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



GreenStar Forges New, Exciting Partnerships

By Alexis Alexander, 

Membership Manager

Food4All-300x260I am thrilled to announce that, for the first time since our FLOWER low-income discount program began four years ago, we've added a new qualifying program, Healthy Food For All (HFFA). What makes this addition particularly exciting is that it's the first local community program to be a qualifier for FLOWER. Until now, we've used only national programs for FLOWER qualification (Food Stamps, Public Assistance, Medicaid, WIC, and Free School Lunch). HFFA will allow us to broaden the program by reaching individuals and families who are income-eligible for those national programs, but don't qualify for other reasons or choose not to participate in them.

Healthy Food For All is a truly beautiful example of food justice in action. The program is a collaborative effort between local farmers who offer Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares and the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County. The program provides households of limited income with access to locally grown produce at a price they can afford via subsidized CSA shares. To ensure that the farmers receive a fair price for these shares, HFFA actively raises funds through grants and benefit galas, such as Harvest Dinners on the Farm. Consequently, HFFA not only benefits the households that receive the produce, but also the farmers who are committed to sustainable, organic farming practices.

Given the similarities in the food access goals of HFFA and our own FLOWER program, using HFFA as a qualifier for FLOWER was simply a natural. Some HFFA participants were already paying for their CSA shares at GreenStar, an arrangement entered into when HFFA was looking for a way to enable participants to pay for the CSA's with food stamps; this was a service we could easily provide. Now, those participants and others in the program will have improved access to an even greater variety of food products through the opportunity to become FLOWER participants. Our FLOWER program is certainly blossoming!

At the same time we were establishing our HFFA-FLOWER partnership, Southside Community Center approached us with a generous opportunity for our member-owners. As a thank-you for the dedication and support GreenStar has given Southside through the years, they've offered to give GreenStar member-owners a 10 percent discount off the tuition fee for their afterschool program.

The Southside Community Center afterschool program focuses on multicultural education and multi-ethnic pride. Children aged 5 to 12 participate in activities together to encourage community building and cooperation. Activities range from homework review and science experiments with Cornell staff to foreign language instruction from native speakers, gardening, indoor and outdoor playtime, singing, dancing, and music instruction from the Ithaca College Music Department.

The program runs from 2 to 5 pm on regular school days from September 16 to the last day of school in June. Children can be registered for the program at any time throughout the school year, provided vacancies still exist. For more information on the program, visit the Southside Community Center's website at http://sscc-ithaca.org/afterschool-program. And remember, if you sign up, let them know you're a GreenStar member-owner so you can receive your 10 percent discount!

At a time when there's so much discord and strife at the national level, it's wonderful to know that here in Ithaca, on the local level, we're thriving in such beneficial community partnerships. We at GreenStar are so fortunate to connect with others who are willing to work together in a spirit of cooperation and collaboration to make this community that much better.

For more information on the Healthy Food For All program, visit: www.healthyfoodforall.org.

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