental Advisory Board; current Board member
Which of the following areas do you have expertise?
Management, Fundraising, Event Planning, Communications, environmental education including recycling, sustainable swaps, safer food, cosmetic and cleaning products
What experience, education, and skills do you have that you feel will contribute to your effectiveness as a Prairie Food Director?
During my time at Deloitte, I worked with multiple clients around the world and even spent time working abroad, both in India and Switzerland. This taught me how to consider ways to engage and more importantly to listen to multiple perspectives throughout the life of a project. I feel strongly about making sure all stakeholders feel “bought in” and listened to, as well as transparently providing feedback. I gained an understanding of how to effectively serve clients by creatively balancing their priorities and goals with the realities of a budget and timeline in which to accomplish those. I also learned how to identify strengths of my team members, then manage and motivate the group to work collaboratively towards our goals.
Additionally in my experience with Beautycounter as well as serving on multiple volunteer boards in Glen Ellyn, I have learned different ways to engage community members. This has ranged from creating my own facebook group with 230+ members to share environmental and clean living tips, to creating and organizing a "Trash Talk" zoom to share recycling information with friends and neighbors, to planning in person “Green Gatherings” at the Glen Ellyn Library with the Environmental Commission. I have learned and continue to learn what it takes to create and engage a community both virtually and in person. I would love to bring these skills to the PFC and make it a welcoming place to gather and exchange ideas for community members, whether online, in person or both. My career has been working with people to help overcome the barriers preventing their progress. This involves listening, planning, consensus, execution and monitoring while communicating and adjusting with all stake/shareholders as necessary. I have collaborated with others to accomplish this in the past and I believe PFC will benefit with these skills and those noted in the expertise response above. I have always been prepared to dig in as far as necessary to get things done.
What are your personal goals for Prairie Food Co-op?
A trip to the grocery store is a part of our everyday lives, and my goal for the Prairie Food Coop is to make that grocery trip a bit more purposeful and magical! I see the PFC as a place where individuals feel connected to each other, the community, and our environment. There is a great opportunity to not only serve individuals who already value supporting local producers and socially conscious companies, but to include and educate individuals who haven’t thought about these things before when they visit a grocery store. I would also love to see the PFC as a place where the "environmentally curious" can gather to learn more about ways they can have an impact on caring for our planet. Being environmentally friendly can sometimes feel intimidating, but we will need all of us to help protect the planet. There are a number of different ways people can play a role in caring for our environment by participating in the PFC, for example, making a more environmentally friendly purchase, or learning and engaging with other community members during an online event. By bringing environmental awareness through these opportunities and others, individuals can learn about what personal impact they can have on the health of our community and planet, and share that knowledge along to family, friends and neighbors.
What experiences have you had with cooperatives, food or otherwise?
I currently serve on the board of La Escuela Cooperativa de Sayulita, which is a cooperative preschool based in Sayulita, Mexico. La Escuela is a Montessori-based preschool for 3-5 year olds in that offers a tuition-free education for families who participate, and has recently expanded to offer after school programs and summer programs. La Escuela Cooperativa collaborates with student families, educators and community members in its educational and community program offerings. I have advised in areas of communication and advertising, fundraising and event planning, and program planning related to gardening and composting.
PARTICIPATE IN OUR CO-OP BOARD ELECTIONS!
It's that time of year when we practice Co-op Principle #2 - Democratic Member Control - by electing owners to serve on our board. Owners will vote for directors to fill four (4) open board positions, and those elected will serve one to three year terms. As a startup co-op, ours is a “working board”, not simply a “governing board”. All board members serve as volunteers without compensation and they devote significant time and attention to this worthy effort.
We are fortunate that five (5) Co-op owners have stepped forward and volunteered to serve on the Co-op board. One board candidate is an incumbent who has served at least 1 full term. We have provided a link below to photos and bios of these individuals.
Voting will take place electronically from May 17 - May 27.
Due to the lingering COVID-19 pandemic, we will again conduct our annual owners meeting via Zoom and we encourage all owners to attend the live meeting on May 27. A recording will be available as quickly as possible.
CANDIDATES FOR THE BOARD
Click here to read about candidates for service on the Board of the Prairie Food Co-op.
This year, Owners will vote on one (1) proposed Bylaw amendment to allow established, long serving directors to continue serving through store opening. Please see details here.
Your generous donation will cover startup expenses to help us open the doors to our bright beautiful store!
As part of our Community Investment Campaign, we need to raise $3.1M from our community to open and operate our store. To reach our goal, we will need some to donate $20,000, $50,000, $100,000 or more. However, many hands make light work and every dollar gets us one step closer to offering local foods in a convenient one-stop shop.
Tax-Deductible Donations: 3 Options
You can make a tax-deductible donation to Prairie Food Co-op through our fiscal sponsor, Cooperative Development Fund of CDS (Cooperative Development Services).
Contact us if you are interested in making a tax-deductible donation of publicly traded stock.
Tax-deductible donations to Prairie Food Co-op can be made through our fiscal sponsor, Cooperative Development Fund of CDS. The Fund meets the requirements for a charitable and educational institution as described in Chapter 501(c)3 of the federal tax code and demonstrates compliance by filing annual financial statements (Form 990) with the IRS. The Tax ID of the Cooperative Development Fund of CDS is 39-1540529.
We will forward your check to the Fund. Please make your check out to "Cooperative Development Fund of CDS" and do not use other organizational names such as "CDS" or "Cooperative Development Services."
Donations are not the same as ownership. No item of value (e.g. ownership share, voting rights, owner discount, etc.) will be provided to donors of charitable gifts.
Donations of $200 and above will be recognized in writing by the Cooperative Development Fund. The Fund will send a written letter of acknowledgment; donors will need such letters for their records should they seek to deduct their gift on their tax returns. Donors of less than $200 have other options for supporting their claim of deductibility (typically their cancelled check) and will not receive a letter of acknowledgment.
Donations are immediately deposited and cannot be returned. Donations made to our fiscal agent on our behalf cannot be returned once made. If the board determines the project is no longer feasible, our fiscal agent will use the donated funds to support the wise use of cooperative approaches through education and development.
Use of funds. The mission of the Cooperative Development Fund is to support the wise use of cooperative approaches through education and development. Donations will be used to facilitate the development of our cooperative. Permitted uses include professional fees, supplies, inventory, employee payroll and benefits, building renovations and furnishings, etc., related to project development.
Direct Donation (not tax-deductible)
Direct donations to Prairie Food Co-op are NOT tax deductible.
You can mail direct payment to Prairie Food Co-op at PO Box 83, Lombard, IL 60148
Questions: Please email us at [email protected].
We are excited to announce that Prairie Food Co-op will be part of the Lilac Station project at 109 South Main - in the heart of Lombard! The project includes a four-story apartment building at 101 South Main - the corner of Parkside and Main - with a restaurant on the ground level. The Co-op will lease a separate, 10,000 square foot building at 109 South Main. A parking lot will connect the two buildings.
In today’s competitive food market, it is not just smart to be careful and thorough, it is necessary. Our soon-to-be home at 109 South Main in Lombard covers all the bases indicated by market and feasibility studies, as well as guidance from seasoned professionals in the industry. Our site is walkable, bike-able, and conveniently near the Lombard Metra Station. The Co-op will be across the street from Elmhurst-Edwards clinic and ideally located in a neighborhood setting.
Research factors included information about competitors’ sales in the greater metro area, the amount of traffic passing the downtown Lombard area, convenience, visibility, and accessibility. In the start-up world, food co-ops have slightly better odds of succeeding in the long term than their start-up peers. Even so, food co-ops that do not survive over the long term are most commonly in that position because they initially chose a site that was too small or a site that was not visible enough to the general public. We have avoided both pitfalls with our incredible location.
While Prairie Food Co-op will have a core group of committed shoppers, business from the more casual shopper is also important. Being on the corner of Parkside and Main Street downtown AND having 40 devoted parking spaces offers the vital visibility, convenience and accessibility required to be a successful business in the long term. Downtown and North side has been without a grocery store for over 20 years. In fact, the Village of Lombard's 2011 "Downtown Revitalization Guidebook" recommends a fresh market grocer in downtown.
The store will offer a wide variety of products with an emphasis on locally, sustainably produced goods. We are already working with dozens of interested family farms and local food producers to stock our shelves. The co-op will have an outdoor patio with potential for seasonal cafe, community gathering space with local music, and classes. Our Owners will have opportunities to provide input on the services they would like to see offered in our store.
Timeline to Open
Construction of the Lilac Station complex began in August 2021 with the co-op building scheduled to be completed by July 2022. We will then need 6-8 months to turn the space into the beautiful, inviting grocery store we have all been dreaming of.
But all of this only matters if you help! Our lease requires that we secure financing by December 15, 2021. We are busy planning our Community Investment Program now where Owners and community members have the opportunity to invest in the store and get a modest return on their investment. This is a Main Street investment opportunity to see your money being put to work right in your own community! For more details, click here.
Most of all, Prairie Food Co-op Market Board of Directors and devoted committees thank you for your patience and persistence to see this through all the way to the finish line!
Katherine Nash published Prairie Food Co-op on the front page of the Chicago Tribune! in News 2021-02-02 15:32:48 -0600
Prairie Food Co-op made the front page of the Chicago Tribune! We were featured in an excellent article about co-ops in the Chicagoland area. Board President, Kathy Nash was interviewed, and quoted, in the article. As communities struggle with the economic impact of COVID-19, “There is an outcry for a different system and way of supporting communities." Cooperatives keep money circulating in the local economy because, by law, they must either reinvest profits in the store or divide among Owners as dividends. Cooperatives exists to serve the community rather than make anyone wealthy.
“People can see the value of local ownership....This is a locally owned alternative to publicly traded company. They support local products and vendors, which is fundamental to the core of those businesses.” That support of local vendors and food producers has kept many local businesses afloat during a challenging time.
Read it here. For non-subscribers, you should be able to access the article using "Reader View".
Prairie Food Co-op will be a full-service community owned grocery store in Lombard featuring local, sustainably grown, organic produce, meat and dairy products, as well as all of the other staples you'd expect from a grocery store -- dry goods, bulk foods, and frozen foods. Prairie Food Co-op will be a community gathering place where shoppers can enjoy a cup of coffee or juice while attending educational classes and workshops.
What Will The Co-op Look Like?
Our professional Market Analysis advised a 10,000 square foot store, with 6300 square feet of retail space. This size store makes shopping accessible and convenient and is large enough to accommodate a variety of food store departments including meat, bakery, produce, dry grocery, frozen food and dairy, as well as specialty departments such as a deli with prepared foods, a specialty drink bar, and a small café area. We also plan to establish a weekly farmer’s market in the store’s parking lot.
Get The Facts
Prairie Food Co-op is committed to providing honest and transparent labeling and will encourage sustainable food production and environmental stewardship. Prairie Food Co-op will strive to educate consumers about their food choices and connect shoppers with food producers so that consumers have a better understanding of how their food was produced. Prairie Food Co-op will provide great jobs with fair wages and benefits.
Prairie Food will be a cooperative business, meaning that shoppers will own the store, giving them more say in the products and services available at the store. Cooperatives are operated, first and foremost, for the benefit of the community they serve, Because people, not profits, drive the business, cooperatives have a significant positive impact on their local community and economy.
Join The Co-op!
If you are interested in supporting local farmers, providing better year-round access to local and sustainable food, to encouraging environmental stewardship, to building a store committed to educating consumers about food, and to a store that puts shoppers first, then you should become a Prairie Food Co-op Owner today.
One of the core values of Prairie Food Co-op is sustainability and that carries over into the design of our grocery store. The co-op's "Green Team" is working hard to determine which sustainable design options can be implemented. As a community supported business, we rely on our community to invest in this project. The more the community invests, the more opportunity we will have to implement green design elements.Read more
Owners have the right to review Board of Director meeting minutes. Please find links to meeting minutes below - our meeting minutes are organized by year and stored in Google Drive. Owners are encouraged to attend meetings of your democratically elected Board! The Board meets the first Tuesday of each month from 7pm - 9pm. We would love to see you there!
Click Here to View All Meeting Minutes on Google Drive
Prairie Food Co-op will be a different type of grocery store - one that supports local farmers, is committed to transparent product labeling so that I know how and where food is produced, and encourages sustainable and organic food production. As a co-op, Prairie Food exists to serve you instead of make a profit for others. As a co-op, the store is owned by the community and more money stays here in Lombard.
My Ownership investment helps create a grocery store that:
- Supports Local Food Systems
- Provides Quality Jobs here in Lombard
- Has a Positive Economic Impact
- Promotes Environmental Stewardship
- Promotes Healthy & Sustainable Foods.
I cannot wait until I can shop at Prairie Food Co-op - knowing that my Ownership helped make it happen! If this all sounds great, then join me and so many others by becoming an Owner today!