4xForth: Cheryl Munoz / by Natalie Pavela

4xForth-Chicago-Cheryl-Sugar-Beet

Each Friday we’re highlighting one of the lovely women in our community by learning about things that inspire her - from Chicago places and restaurants to cool spots on the interwebs.

It’s 4 x Forth Friday and today we’re talking to Cheryl Munoz, the leading force behind Sugar Beet Co-op, a member-owned full-service grocery store set to take Oak Park by storm in early 2015.

From Cheryl: I have never worked harder or have felt more inspired and driven than I feel now.  I am the mother of 2 kids, Cedar (6) and Cora (4), a wife to a moped driving, super creative husband and I am building a dream business, called The Sugar Beet Co-op, with 500 (and counting) of my neighbors.  I can't say that I frequent places or want to travel now, there is too much to do!  I do love to break away from work to eat out with friends, though, and my work takes me to places that keep me up at night dreaming about the potential of healthier cities and food systems. 

Places that inspire me in Chicago:

1.  The Plant - incubator of sustainable food businesses and a waste stream model for the future.

2.  The Dill Pickle Co-op - Chicago's only food co-op as of now.  Their work is incredible and co-ops are getting a foothold in this region because of their success and support.

3.  Jane Addams Hull House Museum - their programming covers everything from social justice and immigration to preserving food in a way that is accessible and practical.

4.  Sweet Beginnings + BEE LOVE - a project of the North Lawndale Employment Network, this "buzzing" business supports bee populations through their BEE LOVE product line that doubles as a job incubator for people in need.

Places I'll go someday:

I can't think of any place I'd rather be than here.  I want to go deeper not further.  I am where I want to be now.

Best Bites in Chicago:

1. Bread at Cellar Door Provisions in Logan Square - fierce commitment to local food and culinary craft.

2. Bar Board at Autre Monde in Berwyn - perfect menu, wine list, patio and a little greenhouse to boot.

3. Sandwiches at Inspiration Kitchen in Garfield Park - social justice, job training and delicious food in one beautiful restaurant.

4. Fresh everything at Oak Park Farmers' Market! - bluegrass band, fresh donuts and local farmers.  Saturday morning ritual.

Sites I lurve:

1.  Oxfam - news about justice efforts, agriculture and powerful solutions that are making a difference. This site is intense.  You can also send a goat as a gift through their Unwrapped program. (sorry Mom)

2. LTHFORUM - local, opinionated people chatting about food.  Entertaining and informative. I don't dare post - you need nerve to tangle with these folks.

3. The Family Dinner and Dinner: A Love Story are both great sites when I am feeling funky about feeding my two kids.  I believe in the power of family dinner and need some inspiration to keep it fresh.

4. Kitchen Gardeners International - cool stories about people who start community gardens and hundreds of tutorials- this is a great site for home gardeners.

Thank you for sharing Cheryl! You've helped us uncover some amazing local businesses that we can't wait to check out. CDP makes the most amazing bread (living within walking distance has me frequenting their establishment on the regular). Kitchen Gardeners International is an awesome resource for home gardening as well.  

We are so excited about everything Cheryl have planned with Sugar Beet Co-Op! Follow along with Cheryl and Sugar Beet on Facebook and Twitter!