Friday, 02 May 2014 15:08
In February, GreenStar Community Projects (or GSCP, GreenStar's non-profit affiliate) hired Holly Payne as Coordinator. We conducted an interview with her in April about her role at GSCP and the organization's future. For more information about GSCP and its projects, visit greenstarcommunityprojects.org.
GreenLeaf: For those who aren't familiar with it, what is GSCP's mission?
Holly Payne: GSCP's mission is to help create a sustainable food system at local and regional levels that promotes health, equity, and community control of essential resources. GSCP is the non-profit, tax-exempt affiliate of GreenStar Co-op.
GL: What is the current focus of your work for GSCP?
HP: GSCP supports the growing movement for food justice and sustainability by connecting diverse initiatives across the community and region. Through networking we provide opportunities for engagement and collaboration. We run a Community Dinners Initiative in which local hosts offer small, informal dinners from their homes, to bring disenfranchised individuals together in a conversation about food access and equity.
We have built an active network that meets regularly to connect all players in our local food system — we have hosted eight sessions, each one addressing different focal building blocks of the food system. More than 200 participants have helped identify critical gaps that keep us from effectively moving ahead and one salient problem seems to be coordinated communication. Ongoing conversations (like those at the Community Dinners and during networking sessions) are critical to our success. We also need a forum to keep us connected in between sessions and dinners.
We're working on a new website to connect all players to a just, sustainable food system. This effort will help bridge the communication gap identified in our networking sessions, through interactive media that engages participants in the ongoing conversation.
Thursday, 03 April 2014 18:36
For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love.
— Carl Sagan
By Joe Romano,
On Dec. 7, 1972, the people of Earth saw something that none of us had ever experienced in all of the hundreds of thousands of years we have been in existence. It was the first full-view image of Earth, taken from space. Quickly dubbed the "Big Blue Marble," the photo accomplished something that nothing prior had. It made concrete the concept that we were all citizens of a single place — our home, the Earth. Our petty squabbles with one another, our utter waste of resources, and our mass-production of countless toxins were instantly placed in an all-too-finite context.
There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.
These were the words of an esteemed Ithacan, and a leading scientist of the era, Carl Sagan, who made it his life's work to educate Earthlings that we are global citizens, indeed, that we are citizens of the cosmos.
The photo of our Earth came at an important time and became an important visual icon. Because we were becoming aware of ourselves as citizens of one planet, tiny and vulnerable, the 1970s would become the decade of the Earth. It was as if we could see ourselves, floating alone in a vast, empty, and indifferent universe, and like the technological teenagers we were, we finally realized the value of cleaning up our room.
Thursday, 03 April 2014 18:25
By Samatha Abrams,
Co-Founder, Emmy's Organics
When you're shopping in GreenStar, there is a lot to look at. The aisles are filled with products and brands that you know and many that you don't. What are the things that you check for? Do you look at the branding of a package and think, "This is for me!" Or do you look at the ingredients of the product? Or do you shop by certifications, such as "Organic" or "Non--GMO"?
Do you ever wonder what else is behind a product and the company that makes it? There's so much behind the business of packaging and branding that is meant to confuse shoppers. A package that looks natural, healthy, or consciously made may quite possibly be the opposite. This issue is exactly what the non-profit B Lab was created to tackle. In their words, it's "a way for consumers to differentiate between a 'Good Company' and just 'Good Marketing.'"
B Lab, the non-profit behind B Corps, was founded in 2006. Their main mission? To serve a movement of entrepreneurs who are "redefining success in business." To do this, B Lab certifies companies that meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. The certification is based on the "B Impact Assessment," which helps companies measure their impact on workers, the community, and the environment.
Beyond having created a tool to help companies measure impact, B Lab supports entrepreneurs who use business as a force for good by passing legislation for a new corporate form all around the country. This new corporate form, the Benefit Corporation, allows companies to bake their social and environmental missions into the DNA of their companies. B Corps around the world have been shown to create higher quality jobs and improve the quality of life in their communities for current and future generations.
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By Laura Buttenbaum,
What is a co-op? This seemingly straightforward question can elicit a wide range of responses, from visceral and intrinsic to completely organizational and economic. According to the International Cooperative Association, "A co-operative is an autonomous association of persons unite...