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



Co-op Principle #3: Member Economic Participation-What Does It Really Mean?

Tuesday, 02 October 2012 22:42

By Alexis Alexander, 

Membership Manager

512px-Cornucopia of_fruit_and_vegetables_wedding_banquet_croppedIn November, GreenStar member-owners will be asked to vote on two very important measures that will influence the Co-op and its potential for fulfilling member-owners' needs and desires for years to come. Today, I'm focusing on the first measure, which proposes to replace the current two-percent discount at the register with a Patronage Dividend system. A member mailing outlining the proposal is being sent to member-owners. We'll be holding informational sessions this month, in addition to the Fall Member meeting on Thursday, Nov. 8, for member-owners to learn more about the proposed system.

 The vote on Patronage Dividend specifically relates to how we, as member-owners, participate in the fiscal well-being of our co-op. Member-owner fiscal responsibility is outlined in the third Cooperative Principle: Member Economic Participation. But what does "Member Economic Participation" really mean? Why should we, as member-owners, be concerned about the impact that member benefits, such as Patronage Dividend or discounts at the register, have on the Co-op?

In 1996, Elizabeth Archerd, the Membership and Marketing Manager of the Wedge Community Co-op in Minneapolis, wrote a series on the Cooperative Principles for Co-op Consumer News. The Member Economic Participation segment is still highly relevant today. I would like to share it with you, as I believe it highlights the meaning of this principle in a very comprehensive and succinct manner.

Read more: Co-op Principle #3: Member Economic Participation-What Does It Really Mean?


Stay Informed and Get Involved, Important Votes Are Ahead

Tuesday, 02 October 2012 22:11

By Alexis Alexander, Membership Manager, and 

Kristie Snyder, GreenLeaf Editor


collegetown-store-infoThese are exciting times at GreenStar, when 
member-owners can have a voice in decisions that will impact the Co-op, and possibly the Ithaca community, for a long time to come. In November, member-owners will be asked to vote on a potential third store, to be located in Collegetown, as well as a proposed change in the way GreenStar issues member discounts. Many opportunities are being planned for member-owners to learn about both topics in order to make informed decisions during the voting period.

October kicks off with a Member Forum to discuss the possible Collegetown store, held on Thursday, Oct. 4 from 6:30 to 8:30 at The Space @ GreenStar. Council and management will share the proposed plans and budget for the project and will then allow time for discussion, questions and answers. Refreshments will be served.

Throughout October, Council and management will host informational sessions to explain and answer member-owners' questions about the proposed Patronage Dividend system. These sessions will be held in the West-End store meeting room so that member-owners can easily stop by during shopping trips. Dates and times will be posted soon at the Member Centers in both stores and on the register screens.

Read more: Stay Informed and Get Involved, Important Votes Are Ahead

Generations of GreenStar

Saturday, 01 September 2012 15:49

By Kristie Snyder,

GreenLeaf Editor

Three generations of GreenStar members ­— clockwise from top left: Jules Burgevin, Connor Burgevin, 
Peter Burgevin, Patti Burgevin and Margo Alexander. All are GreenStar member-owners.

My eight-year-old thinks GreenStar is the greatest grocery store on the planet. And who's going to tell him differently? His mom and uncle work here, other family members have worked here in the past, his grandparents shop here, and every time he steps into one of the stores he sees friends of all ages. To him, GreenStar is one big happy family, and he's far from alone in that. After 41 years in business, GreenStar now spans generations. Among GreenStar employees you'll find parents and children, siblings, spouses and partners. GreenStar's idealistic young founders now sport gray hair and bring their grandkids into the store for treats. Adults who were once babies strapped to parents' backs as they bagged bulk items are now members in their own right. Kids are practically being raised in GreenStar, and many of them, as they grow up, will carry cooperative values forward into their own lives.

The Burgevin family of Trumansburg is one of many that perfectly exemplify GreenStar's generational appeal. Patti and Jules Burgevin joined GreenStar in its infancy, back in the days of the Ithaca Real Food Co-op. Their son Peter and his wife, Margo Alexander, have been members nearly as long, and one of their two sons, now in college, is a GreenStar member, too, having bought a full-equity membership on school break a couple of years ago. (If Margo's last name rings a bell it may be because she's the sister of our Membership Manager Alexis Alexander — yet another family tie.)

"Patti and I function in a cooperative mode in our lives, and we raised our children in the same way," said Jules, so joining the local food co-op just made sense. "No other stores were carrying organic foods at that time; there were few organic farmers even in the area," added Patti. "We believe in the principles of cooperatives and what they do to help the community. And there's just good food there!"

Read more: Generations of GreenStar


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