Council - Announcements
Friday, 26 September 2014 10:54
By Dan Hoffman,
For the first two decades of its existence, the Co-op did not sell meat of any kind. Then, in 1992, member referendums approved the sale of certain types of fish and poultry. The following year, a different referendum allowed the sale of pet food containing meat. A decade later, in 2003, members faced another pair of binding referendums. The first asked whether the Co-op should be permitted to sell meat other than fish or poultry (sometimes referred to as "red meat"). The second asked whether, if "Meat Referendum #1" passed, certain conditions should be imposed on the meat that could be sold – including the location of suppliers ("within 40 miles of Ithaca") and a requirement that such farms be visited twice a year by a team of GreenStar volunteers who would verify the fair treatment of the animals. Both referendums were approved, so current Co-op policy allows the sale of red meat, but only if it meets those certain conditions. (Last year, a referendum proposal to repeal the 2003 conditions, in their entirety, was rejected by the membership in 2013. Likewise, an earlier referendum, in 1998, that sought to ban the sale of any meat, was defeated.)
Decisions made by member referendum can only be changed by another membership vote. Earlier this year, a referendum petition seeking to modify (rather than repeal) the conditions on the sale of red meat set by the 2003 "Meat Referendum #2" was initiated by Colin Meeks, and was signed by more than the required 100 GreenStar members in good standing. As a result, the binding referendum to be conducted in October poses three separate Yes or No questions:
Here is the language of each referendum question:
Should "Meat Referendum #2 [approved in April 2003] Additional Conditions on the Sale of Meat," which now reads as follows:
[CURRENT POLICY (part):] All farmsteads selling the newly permitted meat(s) to GreenStar [as allowed by Meat Referendum #1, also approved in April 2003] shall sign an agreement to be visited unannounced twice yearly by GreenStar member volunteers, so that living conditions of the animals, their water sources and methods of slaughter may be monitored, as allowed by relevant federal, state and local law. Reports shall be published in GreenLeaf.
...be changed to read as follows?
[PROPOSED POLICY:] All farmsteads selling the newly permitted meat(s) to GreenStar [as allowed by Meat Referendum #1, also approved in April 2003] shall acquire and maintain a qualified third-party certification to verify their humane treatment of animals. The results of the certification for each farmstead shall be published in GreenLeaf.
If Question #1 receives a majority of "yes" votes, should current suppliers of said meat(s) to GreenStar be given a one-year grace period to acquire a qualified third-party certification for their humane treatment of animals ￼
Should the current mileage requirement of Meat Referendum #2, which now reads as follows:
[CURRENT POLICY (part):] newly permitted meat(s) only from animals raised on family-owned farmsteads within forty (40) miles of the City of Ithaca, New York.
... be changed to read as follows?
[PROPOSED POLICY:] GreenStar shall sell the newly permitted meat(s) only from animals raised on family- owned farmsteads that are located within the GreenStar definition of "local" [currently set by Council as within 100 miles of Ithaca].
#1: Should the current requirement – that farms supplying such meat agree to be visited "unannounced" and "twice annually" by "GreenStar member volunteers, so that living conditions of the animals, their water sources and methods of slaughter may be monitored" – be changed, to require instead "third-party certification (of the farms) to verify their humane treatment of animals"?
#2: If Question #1 receives a majority of Yes votes, should current suppliers of such meat to GreenStar be given a 1-year grace period to secure "qualified" third-party certification of their humane treatment of animals?
#3: Current policy (as a result of the 2003 Meat Referendum #2) requires that any meat allowed by the 2003 Meat Referendum #1 must be from suppliers (farms) located within 40 miles of Ithaca. Question #3 in the 2014 referendum asks whether this distance requirement should be changed to "the GreenStar definition of 'local.' " That definition, determined by Council is currently "within 100 miles of Ithaca."
All GreenStar members are encouraged to learn more about the current referendum by reading the "pro" and "con" statements in this mailing and/or by attending the informational forum on October 2. Members can exercise their right to vote and to determine Co-op policy anytime during October at either store, at the Fall Member Meeting on October 17, or by sending in the ballot that appears on page 6 of this mailing.
Council - Council News
Monday, 01 September 2014 15:36
By 12th Moon,
Council met on Tuesday, August 12 for our monthly meeting with nine of our twelve members present, five staff members, one member-owner, and three visitors from Syracuse. Our visitors were all board members of the Syracuse Real Foods Co-op who had come down earlier that afternoon to tour our West-End store, the Central Kitchen, and our community room, The Space @ GreenStar, and they stayed for the first part of the meeting to witness our process.
Our first item on the agenda was the monthly General Manager's (GM's) Report. GM Brandon Kane reported that the repaving project at the West-End store and the new customer restrooms have been completed and that upcoming plans are to add a new express register in the store. There are also plans to make some changes at our DeWitt location, with a reset to be accomplished by the holiday season. Brandon reported that some members have requested that we no longer carry products from Eden Foods as they are following the restrictions of health-care coverage that Hobby Lobby won in a Supreme Court case. While we may not agree with their decision, we also have to acknowledge that Eden Foods has been a leader in bringing BPA-free containers to the US. Rather than pull their products, management encourages our members to vote with their purchase dollars and buy products they do support.
Next, we discussed a proposal to change the name of our satellite store from GreenStar Oasis to GreenStar DeWitt. The rationale for a name change was twofold: first, that some people in the community did not recognize that it was part of the Co-op; and secondly, that as we look toward hopefully opening another satellite store in Collegetown, the geographic reference would consistently identify the different store locations while making it clear that each location is part of the GreenStar cooperative. The proposal had first come to Council at our June meeting, but a decision was held off until we could solicit feedback from our members about the change. As most of the responses were in favor of the change, we decided that we would call the location "GreenStar Co-op at DeWitt Mall" or a shorter derivative thereof.
Council - Council News
Friday, 01 August 2014 17:01
By 12th Moon,
Council was in the dark for most of our meeting on Tuesday, July 8 as a storm took out power and blew down trees around town. We met in The Classrooms @ GreenStar with nine of twelve Council Members, three staff members, and our Board Administrator present. Through the threat of tornadoes and high winds we proceeded, moving high-priority items first, and managing to hang in and complete our agenda for the night.
First, we approved a proposal to bring a member-initiated referendum to our member-owners for a vote in October. The petition to conduct a referendum came to Council in May and, if approved by our members, would change some of the guidelines currently in place regarding the inspection of farms selling meat to GreenStar, as well as increase the mileage limit within which farms must be located in order to sell meat at the Co-op.
Next, we approved the content of our fall membership mailing and three membership meetings to be held in October. A Member Forum will take place from 6:30 to 8:30 pm on Thursday, Oct. 2 at The Space @ GreenStar for discussion of the above-mentioned referendum. An Open Mic meeting will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 pm on Tuesday, Oct. 7 in The Classrooms @ GreenStar as a venue for members to bring suggestions, comments, and ideas to Council's and staff's attention, and will give another opportunity to discuss the referendum. Our Fall Membership Meeting will take place from 5:30 to 9 pm on Friday, Oct. 17 at The Space.
Our annual officer elections, which had been postponed from last month, came next. Congratulations to Chris Negronida, our new Vice President, Bob Rhea, our new Treasurer, and Jessica Rossi, re-elected as Secretary. Thanks to my fellow Council Members for electing me as President again.
Council - Council News
Tuesday, 01 July 2014 18:45
By 12th Moon,
Council met on Tuesday, June 10 in The Classrooms @ GreenStar for our regular monthly meeting with nine of twelve Council members, four staff, two Council-elect, and one member-owner present. During our announcement period we heard that our affiliate GreenStar Community Projects (GSCP) would host another community networking event in The Space @ GreenStar on Thursday, June 19. We also learned that Britton Dougherty resigned because of her busy schedule working on an organic farm in Interlaken. We will miss her bright and enthusiastic contributions and thank her for her service.
During our member comment time, we heard a request for signage in the stores asking shoppers to curb their cell phone use at the registers and in the dining areas. We also heard complaints regarding the brewing of coffee in our stores and the condition of the coffee grinding area in the Bulk section at our West-End store after customer use.
As is normal, our first item of business, the General Manager's (GM) monthly report came next. Our GM, Brandon Kane, reported that staff are already getting many requests for use of the renovated Space @ GreenStar and that a recent GSCP fundraising event was a big success and a good test of our ability to cater a large group at our facility. Brandon said that liquor license renewals were approved for both stores and that the application for a liquor license for The Space was almost complete, and he hopes for it to be approved by the end of July. He reported that staff will be improving the signage on and painting the façade of The Space, as well as making improvements to the parking lot.
Council - Council News
Tuesday, 03 June 2014 15:35
By 12th Moon,
Council met Tuesday, May 13 in the Classrooms @ GreenStar at 6:30 pm with ten of our thirteen members, five staff members, one member-owner and two Council Members-elect, one of whom was seated later in the evening. During our announcements, we heard of the great success of a Building Bridges event held earlier in the day, with over 200 attendees, at our newly opened Space @ GreenStar. Sadly, we also heard one Council Member, Courtney Mayszak, announce that she would be resigning as of the close of our meeting as she will be out of town for the summer and then will be going to grad school. We took time to thank Courtney for her service; we will miss her input. Council Member Colin Meeks also resigned recently for personal reasons and we wish him well and thank him for his service.
The monthly General Manager's (GM) Report was our first item. GM Brandon Kane informed us that, as the Space and Central Kitchen are successfully being used and the move-in is nearly completed, staff are focusing on the grounds and outside of the building. By now, rental and catering information should be available and publicized. He next told us that GreenStar Community Projects, our tax-exempt affiliate, would be partnering with our Prepared Foods Department to host a fundraising dinner on Friday, June 6 at 6:30 pm in the Space. Brandon said that plans for this summer include repaving the West-End store parking lot, adding new signage to the Space and the Classrooms and landscaping the surrounding areas, and (best of all!) adding a second (much-needed) bathroom to the West-End store.
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