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 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

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


Serve on a Committee

Council - Special News

Sunday, 28 July 2013 18:27

GreenStar Co-op: Application/Nomination for At-Large Committee Seat

GreenStar's Council (board of directors) seeks applications from Co-op members in good standing interested in serving on any of our various committees. You may nominate yourself or another member.

Committees play a crucial role in providing research, preparation and recommendations for proposals and issues to be voted on by Council. Committees have seats for Council members, staff and other ("at-large") GreenStar members. Committee members earn a 10% discount on purchases for their work.

Brief Committee descriptions and responsibilities appear on the next pages of this form.

Council makes at-large appointments annually, in July, for one-year terms. (There are no term limits.)

Often there are vacant seats during the year that can also be filled by Council, if there are applicants.

Paper application/nomination forms may be submitted to the Customer Service desk at the West End store, submitted electronically below or call Dan Hoffman (273-1323).

Please indicate your preferences for a committee, and provide a Statement of Interest below indicating why you would like to serve and what experience or skills you would bring to the role.

If you have any questions about any of the committees, or about this application, please contact Governance Committee Chair, or call Dan Hoffman (273-1323).

GreenStar Council's Committees – Composition & Responsibilities

Standing Committees


Composition: at least 3 Council members (Treasurer is chair), 1 staff member, 3 at-large members (including at least 1 who is an accountant)


  • Overseeing the annual budgeting process,
  • Overseeing regular financial audits of the Co-op,
  • Overseeing annual review of Co-op's insurance coverage and other asset protections,
  • Recommending annual financial objectives, and
  • Reviewing and recommending changes to the Co-op's financial policies.




Composition: at least 3 Council members; 1 staff member; 3 at-large members


  • Overseeing annual Council elections,
  • Recruiting candidates for Council and committee positions,
  • Identifying possible training opportunities for Council members,
  • Overseeing Council's Policy Book, and
  • Developing proposed policies & procedures (when requested to do so by Council).


Composition: at least 3 Council members; 2 staff members; 4 at-large members


  • Promoting member participation in the Co-op,
  • Planning Membership meetings and mailings,
  • Facilitating interaction between Council and members,
  • Overseeing regular member surveys,Overseeing member referenda, and
  • - Maintaining contact with other co-ops.


Composition: at least 3 Council members; 1 Staff Advisory Board member; 2 at-large members (Human Resources Manager is ex officio member)


  • When needed, recruiting & screening candidates for General Manager,
  • Assisting Council with the annual performance evaluation of the GM,
  • Organizing regular staff/Council "retreats,"
  • Reviewing and recommending amendments to the Co-op's Personnel Policy,
  • Interpreting the Personnel Policy, when requested, and
  • Handling employee grievances.

Ad Hoc Committees:


Composition: 4 Council members; 3 staff members; up to 3 at-large members


  • Assisting Council in planning and preparing for the expansion of the Co-op
  • (additional satellite stores, larger main store, etc),
  • Providing feedback and support to General Manager on steps to implement expansion goals,
  • Creating a timetable for moving forward with timely decision-making.


Composition: 3 Council members, 2 staff members, 3 at-large members


  • Reviewing GreenStar's current bylaws and making recommendations (to Council) for revision,
  • Involving the Membership in the bylaws review process.


[GreenStar's first Ombuds Program began operating in early 2012.]

Composition: 2 Council members; 2 staff members (1 = management, 1 = non-management); at least 2 at-large members


  • Make recommendations to Council on Ombudsperson job description and contract, and other Program details;
  • Recruit candidates for Ombudsperson positions, review and evaluate applications, make recommendation on selection to Council
  • Provide oversight and assistance to Ombudspersons



This is a tax-exempt affiliate of GreenStar Co-op, with its own Board of Directors. Composition of Board: 1 member named by Co-op's Council; 1 member named by Co-op's General Manager; up to 7 at-large members (named by the affiliate's Board).

Purposes of Affiliate:

  • Provide information to public on cooperatives, healthful living, local self-reliance, self-sufficiency and community, ecological sustainability and/or social justice;
  • Initiate and/or support community projects that promote cooperatives, local self-reliance, self-sufficiency and community, ecological sustainability and/or social justice in ways that honor and enhance the socio-economic diversity of the projects and those intended to benefit from them.
  • GSCP sponsors the annual Food Justice Summit, and more frequent gathering for a Network of groups, businesses and individuals in Tompkins County working to strengthen the local food system.

Options for involvement:

  • Serve on the Board of Directors.
  • Serve on a committee (e.g., fundraising, networking) or help with a specific project or event.
  • GreenStar work credit is possible for any level of committed service.



Council Approves How Good Program; 
Reviews Annual Member Owner Survey Results

Council - Council News

Monday, 01 July 2013 22:08


By 12th Moon,

Council President

11-5-12thMoon-72dpiCouncil held our regular monthly meeting on June 11 at 6:30 pm in The Space @ GreenStar, with a lengthy agenda. During announcements I informed Council members and staff present of the high amount of positive feedback we received after our workshop presentation at the recent Consumer Cooperative Management Association (CCMA) 57th annual conference, which brought together 450 people from 113 co-ops from around the country. Our General Manager (GM) Brandon Kane and our Membership Manager Alexis Alexander had put together a very thorough presentation outlining GreenStar's FLOWER (Fresh Local Organic Within Everyone's Reach) low-income discount program and the success of our diversity and inclusion efforts. We were extremely well-received by approximately 80 cooperators who attended the workshop, some saying they had been waiting years for something like this to be presented, and we gave all the information we could for them to take home to use in their co-ops and communities.

First on our agenda was the GM's monthly report, which showed that both stores continue to do better than expected, with Oasis having some record-breaking weeks of sales. Brandon also told us that the central kitchen and bakery project planned for our warehouse building is on track. We expect to be having a walk-through for our members in mid-July, so look for announcements in the stores and on this website. Brandon also let us know that a full audit, compiled by an outside accounting firm, should be prepared in time for our July 9 Council meeting. We were also brought up to date on the fantastic work our affiliate organization GreenStar Community Projects (GSCP) is doing. They will be launching a donation drive to run from mid-June through July, so please check out their link on our website. Donations can be made at our registers, by check, or online to help them accomplish their food justice and food equality initiatives.

Read more: Council Approves How Good Program; 
Reviews Annual Member Owner Survey Results


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