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



Exercising Our Right to Vote...Right Here at GreenStar

Thursday, 01 November 2012 14:57

By Alexis Alexander, 

Membership Manager

12-12 Voting_Results_CSS_Web

What a November! Not only do many of us have the opportunity to vote in an all-important national election, but as GreenStar member-owners we also have the opportunity to vote on two very important measures here at the Co-op: the first measure replaces our two-percent discount with a Patronage Dividend system; the second is a proposal for a Collegetown satellite store.


My purpose today is not to talk about the merits of the proposals. Rather, I want to focus on why strong membership participation in GreenStar's voting process is so important to the Co-op's current well-being and future growth.

Voting is both an essential benefit and a responsibility of membership. According to the second Cooperative Principle, cooperatives are democratic organizations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting policies and making decisions. As member-owners, one way we can actively participate in decision-making is through the democratic voting process. Every GreenStar member-owner is eligible to vote in Council elections, on member-sponsored referendums, and on policy matters that require a membership vote, as outlined in our bylaws.

Read more: Exercising Our Right to Vote...Right Here at GreenStar


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


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