Thursday, 02 July 2015 06:45
By Kristie Snyder,
GreenStar recently welcomed a newcomer to the Finance Manager position, Erik Amos. We asked him a few questions so as to let our member-owners better get to know one of the folks who performs a vital "behind-the-scenes" job to keep the Co-op running and vital!
When did you start as Finance Manager, and what attracted you to working at the Co-op?
I joined Finance in March. Before that, I worked at the DeWitt store for about a year as a Manager on Duty. I studied sociology and alternative economic systems at the University of Oregon, and while there I stumbled upon cooperative systems and cooperative economics. From there, I worked as a kitchen manager for an organic craft brewery in Olympia, Washington, and then I worked at Wheatsville Co-op in Austin, Texas for five years as an IT coordinator. I really like GreenStar in part because it encourages and allows the owners to get involved — not all co-ops do that. GreenStar is really integrated into the community, and I find that really appealing.
Friday, 01 May 2015 21:19
When the man who feeds the world by toiling in the fields is himself deprived of the basic rights of feeding, sheltering, and caring for his own family, the whole community of man is sick.
— César Chávez
By Joe Romano,
You may have noticed that the Classrooms @ GreenStar building has been adorned with a beautiful new mural that wraps the building. If you have not already seen it, stop by sometime and take a look. The mural was created for GreenStar by two collaborating artists, Paloma, who came to us all the way from Peru, and Kazoo, a former Ithaca resident who now resides in Oakland, California. Their credits include working with Positive News, Black Lives Matter, and co-founding a silkscreen co-op in San Francisco. The design is of farmers in a field and is intended to draw attention to the hard work performed by farm workers and the circumstances in which it is often performed. Also, there is a graph that shows how little of the proceeds from the average farm actually goes to the workers. This "Food Justice for Farmworkers" theme will help inform and educate our members and the community about the difficulties still faced by workers today, and aligns perfectly with our values here at GreenStar.
The artists were invited here by Caleb Thomas, working through the City of Ithaca Public Art Commission. According to GreenStar Council Member, Eric Banford, writing in Tompkins Weekly:
[Caleb] Thomas recently traveled to California to tour public murals in Oakland, San Francisco and Los Angeles...Once he returned to Ithaca, he taught an Art and Social Justice class at New Roots Charter School, where he posed the question, "What would you like to see on a mural?" Antonio Triana is the son of a tutor for migrant workers, and expressed an interest in seeing a mural that honored migrant workers. Thomas took a picture of Antonio holding a poster with his idea on it, emailed it to artists he had connected with in Oakland, and it immediately resonated with them. The idea for the GreenStar mural was born.
Wednesday, 01 April 2015 22:12
By Joe Romano,
Bargain: Anything a customer thinks a store is losing money on.
— Kin Hubbard
Life is a gift. The food we need to maintain it, however, is not. In fact, food is costly. Food is so valuable that around ten thousand years ago sacks of grain were used as currency, and food was used as money to purchase other things.
GreenStar itself was founded upon sacks of grain. The Ithaca Real Food Co-op, which evolved into the GreenStar we know today, was little more than a room filled with these grain sacks. In fact, people called it "the grainstore," a name that eventually evolved into "GreenStar." That was over forty years ago.
In all that time, GreenStar has been known for its prices, and not in a good way. We have spent a lot of time and energy talking about how nutritionally dense our food is, how much more nutrition is provided to our families for each dollar spent. We heard back that people had only so much money with which to feed their families and that the bottom line was that we needed to lower our prices.
We also spent a lot of time talking about the hidden costs of food. We told anyone who would listen that there were hidden costs involved in the selling of good food. If one were to ensure that farmers were paid properly, that farm workers were paid properly, that store employees were properly compensated, that care went into the growing, packaging, and delivery of the food, and that the Earth and its inhabitants were not being harmed, well, those facts would be reflected in the price.
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