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.

The co-operative business model has proven to be a strong alternative to traditional profit-driven businesses. And, for every dollar you spend in a locally-owned business or cooperative, 45 cents is return to the community, compared to only 13 cents when you spend a dollar at a chain store.

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



 

 

A Partnership in Bloom: FLOWER and Ithaca Community Harvest

By Alexis Alexander,

Membership Manager

Shortly after GreenStar introduced the low-income discount FLOWER program in late September, I met with Liz Karabinakis, Program Coordinator of GreenStar Community Projects (GSCP), our non-profit affiliate. Our intention was to discuss GreenStar’s current support of GSCP and the Ithaca Community Harvest Project through our Member Labor program, and, separately, to discuss how GSCP could support the FLOWER program. What ensued was an exciting realization — that the goals of the FLOWER program and Ithaca Community Harvest went hand in hand, and that the synergy between them could further enhance our efforts to bring wholesome, natural food to more people within our community, including low-income individuals. 

Ithaca Community Harvest is an awesome new program that provides volunteer labor on local farms in exchange for the farms’ surplus produce. The surplus is then distributed to the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Snack Program at Beverly J. Martin Elementary School (BJM) and the after-school snack and meal programs at the Greater Ithaca Activities Center (GIAC) and the Southside Community Center (SSCC). Ithaca Community Harvest is a collaborative effort of the Village at Ithaca with the support of GSCP and the Ithaca City School District, and in cooperation with Gardens4Humanity, Healthy Food for All and the Whole Community Project of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County. This spring, the GSCP Board of Directors decided to make Ithaca Community Harvest their primary focus since the goals of the program so directly reflect GSCP’s mission to promote food justice and regional food sustainability.

GreenStar also supports Ithaca Community Harvest by offering warehouse space for storage of the produce prior to distribution, and by providing super-worker discounts to the volunteer program coordinators.

Recently, Ithaca Community Harvest implemented a Market Basket program, similar to a CSA. Boxes of assorted produce from the local farms are sold at very affordable prices to families at BJM, GIAC and SSCC. And this is where FLOWER comes in…

FLOWER — Fresh, Local & Organic Within Everyone’s Reach – is GreenStar’s new member-owner discount specifically designed to make our products more affordable to lower-income individuals. Individuals currently receiving assistance from certain government programs receive a total discount of 15 percent. We are offering a free, one-year trial membership to qualifying individuals who have never been a GreenStar member. To date, 38 people have been approved for the FLOWER program, of which 10 are new members. An additional 21 applications are in process.

What Liz and I realized is that many of the same families who are benefiting from Ithaca Community Harvest would also qualify for FLOWER. We therefore needed to let these families know about FLOWER, and the Market Baskets were a perfect solution. Now, a FLOWER brochure is placed in every Market Basket to raise awareness of the FLOWER program. 

When it comes to creating a community where food justice thrives, collaboration is key. As our community partnerships blossom, so does GreenStar’s mission of social and economic justice. Looking ahead to 2011, it’s exciting to imagine the impact that Ithaca Community Harvest and FLOWER will have on improving food equity and the quality of life for all members of our community.

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