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



A March Medley of Member-Owner Updates

Monday, 02 March 2015 01:16

By Alexis Alexander,

Membership Manager

Member Survey

GreenStar's annual member-owner survey will be conducted in March this year. The survey provides the Operations staff and Council valuable feedback from our member-owners so we can better meet their diverse needs.

All member-owners who are signed up to receive required mailings or announcements by email will receive a copy of the survey in that way. If you're signed up for emails and don't receive a survey link in your inbox by March 3, please check your Spam folder or, if you use gmail, try the Promotions folder. If the survey still doesn't show up in those folders, it could be that we have the wrong address listed, so please contact me at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and I'll resend the survey link to you.

Member-owners who have not signed up to receive mailings via email will be able to pick up a copy at the Member Center at either store beginning March 1.

We've allotted one month for survey collection. Please complete and turn in the survey by March 31. We greatly appreciate your feedback on how the Co-op is doing.

Member Vote & Upcoming Member-Owner Meetings

April is Council election month. This year's election is a big one, with nine out of fifteen seats to be filled. A mailing will be sent to all member-owners in April that will include statements by each member-owner running for election. Council statements will also be posted in April at the Member Center at each store. If you prefer to receive your Spring Mailing by email and have not yet signed up to be on our "required mailings" email list, you have until Friday, March 13 to guarantee being put on the list in time for this mailing. Please send your email request to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Mark your calendars for our annual Spring Member-Owner Meeting and the Member-Owner Forum. The annual Spring Meeting is scheduled for Friday, April 17 at 5:30 pm at the Space @ GreenStar and will feature a question-and-answer session with Council candidates. The annual "open mic" Spring Member Forum is scheduled for Tuesday, April 7 from 5:30 to 7:30 pm in the Classrooms @ GreenStar. The Forum provides ample time for member-owners to ask Council questions and to share suggestions and concerns. Further details on both meetings will be available in the April GreenLeaf.

Credit Cards vs Debit Cards: Which is Better for the Co-op?

Over the years we've frequently been asked by those who pay with bank cards whether credit or debit is less costly to the co-op. It's an important question since the fees associated with bank card usage cost us a significant amount of money each year. For instance, in 2014 the total credit/debit card fee expenditure was $231,693, which represents 1.2 percent of sales.

We can say with relative certainty that for purchases over $20, using a debit card has lower fees for the co-op. However, if the purchase is under $20, there is no clear guideline. It actually depends on the fee structure stipulated for the specific cards in question. So if you're curious about which is better in your case for purchases under $20, and you'd like to help save the co-op unnecessary fees, you'd need to review the fee structure outlined by your issuing bank to determine which would cost GreenStar less.

We truly appreciate the concern that our member-owners and customers have for maintaining our financial health. I hope this information will be helpful for bank card users in making your decisions about which card to use. For the record, cash is always least expensive to the Co-op (no fees!) and checks are less expensive than cards. Most important, we appreciate the business of member-owners and visitors alike, whatever your payment method at any day or time!


Improving Membership Transactions at the Registers

Sunday, 01 February 2015 20:48

By Alexis Alexander,

Membership Manager

receiptsTechnologically speaking, 2015 is shaping up to be a pretty good year so far. Over the past several months, the Front End, Information Services, and Membership Departments have been collaborating on register improvements to enhance our service to member-owners, especially as it relates to renewal processing. Recent upgrades by the software developer and manufacturer of our register system have enabled us to add features to our registers that have been on our wish list for some time now. These features will help us ensure that memberships are renewed in a more timely fashion, and that our member-owners don't lose out on member discount and Member Deals savings because of a lapsed membership.

In the past, when cashiers entered a member number, they needed to look in a certain field on the register screen to see the renewal date. Naturally, in the course of a busy day, ringing up numerous transactions, it was easy for them to sometimes miss this item. But now, when a cashier puts in a member number, if a renewal payment is due, a pop-up screen comes up with a clear alert of expiration. In order to proceed with the transaction, the cashier must let the register know whether the member-owner plans to renew or not, guaranteeing that the cashier will communicate with members about upcoming renewals.

Read more: Improving Membership Transactions at the Registers

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!


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