What is Membership?
Since the beginning, GreenStar's mission focused on making nutritious, whole food available to its members. But membership means more than just access to good, healthy food...
When you join the Co-op you become a Member-Owner of a locally-owned and cooperatively operated values-based business. We focus on the social and environmental impact GreenStar makes on our local and global community, as well as economic performance. We put our values first, and return all profits back to the Co-op or donate them to the community.
One Member – One Vote means your voice truly counts!
Like all consumer co-ops, GreenStar is owned and democratically run by the people who use the store. Unlike traditional corporations where the amount of a stockholder's investment determines his or her voting power, every member at GreenStar has equal voting rights. As a Member-Owner, you have an equal say in the future direction of GreenStar.
By investing and participating in your co-op, you're putting your values into action.
Through your Equity Share investment and patronage, GreenStar supports the health and well-being of our member-owners, our community and the planet by:
- Purchasing from local farmers and businesses
- Paying a livable wage
- Using clean energy and recycled office supplies
- Supporting organic agriculture and fair trade producers
- Offering health insurance to employees
- Donating to local charities and events
- Providing education on nutrition, health and sustainability
- Improving access to healthy food to those on limited budgets through the FLOWER program
Friday, 13 November 2015 03:25
By Alexis Alexander,
I have woken to a new day, a day when GreenStar's annual Member Meetings and pancakes are defined as pure elegance and inspiration. Surprised?
The morning after our Fall Member Meeting, I'm entranced by the experience of last night. I realize how far GreenStar has come over the years, and how integral and essential a partner we are in the wider regional food movement before us. Our roots as a buying club and grain store have matured into a multimillion-dollar community-based cooperative that affords us the ability, and the responsibility, to bring "real food," as Marketing Manager Joe Romano would say, back to a broader spectrum of our local and regional community.
But my plan today is not to write solely about all that was said last night. I could fill an article with the incredible things we've accomplished since our Spring Member Meeting last April — our improved BASICS program and Wellness Wednesdays to help make our products more affordable for members; our partnership with Renovus to increase our solar-energy capacity and reduce our carbon footprint even further; and breaking ground at our future Collegetown satellite location, which will improve college students' access to healthy food and expose them to our cooperative values and business model. Rather, my desire is to speak of the pure visceral experience of last night's meeting, and how warm and inviting a "meeting" can actually be.
Sheer elegance — imagine tables set in beautiful soft shades of blue and sandalwood linen, with silverware and glassware sparkling in the dim lighting from above, china plates generously filled with gourmet-quality offerings from a bountiful buffet laden with the finest of our local autumn harvest. Mmm ... smoky grilled tofu with caramelized butternut squash, sweet potato and shallot, and slow-roasted cider-glazed pork loin,with accompaniments of whipped celeriac, herb-roasted root vegetables, and an autumnal salad ... and the desert table filled with individual cardamon-infused layer cakes — pure art!
Sunday, 11 October 2015 00:48
By Alexis Alexander,
October was proclaimed National Co-op Month by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture in 1964 to pay tribute to the benefits that differentiate the cooperative business model from other ways to structure businesses. Today, Co-op Month honors over 30,000 co-ops nationwide, operating in every industry including agriculture, energy, financial services, food retail, health care, child care, insurance, housing, and more.
Co-op Month's theme for 2015, "Take Ownership," highlights how the cooperative business model gives consumers and workers a real stake in their economic destinies. Since co-ops are owned and controlled by the people who use or deliver their services, decisions are made with the best interests of co-op members in mind — not the financial benefit of corporate stockholders. There are many ways that co-op member-owners can become actively involved in setting policies and shaping the future of their cooperatives. Examples include engaging in the voting process, serving on Council or committees, or attending member meetings and co-op classes. Another significant way member-owners can Take Ownership is by talking about the unique benefits of cooperatives with others, and encouraging them to join.
At GreenStar, October offers a number of opportunities to Take Ownership:
The most direct opportunity for member-owners to influence GreenStar policies is the membership vote on six bylaws changes that Council has proposed. The voting period runs the entire month of October. Ballots can be cast in either store. Information on the proposed changes can be found in the Fall Member Mailing that will be sent to members this month and posted on the GreenStar website.
Tuesday, 15 September 2015 18:42
By Alexis Alexander,
In October, member-owners have the opportunity to vote on six bylaws changes being proposed by Council. GreenStar's bylaws, the rules that govern the internal management of the Co-op, were originally established when GreenStar was incorporated. According to our bylaws, one of the essential rights of member-owners is the ability to vote on the creation and changes to the bylaws and mission statement.
Unfortunately, GreenStar, like many co-ops, suffers from very poor voter turnout relative to the number of member-owners. For instance, only 5 percent of member-owners voted in the Council elections last April. This month's column reviews why it's important for member-owners to vote and provides more specific information on the upcoming October vote.
Why should I vote?
As a cooperative, we exist to meet the needs of our member-owners who, through a democratic voting process, actively participate in decision making and in setting GreenStar policies. Counter to the world of corporations, where voting power fluctuates in accordance with money invested, every member-owner at GreenStar has one vote, so all votes are equal.
The more voting member-owners in the Co-op, the more effectively GreenStar can meet the needs of the majority. It's that simple. When only a small percentage of the membership votes, we never really know if the resultant policy or action truly meets the needs of the majority of member-owners or is in their best interest.
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By Joe Romano,
The future will be determined in part by happenings that it is impossible to foresee; it will also be influenced by trends that are now existent and observable … Those who are rooted in the depths that are eternal and unchangeable and who rely on unshakeable principles, face change full of courage, courage based on faith.
–Emily G. Balch (1867-1...