Vote on Proposed Bylaws Amendment During October

Council - Special News

Tuesday, 01 October 2013 14:47


Proposed Bylaws Amendments (That Would Make Member-Owner Capital Contributions Refundable)

Should Article V ("Membership") of the Bylaws of GreenStar Cooperative Market be amended as shown below, in order to make required capital contributions from member-owners refundable (subject to the conditions described in section V.C.4)?

[NOTE: existing language proposed to be deleted is stricken; language proposed to be added is bolded & underlined.]




C. Capital Contributions by Members-Owners ...

4. Provided that doing so will not substantially jeopardize the cooperative's ability to meet its capital needs as may be determined in the sole discretion of Council and according to fiscally prudent standards established by the Council, the cooperative shall, upon request, refund the annual or special capital contributions that were made by a qualified "withdrawing member-owner," subject to the conditions set forth in this section. A withdrawing member-owner is one who, in writing, has relinquished membership, or whose membership has been terminated for failure to meet the conditions of membership, or who has died. To qualify for such as refund, a withdrawing member-owner (or the representative of a deceased member-owner's estate) must first submit to the cooperative a written request for a refund. Any refund shall not exceed the original amount paid by the member-owner, and shall not include interest or dividend of any kind. The cooperative may deduct from any such refund any debt the member-owner owes to the cooperative. All required capital contributions shall be non-refundable, except Iin the event of dissolution of the cooperative, in which case member capital shall be refunded in accordance with Section XV.C.2 of these Bylaws.


E. Suspension, Relinquishment and Termination of Membership

1. Any member A member-owner may voluntarily relinquish his or her that person's membership by submitting a written resignation to the cooperative and returning his or her membership/renewal certificate(s).

2. Failure to meet the conditions of membership,including make timely payment of any required capital contribution shall constitute forfeiture result in suspension of membership, and/or grounds for termination of membership and all related benefits, until such contribution is made, unless the Council establishes a general deadline for delayed payment of such contributions and the member-owner in question fails to meet any such deadline, which failure shall result in automatic termination of that membership.

3. Furthermore, tThe Council may terminate a membership, only for cause, for failure to comply with any other condition of membership, after a hearing to which the member-owner in question has been duly invited upon at least one week's notice, and a two-thirds majority vote by the Council.

4. Membership is deemed terminated upon the death of a member-owner.

5. Reapplication for membership after a membership has been relinquished or terminated, and a capital contribution has been refunded, shall be subject to full repayment of the refund proceeds and a reasonable reprocessing fee, if any.

6. If termination was involuntary (other than failure to make a required capital contribution), the reapplication must be approved by the Council.

13 10_brownmailing Click to download full mailing including
all voting materials.

Member-owners should have control over their investment

Pro Statement by Keith Babuszczak, Membership Committee Chair

GreenStar, and all cooperatives, are democratic organizations made up of those who voluntarily join together to support each other and a variety of greater causes. These values were held by the Rochdale Pioneers and are written into the first principle of the International Co-operative Alliance: "voluntary and open membership."

The bylaws change up for a vote throughout October, (ballot and text on p. 6-7), would enable member-owners, when

they choose to leave, to receive a refund of the equity they paid into the cooperative following specific guidelines and only if refunding the money will not put GreenStar in financial risk. Member-owners will not be able to repeatedly leave and join again without paying back their full divestment.

As member-owners, we did more than just join GreenStar. We examined our consciences and resources, and invested in the cooperative. Member-owners should have control over their investment. This should include being able to voluntarily withdraw their investment and ownership stake. There are many reasons member-owners may wish to divest; for example, they may

move and want to invest in a local cooperative elsewhere.

GreenStar enjoys many benefits from the federal and state government. By allowing refundable equity when member-owners choose to leave our co-op, we ensure that we are aligned to various statutes and best practices of cooperatives.

In drafting this change, we researched cooperatives and support organizations throughout the state and nationally. We also got advice from a lawyer who works closely with cooperatives.

Refundable equity follows best practices of cooperatives and promotes voluntary and open membership in GreenStar. We ask that you approve these changes.

–Keith Babuszczak

NOTE to MEMBERS: Whenever a binding vote by the membership is scheduled, the Co-op tries to find members on each side of the issue who will write “pro and con” statements, so voters can be more informed. We were unable to find a Council or other member who was willing to write a statement opposing the change to the bylaws amendment.

2013 vote

Council Approves Ends Policies for Member-Owners' Consideration — Give Your Feedback

Council - Announcements

Sunday, 01 September 2013 21:50

By Jessica Rossi, 

Council Secretary and Chair of the Ends Committee

jessicarossi72dpiAt this year's GreenStar Council Spring Retreat, it was decided that a committee was needed to draft the new Ends policies needed to complete Council's policy book. At its very next board meeting, in May 2013, Council moved to form an Ends Committee to complete this project. The goal set for this committee was to compose a draft of these Ends policies and then to revise the proposed policies, as necessary, after receiving feedback from Council Members and any and all interested GreenStar member-owners.

After only two months of meetings, the committee settled upon seven Ends statements. They were presented to Council at its August board meeting and unanimously accepted as ready to present to the cooperative's member-owners for feedback. Council further charged its Membership Committee with the advertisement and communication of these proposed Council policies to the membership at large. Both the Ends Committee and Council agreed that only after Council had received adequate feedback on these proposed policies (as detailed below) would they be formally voted on and approved.

Unlike many of the various Council policies in existence today, Ends policies are meant to reflect the overarching direction of the organization as a whole, not just what is expected of the Council Members and/or General Manager. Once finished, our Ends statements will describe the cooperative's purpose, or reason(s) for existence; thus, the overall success of the cooperative will only be reached by achieving the outcomes detailed in all of the Ends policies.

Read more: Council Approves Ends Policies for Member-Owners' Consideration — Give Your Feedback

Council Seeks "Ends" Policy Feedback; 
Approves Updated Local and Regional Definitions

Council - Council News

Sunday, 01 September 2013 21:34


By 12th Moon, 

Council President

11-5-12thMoon-72dpiCouncil held its monthly meeting at 6:30 pm on Tuesday, Aug. 13 in The Space @ GreenStar.

Brandon Kane, our General Manager (GM), presented the first item on our agenda, the monthly GM's Report. We learned that the central kitchen/bakery project is on schedule and that construction should have begun by the end of August with a completion date in December. Staff will move into the new facility in January 2014. With the help of two consultants from the National Cooperative Grocers Association we will begin planning in September for redesigning to be done in both stores after the move. We were also told that the annual Ice Cream Social will take place from 2 pm "until the ice cream runs out" on Labor Day, Monday Sept. 2 in the outdoor eating area at the West-End store.

Additionally we learned that Majora Carter, renowned radio host and founder of Sustainable South Bronx, the Bronx Environmental Stewardship Training Program, and the economic consulting firm The Majora Carter Group, will be the keynote speaker at this year's Food Justice Summit on Saturday, Sept. 21. This will be the third year that our non-profit affiliate GreenStar Community Projects (GSCP) has organized the Food Justice Summit. Please consider joining the Farm-a-Thon, or donating to those who will be working on a local farm, in the morning, and come to the street festival from noon to 5 pm at the Southside Community Center. For more info visit

Read more: Council Seeks "Ends" Policy Feedback; 
Approves Updated Local and Regional Definitions


The Reluctant Joiner

Council - Announcements

Sunday, 04 August 2013 23:35

By D.E. Bentley

join-a-committeeJoining is, without a doubt, a means to an end. People in their earliest incarnations joined to survive. It didn't take long for humans to figure out that it was much easier to fight ferocious beasts or gather food and other resources when they joined together to form a band of people. That said, some people, myself included, are not, by nature, joiners. But, as with all rules, there are exceptions. One notable exception has been my decision to join GreenStar and, for the past year, serve as an at-large member on the Governance Committee.

There were several reasons for my choice to serve as an at-large member. First, I had gained some experience as reluctant joiner, serving for several years as an officer for a local bee club; success breeds confidence and when something "works" we tend to try it again. Second, I finally decided to become a member-owner, after shopping at GreenStar as a non-member since its earliest days. I hated to be a member and not take a role, so I started looking for something to do. Third, it is nice to get a discount for serving, especially if you are already an avid GreenStar shopper. There are many reasons for my choice to shop extensively at GreenStar, including an acute shopping cart phobia, but I digress.

What I am trying to say here is how nice it is to be a part of something that encourages rather than discourages people to take an active role. Having the opportunity to serve on a committee has many advantages beyond those initial incentives. It allows the chance to become familiar with other involved GreenStar member-owners, people you pass during daily shopping ventures who are an integral part of what keeps the Co-op ticking. You also have a chance to become more familiar with the inner workings and to gain knowledge and expertise. You can take a more active role in helping to define and grow GreenStar; with involvement you can directly influence your shopping experience.

Read more: The Reluctant Joiner

Council Seats Committee Members-at-Large; Elects Officers for This Year

Council - Council News

Sunday, 04 August 2013 22:09


By 12th Moon,

Council President

11-5-12thMoon-72dpiCouncil met in The Space @ GreenStar at 6:30 on July 9, with thirteen of our fifteen members in attendance. After our introductions and statements of preparedness we all individually filled out a copy of our new Conflict of Interest forms and submitted them to our Secretary for posting and archiving.

The first regular item was the General Manager's (GM) monthly report. Our GM, Brandon Kane, updated us on progress toward realizing our central bakery and kitchen. He told us that the bidding process for equipment was almost completed, and that the construction bids were still being negotiated with an emphasis being placed on having the general assembly/meeting space completed as soon as possible in order that we may begin to use the space for our meetings and for public gatherings. Our community is in dire need of a large gathering space. Brandon brought a request from the Area Supervisors (AS) team, consisting of all fourteen department managers, that Council look to redefine our definition of local and regional. Local is currently defined as within fifty miles and regional includes goods grown or produced within New York or Pennsylvania. Both classifications require at least eighty percent of ingredients to be sourced within these geographical limitations. The requested change would define local as within 100 miles and regional as within 300 miles.

Brandon also reported that we are working with How Good, Inc. (, a product rating service, to produce GreenStar-specific tags over the next two months. In the future, How Good will have a shopping app for customers, and GreenStar will be a test point for a service kiosk that will show Co-op-specific products and the details as to why they received their rating from How Good. (See the article on page 1 for more details.) Brandon also reported that we have signed onto the Non-GMO Project's retail initiative ( This means there will be info in our stores available for customers regarding products certified as GMO-free and what foods to avoid. We will also be testing a phone app that can be used to shop GMO-free.

Read more: Council Seats Committee Members-at-Large; Elects Officers for This Year


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