By Brandon Kane, General Manager

By now, if we’ve done our job well, you should be (practically) sick of hearing about our Capital Campaign and the key role it plays in our expansion and relocation project. If we’ve somehow failed to reach you yet, here’s the elevator speech: We need to raise $1.5 million from member-owner investments by June 14. The additional $2.5 million in loans already secured is dependent on our achieving this investment goal. As of late May, we’ve collected about $755,000, with an additional $200,000 committed but not yet collected. I’m confident we’ll achieve our spring goal because our wonderfully diverse community deeply supports its co-op and knows that we deliver on our commitments.

I’m currently drafting a report to Council on GreenStar’s Ends policies. Ends policies describe how and why we deliver on our every commitment. To think about this broadly, our Ends state that the purpose of GreenStar Co-op is to nurture community, foster cooperation and education, maintain democratic control, provide wholesome and healthy food, meaningfully contribute to ecological sustainability, and demonstrate that a successful grocery business can be kind and fair to the people it employs and conducts business with.

I can confidently report that we’re nailing the lofty expectations of these policies even though there’s always room to continually improve the results that the spirit of our Ends policies invites. That’s actually what they’re all about — a set of values-based outcomes that grow in magnitude over time.

We held our first $5 Community Dinner on May 15 at The Space from 5 to 7 pm. Co-op staff served more than forty people of all ages a well-rounded meal that far exceeded what you might expect for such a price. We anticipate hosting another dinner in July, then giving more with increased frequency until they become a weekly feature at our new flagship store in 2020. This community dinner concept represents a fantastic example of GreenStar’s efforts to nurture its community.

Fifteen years ago, when I began working for GreenStar, we had about 8,000 member-owners. Today, our membership numbers over 13,000! Cooperation is without a doubt being fostered up here in central New York. We just completed our annual Council election and will seat six folks — some new, some incumbent — at our June board meeting. GreenStar’s Board of directors (or “Council” as we’ve historically called it) is elected by hundreds, sometimes thousands, of our member-owners. Council members provide the critical service of governing the Co-op and ensuring it’s operating successfully and ethically, while delivering on those Ends policy outcomes. Democratic process is alive and well at GreenStar!

There’s a myriad of ways to define food as wholesome and healthy, with certified organic being the most obvious. In 2018, GreenStar sales of certified organic food surpassed $2 million. As the Co-op grows, so do our sales of certified organic goods. What we’re accomplishing here is important.

You may be aware of our recent announcement that we’re installing an electric heating system at our new store that will be powered entirely by solar electricity. This switch to the use of renewable resources is substantial for any business of our size, and even more impressive considering the energy needs of a larger full-service grocery business!

The notion of fairness is woven through all things GreenStar and may be best demonstrated by the fact that our co-op is the first grocery business in the nation (yes, for real, the first) to be Domestic Fair Trade certified. This certification ensures that GreenStar will be held to the highest standards of wages and treatment in the workplace for its employees.

It’s fortunate timing that I’m writing this article while simultaneously deep into reporting all the amazing ways GreenStar impacts its community. These outcomes are the result of our persistent investment in our cooperative on an emotional and financial level. Our owner investment goal of $1.5 million will be met only with the help of each and every owner. Whether it be by purchasing investment shares or simply choosing to shop as much as we can at GreenStar, each member-owner has the opportunity to help cultivate our co-op.

To learn more, please write our Capital Campaign coordinators at