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



Members Approve Eight Sets of Bylaws Updates

By Michael Hoysic, 

Bylaws Review Committee Member

HandsSoilWeb_smGreenStar member-owners voted to pass eight of nine proposed sets of changes to the Co-op’s bylaws during October’s voting period. Only Set 2, which would have reduced the number of Councilmembers from 15 to 12, failed to receive the necessary two-thirds majority votes required for a bylaws change.


Set 1, which allowed references to the Co-op in the bylaws to be changed from “the corporation” to “the cooperative,” received 219 yes and 8 no votes. Set 2, which proposed to reduce Council’s number of members to 12, received 146 yes and 80 no votes, falling short of the 153 yes votes needed to make a two-thirds majority.

  Set 3, which addressed timelines and minimum votes for Council elections, received 211 yes and 16 no votes. Set 4, which raised the number of petition signatures needed for member-initiated referendums and bylaws changes, and set a membership meeting quorum and minimum number of votes required for certain actions, received 202 yes and 25 no votes. Set 5, which allows electronic notices to members and the casting of absentee ballots, received 218 yes and 10 no votes. Set 6, which assigns authority to establish conditions of membership to Council, received 203 yes and 23 no votes. Set 7, which sets requirements for bylaws amendments, referendums and membership meeting actions, received 214 yes and 12 no votes. Set 8, which addresses removal of Councilmembers, received 213 yes and 11 no votes. Set 9, which authorizes compensation for Councilmembers up to a set maximum, received 185 yes and 27 no votes.


The Bylaws Review Committee (BRC) thanks everyone who voted. The vote was the culmination of more than one-year’s work for the BRC. We are not resting for long, though, as the Committee met in November and has started the process for the next set of bylaws amendments. Our goal is to have another set of amendments before the membership for a vote in April 2011.

When we started our review, the Committee drew up a list of possible changes to the bylaws. The October vote addressed some of the items on our list. We are now going to look at other items on our list, which includes: Council Officers’ duties, grounds for executive session at Council meetings, Immediacies Committee composition, Council standards of conduct, should the Mission Statement be included in the bylaws, updating the Principles found near the beginning of the bylaws, etc.

Additionally, two ongoing bylaws issues that will likely be addressed in 2011 (in either April or October) are patronage refund and capital/equity contributions. These bylaws issues had their own vote a few years back, and were not approved by the members at that time. The capital/equity issue, briefly, partly has to do with allowing capital/equity contributions to be refundable (currently contributions are refundable only upon Co-op dissolution). 

Look for future articles in GreenLeaf updating members on our progress through the list of possible bylaws changes. Please stay informed on these possible changes and offer feedback to the Bylaws Review Committee at any informational sessions that may be scheduled. We are still looking for one member-at-large and one staff member to serve on the committee. For more information, contact the BRC Chair, 12th Moon , or at 607.342.7878.

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