What is Membership?

Since the beginning, GreenStar's mission focused on making nutritious, whole food available to its members. But membership means more than just access to good, healthy food...

When you join the Co-op you become a Member-Owner of a locally-owned and cooperatively operated values-based business. We focus on the social and environmental impact GreenStar makes on our local and global community, as well as economic performance. We put our values first, and return all profits back to the Co-op or donate them to the community.

The co-operative business model has proven to be a strong alternative to traditional profit-driven businesses. And, for every dollar you spend in a locally-owned business or cooperative, 45 cents is return to the community, compared to only 13 cents when you spend a dollar at a chain store.

One Member – One Vote means your voice truly counts!

Like all consumer co-ops, GreenStar is owned and democratically run by the people who use the store. Unlike traditional corporations where the amount of a stockholder's investment determines his or her voting power, every member at GreenStar has equal voting rights. As a Member-Owner, you have an equal say in the future direction of GreenStar.

By investing and participating in your co-op, you're putting your values into action.

Through your Equity Share investment and patronage, GreenStar supports the health and well-being of our member-owners, our community and the planet by:

  • Purchasing from local farmers and businesses
  • Paying a livable wage
  • Using clean energy and recycled office supplies
  • Supporting organic agriculture and fair trade producers
  • Offering health insurance to employees
  • Donating to local charities and events
  • Providing education on nutrition, health and sustainability
  • Improving access to healthy food to those on limited budgets through the FLOWER program



 

 

398 Co-op Member-Owners Switch to Email — 
400 Trees Planted!

Thursday, 01 January 2015 16:38

By Alexis Alexander, 

Membership Manager

trees-for-future-01GreenStar bylaws require that we send out certain bits of information to all member-owners each year — here in the office, we call these "required mailings." These include our Spring and Fall mailing that outline information on Council elections, bylaws and member referendum votes, and the annual member-owner meetings. Given that our membership includes more than 10,000 individuals, these mailings represent quite an expense for the Co-op when sent out via US mail. In an attempt to reduce our mailing expenses a few years ago, we started to send these documents out via email to member-owners who chose that option. Sign-up is required, as we won't email you without your express permission.

Read more: 398 Co-op Member-Owners Switch to Email — 
400 Trees Planted!

 

Empowerment through Education: 
Cooperative Enterprise 101

Monday, 01 December 2014 02:02

By Laura Buttenbaum,

Membership Administrator

co-op-bookWhat is a co-op? This seemingly straightforward question can elicit a wide range of responses, from visceral and intrinsic to completely organizational and economic. According to the International Cooperative Association, "A co-operative is an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly owned and democratically controlled enterprise." In GreenStar's newest staff training program, Cooperative Enterprise 101, we break down that definition into distinct and tangible pieces, fostering a greater understanding of what it means to be part of a co-op and empowering staff with the knowledge of the cooperative difference.

The training begins by comparing the structure of cooperative businesses with privately and publicly owned businesses. We cover cooperative values (self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity, and solidarity) and the Cooperative Principles (listed on this page) and we discuss how GreenStar honors them. We define the concept of the triple bottom line (people, planet, profit) and talk about the programs that GreenStar has in place to address all three and the challenges of measuring our successes (and shortcomings) in each. We then explore the various types of cooperative businesses and identify local, regional, and national examples of each.

Read more: Empowerment through Education: 
Cooperative Enterprise 101

Announcing Two New Educational Opportunities at the Co-op

Sunday, 02 November 2014 02:23

By Laura Buttenbaum, 

Membership Administrator

Continuing education is a central tenet of the cooperative movement. From its humble beginnings through today, the cooperative movement has acknowledged the importance of educating member-owners, staff, managers, and boards of directors. In fact, the first major purchase of the Rochdale Pioneers, the 28 weavers and community activists who founded the first successful cooperative market in England in 1844, was of the building next door, which they transformed into a library and a classroom. Sound familiar?

Education is so critical to cooperative success that it is embedded in the Statement of Cooperative Identity, adopted by all cooperatives worldwide, and can be found as the Fifth Cooperative Principle: Education, Training, and Information, which states: "Cooperatives provide education and training for their members, elected representatives, managers, and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their cooperatives. They inform the general public — particularly young people and opinion leaders — about the nature and benefits of co-operation." As member-owned enterprises, cooperatives cannot be successful without education, which is vital to ensure the effective and informed participation of members. If co-ops are to be part of the solution to many of the world's problems, not only must people be aware of the concept, they must be willing to participate in it. Such active involvement won't occur if people don't understand cooperative enterprise.

GreenStar has been fulfilling this principle for years, offering weekly informational and cooking classes (open to the entire community, not only GreenStar member-owners), sponsoring Council and staff participation in cooperative conferences, and issuing this newsletter, to name a few of our educational initiatives. In an effort to grow our educational offerings and further engage our members and staff, I am pleased to let you know of two new opportunities we have just put in place, as well as upcoming plans for the future!

Cooking Matters® at the Store at GreenStar!

In our continued efforts to increase affordability and accessibility at GreenStar, we are thrilled to offer a new, free Program, Cooking Matters® at the Store at GreenStar, a program designed for GreenStar FLOWER members and Healthy Food For All recipients. Cooking Matters® at the Store is a program of Share Our Strength's No Kid Hungry campaign, which empowers families to stretch their food budgets to get the healthiest bang for their food dollars by making nutritious food choices.

Read more: Announcing Two New Educational Opportunities at the Co-op

 

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    Seventh Annual Black History Month International Poetry Contest

    Sponsored by GreenStar Co-op Market and GreenStar Community Projects, The Moonlighter Press, Alternatives Federal Credit Union, Sustainable Tompkins and Rainbow Healing Dance Center Inc.

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