Hope_SpithalerWhat was your first encounter with GreenStar, and when did you become a member?

My first encounter with GreenStar was shortly after moving to Ithaca in 2017. I became a member on my second shopping trip, after realizing that GreenStar was going to be a staple of life here in Ithaca. I was interested in supporting the co-op model; I was connected to GreenStar’s values; I was impressed by the people, the energy, and the food.

What made you decide to become more active in the Co-ops Governance?

I decided to become more active in GreenStar’s governance because I was looking to get more involved in our community in a way that matched well with my experience and interests. My background was in nonprofit management, but I was also passionate about the co-op model.

Rarely do we have opportunities to participate directly in the organization of an essential, collectively owned cooperative that fuels our community. Becoming more involved with GreenStar became a clear choice.

What is different / what has changed about Council since you were first elected?

A few things have changed since I first joined GreenStar’s Council two years ago. Due largely to the challenging environment brought on by COVID-19, Council has come together in a more unified way to support our organization. There has been a deeper focus on supporting GreenStar’s operational leadership. There has also been a keen focus on connecting with members, which is a particularly difficult challenge given the physical restraints that the pandemic has created. Despite these challenges, the optimism and commitment of GreenStar’s Council has remained strong.

What do you find most Rewarding as a volunteer Council Member?

What I find most rewarding as a member of GreenStar’s Council is the opportunity to serve an organization that has such a strong impact on our community and that achieves its impact through a business model that aligns with my own values, particularly around democratic participation, collective ownership, and a focus on being local. I appreciate that more than half of every dollar spent at GreenStar stays local. I appreciate the commitment that each GreenStar member, shopper, staffer, and more, exhibit on a daily basis to supporting an organization that strives for inclusion, sustainability, health, and a strong local economy.