Monday, 01 March 2010 09:51
By Alexis Alexander,
Ahh March!! That cherished month of the Spring Equinox, when the dark days of winter magically relinquish themselves to the ever-increasing light and, if we’re really lucky, warmth. It is a time of renewal and initiation, of seeing the first glimpse of rejuvenation in our woods and gardens, and of planting new seeds, including the internal seeds that sprout our hopes and dreams.
As I reflect on where we are in the Membership Department, the time of year feels quite appropriate. Renewal and initiation are all around us. Renewal where our current members are concerned, and initiation of new members into our co-op.
As I write this article on a wonderfully sunny February day, we are still in the midst of “Renewal Season.” In January, I shared with you that we were working to improve our membership processing. I’m thrilled to report that we have been quite successful. In January alone, we processed 1,172 renewals with relatively few problems (OK, trivia buffs, this is a number you just might want to keep in mind…not that we are going to sponsor a Membership trivia contest later this spring or anything).
Of course, we couldn’t have a successful renewal season without the efforts of a dedicated Customer Service staff. I would like to pay tribute to all our cashiers and customer service staff and management, who so willingly embraced the mission of the renewal season, right on the heels of a very busy holiday season, and who have worked extremely conscientiously (and some rather competitively!) to process so many renewals in such an expedient and accurate fashion.
What’s really surprised me during this period is the number of new member-owners who have joined GreenStar — 142 just in January! This substantial figure reflects the growing strength of the worldwide cooperative movement as discussed at our Fall Member Meeting by Adam Schwartz of the National Cooperative Business Association. It also reminds me of the responsibility we have as a co-op to ensure that we are doing our best to educate our customers and member-owners on GreenStar’s cooperative mission and values. That’s why two important initiatives of the Membership Department for this year are the development of a comprehensive Membership orientation program for member-owners and a Membership training program for all staff that focuses on what cooperatives are all about; the benefits and responsibilities of being a member-owner, and GreenStar’s role in the greater cooperative movement. We will also create an updated New Member-Owner brochure and other membership materials, and expand Co-op tours for the local colleges. I’m excited to announce that Jen Wholey, a Cornell student who served as an intern for GreenLeaf last semester, is joining the Membership Department as a superworker to help us develop these programs and materials.
As the Membership Department plants its seeds this Spring, our dream is to sprout an ever more vibrant future, where the cooperative mission and values blossom even more fully within our eight walls (two locations!), within the hearts and souls of our members, and within everyone that GreenStar touches in our community and beyond. Happy Spring Equinox to you all!
By Dan Hoffman,
12th Moon, Kristen Kaplan, Eric Banford, Susan Beckley, Jessica Rossi and Mark Darling finished the counting in just under four hours.
412 Total valid envelopes
21 total invalid = 19- no ID, 1- first of two ballots, 1- no ballot in envelope
Also = 1- name tag, 5- 2 cent slips, 1- Member Labor Request and two wooden nickles.
Two thirds vote required to pass.
Q#1 = PASS
Q#2 = FAIL
Q#3 = PASS
Q#4 = PASS
Q#5 = PASS
Q#6 = PASS
GreenStar member-owners are the only ones who have the power to change the Co-op's bylaws, the organization's most basic and important document. There is an opportunity to do so (or not) during this month — at the Fall Member Meeting, at the stores, or by mail.
GreenStar's Council has established an ad hoc Bylaws Review Committee, which started meeting again earlier this year, after being inactive for at least two years. Council had referred a couple of issues to the committee, which identified several more on its own. In August, Council voted (unanimously, except in the case of #2, below) to send the committee's six recommended bylaws amendments to the membership for a YES or NO vote on each of the following questions:
1. Should the Co-op be allowed to use a withdrawing member's refundable equity contribution [which could be up to $90] to pay off any outstanding debt the member has to the Co-op (such as for bad checks)?
2. Should all Council candidates and members be required to satisfy any requirements associated with operational licenses maintained or sought by the Co-op (such as to sell or serve alcohol)?
3. Should Council be allowed to conduct closed executive sessions for two additional topics — possible litigation or contract negotiations?
4. Should the composition of Council's Immediacies Committee be changed to match that described in Council policy, and that of the Executive Planning Committee?
5. Should the use of gender-specific pronouns (such as "he" or "she") be eliminated in the bylaws?
6. Should three "clerical errors" made when the bylaws were amended in 2010 be officially corrected?
Much more information on the proposed amendments, including detailed explanations, pro and con statements and voting instructions, are available in the Fall Member Mailing, which all current members should receive in the mail by October 6. Members can vote up until close of business on Oct. 31 at either store, by mailing in the ballot from the Mailing, or in person at the Fall Member Meeting, on Friday, Oct. 16, at the Space.
By Alexis Alexander,
I have woken to a new day, a day when GreenStar's annual Member Meetings and pancakes are defined as pure elegance and inspiration. Surprised?
The morning after our Fall Member Meeting, I'm entranced by the experience of last night. I realize how far GreenStar has come over the years, and how integral and essential a partner we are in the wider regional food movement before us. Our roots as a buying club and grain store have matured into a multimillion-dollar community-ba...