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



Conditions of Membership: Our New Member Code of Conduct

By Alexis Alexander,
Membership Manager

co-opIn the Fall GreenStar members voted on various Bylaws revisions, including one that authorized Council to establish “Conditions of Membership.” Prior to this vote, practices regarding membership requirements were never formally defined. This often led to confusion about our membership requirements and expectations regarding responsibilities and rights as member-owners. Formally establishing conditions of membership is essential to operating the cooperative in a consistent manner, whereby all member-owners are treated justly and fairly. Therefore, over the next several months the Membership Committee will formalize specific Conditions of Membership and bring them to Council for approval.

One area that particularly lacked sufficient clarity is what we do when a member-owner displays unacceptable behavior in the store. Our Cooperative Principles guide member-owners to treat each other with mutual respect and consideration. When that expectation is breached, the General Manager needs to have clear, consistent direction on the actions that can be taken by management and staff. For instance, it is clear that management can ask a non-member to leave the store if they act in an unacceptable way, but there has always been confusion about whether management can ask a member-owner to leave the store. And when a member-owner’s action is particularly flagrant, such as in the cases of shoplifting or sexual harassment, does the General Manager have the right to suspend his or her membership? The Bylaws clearly allow Council to suspend or terminate a person’s membership, but it is not clear what action the General Manager can take in the interim. This lack of clarity makes it difficult for staff to deal with these situations.

A clear Member Code of Conduct enhances our ability to handle situations consistently at store level. This is why the Membership Committee, in its effort to define the various Conditions of Membership, brought forward a Member Code of Conduct proposal to Council in December.  This proposal was passed and reads, in part:

GreenStar affirms the right of all to shop and work in an environment free from violence, threats or intimidation, verbal abuse, harassment (sexual or otherwise), unreasonable interference, or any criminal conduct.

All who work at, shop in or visit GreenStar’s stores are expected to refrain from such inappropriate conduct while on GreenStar’s premises, and to cease such behavior when requested to do so by GreenStar staff or other affected parties.  Failure to do so may result in removal from the stores, suspension of the right of entry and revocation of membership by Council decision and authority.  Affected parties have the right to an appeal to Council.

The General Manager is hereby authorized and directed to ensure that standards of conduct in accordance with the above are equitably enforced at GreenStar’s facilities.

The next steps in formalizing this new policy are for our Interim General Manager, Brandon Kane, to oversee the development of a set of operational rules so that the policy is carried out consistently and fairly at store level, and for Council to define the appeals process.
Brandon expressed his satisfaction with the new Code of Conduct. “As member-owners of GreenStar, we are invested in the success of the Co-op and goals that aren’t just economic, but social as well,” he said. “The new Member Code of Conduct ensures that we operate under a level of mutual respect, and that all member-owners, including staff, can feel safe and respected while on GreenStar property. Just as we have expectations of our staff, as outlined in our Operational Policy & Procedures, we now have formally outlined our expectations of member-owners to ensure that everyone is treated consistently and fairly.”

Whether it’s a member-owner who’s shopping, a member-owner who’s volunteering, or a member-owner who is also an employee, our ability to ensure an environment consistent with our Cooperative Principles of mutual trust and respect is now enhanced for everyone.

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    — Joseph Gallivan

    By Joe Romano, 
Marketing Manager

    earthIn the late sixties and early 1970s when GreenStar was founded, hippies ruled the world. Oh yeah, man, there were straight-looking presidents and bankers; cops and crossing guards played their parts so they wouldn't wig-out the "straights," but the hippies we...

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