council

Council Approves Construction of Central Kitchen and Bakery Facility, Group Gathering Space

Council - Council News

Sunday, 05 May 2013 16:58

By 12th Moon, 

Council President

11-5-12thMoon-72dpiCouncil held its regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, April 9 in The Space @ GreenStar with twelve of our fourteen members present, and a full agenda.

We received the General Manager's (GM) monthly report first. Brandon Kane, our GM, reported that a few of the managers have spent much time over the past months compiling a feasibility study regarding the proposed project of building a centralized kitchen and bakery, and renovating The Space @ GreenStar to hold public events. This project was presented to Council later in the evening (see below for more).

Brandon also reported that GreenStar Community Projects hosted their third "Feeding our Future" networking event in The Space on Thursday, March 28, with sixty in attendance focused on finding solutions to equitable access in our community's food system. The Winter Farmers Market closed out the season after another great winter at The Space @ GreenStar. Brandon said that the 2012 Annual Report will be available at the Annual Spring Member Meeting and thereafter at both stores.

The GM's report told us that the online Council Policy Book is now up to date, and that GreenStar is collaborating with GIAC and Loaves and Fishes to present the three-part PBS documentary "Race: The Power of an Illusion" for staff and board members on three consecutive weekdays in June.

Read more: Council Approves Construction of Central Kitchen and Bakery Facility, Group Gathering Space

 

Collegetown Store Thwarted by Zoning Board Decision

Council - Announcements

Thursday, 04 April 2013 00:27

By Dan Hoffman,

Council Member

collegetown-store-street-view-2GreenStar's plans to open a third store, in Collegetown, hit a big bump last month, when the City's Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) denied a set of variances sought by the property's owners, throwing the future of their project into limbo. The new store won approval from the Co-op's Membership last year, but the lease for the space was contingent upon the developer's securing the variances by March.

The Co-op's serious exploration of the idea of a new store in Collegetown began in 2011, when Josh Lower — who, with his father, Bill, owns the property at 307 College Avenue — developed a plan to replace the current two-story building with a six-story, mixed-use structure and invited GreenStar to become its "anchor" commercial tenant.

As designed, the upper stories of the building (named "Collegetown Crossing") would contain 50 apartments. The intent is to create a project whose residents (most likely Cornell students or employees) could be "car-free," by locating it in a dense area, having a source of healthy groceries downstairs, providing state-of-the-art bicycle storage, locating a protected bus shelter at the front of the building, and offering free bus passes and car-share discounts to residents without cars. In addition to Josh Lower's commitment to reduction of car use, the narrow property has physical constraints that would make it difficult and expensive to satisfy the City's existing zoning requirement that over 50 off-street parking spaces be provided for the apartments.

The project drew strong support from the Collegetown neighborhood, with hundreds signing a petition in favor, and Mayor Svante Myrick endorsed it. A handful of people publicly opposed it, including alderperson Ellen 
McCollister, who represents the Belle Sherman neighborhood (further up East Hill), a competing developer (John Novarr, who received variances in 2010 for his own Collegetown Terrace project, on East State/MLK Street, which involved demolition of more than 25 houses, and construction of 1,230 residential units and 746 parking spaces, and which faced sharp opposition from neighbors), and a business owner across the street. The main concern voiced was that residents would in fact have cars, adding to traffic problems, and would seek to park in other residential neighborhoods.

Read more: Collegetown Store Thwarted by Zoning Board Decision

Council Represents You — Please Vote in 
This Month's Council Elections

Council - Council News

Wednesday, 03 April 2013 23:49

By 12th Moon,

Council President

11-5-12thMoon-72dpiCouncil held its monthly meeting on March 12 in The Space @ GreenStar with thirteen of our fourteen members in attendance. We managed to work through a lengthy agenda and still adjourn five minutes early.

During our "announcements" time we heard that GreenStar and Local First Ithaca will be sponsors of two screenings of the documentary film Bag It, which investigates the relationship we have with plastics. There will be a showing of the film at Cornell on Wednesday, April 17 and a showing at Cinemapolis on Sunday, April 21.

Brandon Kane, our General Manager (GM), presented his monthly GM's Report as our first item. Brandon reported that the store managers are looking to enlarge our "Basics" program to include more offerings and that progress is being made on completing a feasibility study regarding the proposed construction of a centralized kitchen and bakery in our warehouse building, which should come to Council next month at our April 9 meeting. The plans also include the finishing of the north end of the building as a large meeting space for our uses and for community events. He also reported that the Board of Zoning Appeals had denied the requested variances to the developer of the proposed Collegetown Crossing project. We're still hoping this project, which would house a GreenStar satellite store, will go forward, as the city could move to remove the minimum parking requirements later this year. We learned that research is being done to evaluate the future use of our small building currently leased by Enterprise car rental, which they will be vacating later this year.

Brandon also reported on three Diversity and Inclusion initiatives. The first was an All Staff meeting held March 26, focused on diversity and inclusion in the workplace with facilitation by Dr. Nadia Rubaii, who has done similar workshops through the Human Services Coalition. Second, GreenStar and AFCU staff members participated in a first-round Talking Circle last year, facilitated by the Multicultural Resource Center, and are planning another combined Talking Circle this year. Third, Brandon reported that we are working on collaborating with GIAC in April to host a three-part viewing of Race: The Power of an Illusion, along with facilitated discussions. This is part of a community-wide initiative supported by many organizations, including the Multicultural Resource Center and Coalition: Understanding to Overcome (U2O).

Read more: Council Represents You — Please Vote in 
This Month's Council Elections

 

Council - Special News

Monday, 01 April 2013 03:23

Members Vote and Fill Seven Council Seats

Voting has ended. Un-certified ballot results below:

Unofficial Summary:


New (and re-elected Councilmembers: 

 

  1. Dan Hoffman = 481
  2. Colin Meeks = 417
  3. Tara Gross = 416
  4. Courtney Mayszak = 402
  5. Keith Babusszcak = 379
  6. Patrice L. Anthony = 363
  7. Scott Morris = 228



Meet the Councilmember

001 Keith_Babuszczak

 

Keith Babuszczak

1. I started serving GreenStar on the Ombuds committee, and I still serve on this committee. I have served on Council since September 2012 when I was voted in to fill a vacant seat. As a Council Member, I first joined the Finance Committee but currently serve as the chair of the Membership Committee. I bring to Council prior experience on a variety of boards and community service organizations.

2. My experiences as a teacher, administrator, and member of other community-based boards have shown me the importance of local decisionmaking and consideration of all stakeholders. I value the diversity of customers and members and their unique interests in GreenStar’s stores and services. I have lived throughout the country and have learned to value the uniqueness of each region. I may be strong willed, but appreciate thoughtful challenge and engaged discourse.

3. GreenStar is in a period of strong sales and is looking at expansion. We need to keep an eye on opportunities that are out there as well as fully involve our membership. We can all learn, grow, and benefit best if we all do so together. Information is important, especially when shared through discourse.

4. I think that members should be able to participate in many ways and different levels. Some may want to dive in— others may want to dip a toe. Council should continue to find ways to encourage communication in a way that doesn’t confuse or add to the din of posters, leaflets, journals, displays, and conversation. Even maybe a quick survey on the keypad when checking out. I also think that providing communication through e-mail, social media, blogs/wikis, or other electronic media would be good to grow as a reliable, consistent, and accessible venue.

5. GreenStar is unique because it serves, and is served by, a diverse community. GreenStar should continue a broad education campaign through many channels/venues, continue to evaluate its product offerings, challenge its membership to better themselves and the community, and seek out partnerships. It is important, though, that GreenStar build, evaluate, modify, and remain true to its identity just like any other organization and not take on too many initiatives or stances (even valuable and honorable ones) that may detract from its mission.

6. It has been a pleasure (and a good deal of work) to serve on Council for the past few months. I have talked to many of you through personal conversations, meetings, and tabling. I look forward to the opportunity to continuing to serve GreenStar and its members as a member of Council — and specifically ask for your vote and support. Thank you!



Meet the Councilmember

002 Tara_Gross





Tara Gross

1. Over the last two years of serving on the GreenStar Council, I have served as Treasurer and Secretary in the same calendar year, and now currently serve as the Vice President. I am also the Executive Director of Greenlife Nutrition Center, Inc., a 501c(3) nonprofit in Lansing. I currently serve as the Chair of Personnel, member of the Policy Review Committee, and Executive Planning Committee. My past experience on GreenStar committees include Membership and Finance. I also have attended the Cooperative Board Leadership Development (CBLD) 101 and CBLD Leadership Training at Brattleboro, VT. I also have my own successful nutritional counseling practice in Lansing.

2. Here are the following skills that I will bring to Council that would help Council better represent the Membership:

• Counseling
• Listening
• Leadership
• Non-profit
• Business
• Accounting
• Public speaking
• Effective communication
• Approachable
• Personable

3. During my term on Council we have been working diligently towards transitioning into policy governance and the production of Ends. I feel that this momentum needs to continue as we have quite a bit of work ahead of us. I also feel that member education and involvement is something of importance especially as GreenStar grows in the near future. Lastly, I believe we need to continue to focus on expansion and building equity.

4. One of Council’s primary roles is listening to our member-owners and keeping them informed as to important Co-op developments and upcoming discussions. Membership is the heart of the Co-op and it is Council’s main role to keep the communication flowing and readily available to our member-owners. We should look to our members and keep them informed on any pertinent matters.

5. I believe GreenStar has so much potential when we look at its connection to the larger community. I am confident that GreenStar will be the “go-to” or “hub” for our community to look to when seeking out things such as health, local and organic foods, education around food, local farmers, and sustainability, to name a few.

6. I am a life-long Ithaca area resident and currently live in Lansing NY with my husband, who is also a life-long area resident, and three boys. I also enjoy giving back to my community by serving on the GreenStar Council. I shop at GreenStar weekly, because I know this organization is socially responsible to its members and truly cares about the surrounding community.



Meet the Councilmember

003 Dan_Hoffman





Dan Hoffman

Potential Conflict of Interest I’m an attorney, and for the past year, at the request of the General Manager and with the knowledge of the Council, I have provided certain legal services to the Co-op (e.g., advice on and assistance with real estate, contract, employment issues), in exchange for a discounted hourly fee. To the extent that I believe providing such assistance (on a matter upon which Council must act) could reasonably be perceived as interfering with my ability to consider the matter objectively as a Council member, I have recused myself from voting on that matter (and will continue to do so).

1. I’ve served on GreenStar’s Council, off and on, for about 24 years (up to the present), since its creation in 1982. I’ve been Secretary, Vice President, and President, and have chaired multiple committees. My legal training and 20 years of experience in that field are useful in analyzing issues and drafting policies. I helped create Council’s compendium of its policies, and work on its update every 4 months. I’ve served on numerous other boards and governing bodies, including Ithaca’s Common Council (for 12 years). I helped develop the Co-op’s tax-exempt affiliate — GreenStar Community Projects — and serve on its board. My long volleyball career helps me to stay agile, keep my eye on the ball, appreciate the importance of teamwork, and know the score (when that matters).

2. I’ve lived in Ithaca for my entire adult life, and have been involved in co-ops and other community organizations and progressive efforts for most of that time. I’m a parent and grandparent, and an environmentalist, and I like to write. I’m committed to democratic operation and have been a long-time advocate for meaningful member engagement at GreenStar.

3. Top e-issues for Council:
• Expansion: How can we increase the presence and influence of co-ops in the community?
• Evolution: How can we support necessary cultural/economic/environmental transformations —toward local/regional, sustainable, environmentally sound and cooperative?
• Equity: How can we foster a more egalitarian, equitable and democratic approach, to economic enterprise and opportunity, (lifelong) education, and governance?
• Effectiveness: How can Council continue to improve its own effectiveness — through recruitment, training, updated policies, engagement with members and with the broader co-op movement, etc?

4. I’d like to see GreenStar focus more attention on offering a broad range of rewarding ways for member-owners to be more involved in the Co-op and its programs. Our Membership is an amazing resource that could make our co-op, our community, and our movement stronger and more vibrant. I know it’s not easy; we have lots of very busy members. Still, I’d like us to step up to the challenge, by being more determined and creative. I don’t favor reduction in the benefits of membership or member labor. While democracy can have its frustrations, I believe respectful debate and dialogue and competing ideas can be healthy for the Co-op. As part of Council’s switch to a Policy Governance-based approach, we need to revisit the Co-op’s “ends”— our organizational values, purposes, and goals. This is a perfect opportunity to get members actively and meaningfully involved in a process that will help guide their Co-op for years to come.

5. I support GreenStar’s continuing efforts to increase the diversity of our staff, membership and customer base. I endorse the Co-op’s generous support of its affiliate— GreenStar Community Projects— and that group’s work on outreach, food justice and sustainability, and building an ongoing network of local groups, businesses, and individuals involved in strengthening the local and regional food system. I would like more and more people in the larger community to see GreenStar as a reliable, welcoming source of healthy food and camaraderie, and as a respected leader of progressive initiatives.

6. I have some mixed feelings about occupying a Council seat for so long, but, especially after hearing from quite a few colleagues and other members, I’ve concluded that having a good mix of “seasoned” and fresh-faced Council members is part of the recipe for our success, and that what the Council and Co-op stand to gain from my historical perspective and organizational talents outweighs my apparent inability to shake my addiction to meetings.



Meet the Councilmember elect

006 Gail_Anthony





Gail “Patrice” Lockert Anthony

1. I have served GreenStar in myriad capacities over the years. I have been cashier, front-end supervisor, Council Member, and officer on Council (vice president), chair of membership committee, one of the founding members of the board for GreenStar Community Projects. I am a fully vested member of GreenStar. I have attended 3 CCMA conferences, twice as a Council Member and once as a presenter (building diversity in the cooperatives movement). I am a trained and certified mediator for the Community Dispute Resolution Center here in Ithaca.

2. My life’s aligned with transformational processes. I’ve a deep and abiding respect for the cooperative vision and mission. It is essential, to me, that human beings be afforded the opportunities congruent with pursuing our highest potential. That process includes access to highest quality food which encourages/embraces a healthy lifestyle, and is purchased from companies/growers whose principles and missions advance fair-trade, fair access (pricing), and values which support individual and community (which is why I love the idea of GreenStar in Collegtown.) I own GPLA (personal/professional coaching from the inside-out). I also own A Writer’s Alchemy which conducts workshops like “Being Green” (which won a sustainable Tompkins “Signs of Sustainability Award”). I am adjunct faculty at New Roots Charter School, whose mission includes sustainable forward movement, caring for community, and progressive education. I am a family and community advocate, and trained facilitator.

3, 4 and 5 (merged) The most important issue for Council is to model its mission and vision for the store and its community. And to whenever possible highlight its purpose and practices to others, both within and outside the cooperative community. Every single issues we address should hold these principles as guiding force. This means involving our membership when and wherever possible. Member-owned co-ops dictate member involvement right down the line. Our brand identity suggests we come up with programs and activities which create a vibrant and vigorous member involvement which leads to the same in community. It is not “the” community. It is “our” community. No one should feel excluded. Period. I would choose to assertively pursue audiences where our numbers were, and have been, low. Great opportunities that help create a sense of ownership, and a desire to belong. Perhaps move some classes into the community. Knock on doors or do surveys in schools, community centers. I want GreenStar and Community to be an inseparable notion of being.

6. I mentioned before that I am invested in transformational process. I believe in taking progressive, transformative measures to move forward as individuals, community, and organizational. I am proud, very proud of the evolution and progress of GreenStar ably led by Brandon (operations) and Eric (Council) over the last decade or so. I would be proud to sit at the table once again. I promise to bring my “A” game. I promise to seek out whatever opportunities exist to move us forward in caring, compassionate ways which leave us valuing our humanity and practicing our cooperative principles.



Meet the Councilmember elect

007 Courtney_Mayszak





Courtney Mayszak

Potential conflict of interest (but not really): I often sell cheese for Fingerlakes Farmstead at the Ithaca Farmers’ Market. I am not, however, involved in the cheese-making process, and I do not own any part of the business. GreenStar carries Fingerlakes Farmstead products, so as far as I can tell, they are not competing forces. If anything, my involvement with a local producer further demonstrates my devotion to the local food movement.

1. I’m an undergraduate Nutritional Sciences major with a sincere passion for wholesome, delicious food. I’m particularly dedicated to the local food movement: I work for the Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (a non-profit that provides low-income families with checks for use at NYS farmers’ markets); I’m the vendor coordinator for the Farmers’ Market at Cornell; I’ve volunteered with the NY Coalition for Healthy School Food; I’ve attended the National Farm to School Conference; and a co-worker and I are developing an updated Northeast Regional Food Guide. I’m also an Oasis super-worker and a regular GreenStar customer.

2. I currently live in a co-op, and I’m very familiar with a collaborative, consensus-driven style of self-governance. I can also speak to the food concerns of a college student, and can provide insights on how a young person on a tight schedule and a tight budget typically constructs food choice.

3. Organic produce and healthy, locally sourced foods are virtually unavailable in Collegetown. A Collegetown satellite store not only presents a fruitful business opportunity, but also the chance to profoundly influence the diets of young people who are just beginning to sculpt their food choice value system. In other words, it could change lives in big ways.

4. I have experience developing surveys and analyzing survey data. I feel this is the most efficient, most thorough way of gathering the ideas and concerns of the Membership. I felt my voice was heard via the recent Member-Owner survey, and perhaps shorter, more informal electronic surveys could provide insights on a more frequent basis.

5. I think GreenStar has made a large contribution to Ithaca’s cultural identity—not just its food identity, but its ethical identity. GreenStar customers understand that their food purchases have profound social and environmental effects, and its crucial that GreenStar maintain and proliferate these values in the larger community.

6. Although I moved to Ithaca to study, I’m awfully impressed and appreciative of what the larger Ithaca community has to offer. Ithaca is a kind, conscientious, and inspiring place, and GreenStar has played a pivotal role in shaping my impressions. I’d love to learn anything GreenStar is willing to teach me. Please take care and eat well.



Meet the Councilmember

008 Colin_Meeks





Colin Meeks

I wear many GreenStar hats. I have been wearing the hat of a Council Member since I was appointed to fill a vacant seat last fall. This brief tenure on Council has given me a great appreciation of the movement of the co-op and all the work (by Council, but more so by the General Manager and staff) it takes to get the Co-op to where we want it to be. In this role, I have served on both the Finance Committee and the Expansion Committee. This has allowed me to understand the great financial standing the Co-op has, the work needed to maintain this position and some of the really great expansion possibilities that will allow the Co-op to bring quality, healthy food to a larger portion of our local community.

Another hat I wear for GreenStar is that of a part time Membership staff member. In this role, I primarily work on maintaining our membership database by processing member renewals and also processing FLOWER applications. This allows me to see, first hand, how loyal our members are and how our member base continues to grow. My involvement with the FLOWER program has really helped me appreciate what GreenStar does to make quality, healthy food accessible to everyone in our community. It is a program that I hope every Member-Owner is proud of and happy to support. Also, serving on staff allows me to be bring an (almost) unique perspective to Council. Furthermore, it makes Council more accessible to staff members and their concerns.

Another hat I wear, perhaps the least relevant, but one I am quite proud of, is that of spouse/life-partner of the Customer Service Manager. I do think serving in this role further broadens my perspective of Greenstar and what it takes to be a stellar organization that Member-Owners want to support.

The final hat I wear for GreenStar is, in my opinion, the most important and is that of a concerned and involved Member-Owner. What makes GreenStar the special and unique organization that it is, is the the fact we are a co-op. Every one of us has a stake in the company and the more we all get involved, the greater of a store we will be and the larger impact we can have. Every one of us can voice our opinion and that opinion is heard and matters. We have no distant corporate office to answer to and we make the decisions that are best for our Member-Owners and our community. We keep our profits local, we support our neighbors (the farmers), we pay a living wage, we care for our community and for ethical products and production. I am passionate about GreenStar’s role as our local food co-op and want to work to strengthen our position, our support of community and to increase access to quality food for everyone.

I look forward to the opportunity to continue serving on Council.



Meet the Councilmember elect

009 Scott_Morris





Scott Morris

1. Mainly I’m a community organizer. I work with community currencies, which has given me a particular kind of perspective on how to help build relationships and how that has an effect on the local economy. I’m passionate about building community and more specifically, resilience in community.

2. I’m 26, so youth is obviously something I have going for me. Beyond that, I’m very interested in the mobile and payments industries, so I can help ensure that GreenStar is making the right choices when it comes to adopting any new technologies in those areas. There are also contributions I can make in terms of supporting the local food justice movement through my currency work, but that’s a much longer conversation and has many moving parts.

3. I think making GreenStar a sustainable business is a priority. If the cooperative can’t pay its bills and goes out of business, none of its members can enjoy any of its already very broad and beneficial offerings. Beyond that, using the cooperative as a vehicle for social action and equity is also very important. Ensuring that everyone feels equally represented and valued will likewise ensure they are enrolled in the cooperative’s present vitality and long term success.

4. Well, based on the way the vote went on the issue of discounts vs. dividends, I have my concerns about the membership’s ability to put the group’s well being over their personal interests. As I’ve already said, if the co-op isn’t making its own ends meet then none of us can benefit. I’m curious to see what alternatives the membership might propose which might meet our collective need for financial solvency and the acute needs of individuals in situations where 2% really does have an impact.

5. I would love to see GreenStar influencing the youth (read: engaging the university communities) and continuing to bring together local food networks. GreenStar has already become a powerful force in driving attention and participation in various environmental and community matters, which I would also like to see continue and support myself. Beyond that, given its position relative to the Ithaca Hour network, it also has a unique opportunity to engage the local economy few other local institutions are provided with. I hope to see its relationship with other local businesses and organizations strengthened by a reanimation of this latent, yet potent, community asset.

6. I may be new to Ithaca, but that hasn’t stopped me from diving straight in to local advocacy and organizing. I hope that the membership will see my youth and zeal as something which can only serve them in building a stronger cooperative in a better Ithaca.

Council Continues PG Transition; Approves Committee Members; Sets Spring Meetings

Council - Council News

Friday, 01 March 2013 16:31

By 12th Moon, 


Council President

11-5-12thMoon-72dpiCouncil held its monthly meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 12 in The Space @ GreenStar. With twelve of our fourteen members present, we managed to work through our agenda in two hours, getting out an hour earlier than scheduled. Yay.

After some adjustments to the order of our agenda items, in order to allow a few people to leave earlier, we received the General Manager's monthly report. General Manager (GM) Brandon Kane reported that the stores have been busy, with no post-holiday lull as in years past. He also reported that staff are compiling data for production of our Annual Report, completing a small renovation project in the administrative offices, and they completed an annual member survey that all of our members should have received by the middle of February. Brandon also updated us on the progress being made to determine the costs and feasibility of constructing a centralized bakery and kitchen in the center section of our building at 700 West Buffalo Street, and of finishing off the north end of the building for public events. Once this research is completed, we'll be able to make a decision about going ahead with the project. We also learned that our West-End store and our warehouse building are both now receiving 100 percent of their power from certified renewable energy sources.

An update from our tax-exempt affiliate, GreenStar Community Projects (GSCP), came next on our agenda. GSCP reported on the successes of last year, the walkathon and associated block party held in September, and the two networking dinners held in November and December. GSCP is planning to host more of these networking events this year, one every other month starting in March. We were also told that GSCP is planning a different kind of fundraising event and community block party for this fall. There was much appreciation expressed over the growth and progress that GSCP has made in the last two years.

Read more: Council Continues PG Transition; Approves Committee Members; Sets Spring Meetings

 

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