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



Hydrofracking Poses a Serious Threat to 
GreenStar's Mission — Let's Voice Our Concerns


By Alexis Alexander,

Membership Manager

hydrofracking-impacts-water-quantity 175GreenStar's mission statement outlines a number of ethical guidelines that direct our operational decisions, practices and policies. A central theme is the importance that we place on protecting our environment and natural resources. Exercising ecological responsibility and leadership is at the core of what we do in our co-op and our community on a daily basis. This is why the notion of high-volume hydraulic fracturing, or "hydrofracking," has struck such a deep nerve throughout the GreenStar community, and with such force that it compelled GreenStar's Council to send a formal letter in April to our representatives in Albany and Washington, DC requesting a ban on hydrofracking in New York and the entire Marcellus Shale region.

Many member-owners have expressed their concern over the rapid, and seemingly reckless, pace at which Governor Cuomo and the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) are moving to allow gas companies to begin hydrofracking in New York. When we think of the threat this process is to the safety of our drinking water and air, and the threat it poses to our local farmers' being able to continue to farm organically, the notion is truly frightening. It raises the question of what we can do, together, as a co-op.

The most important action right now is to respond to the draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (or dSGEIS) that was released by the DEC this summer. The dSGEIS contains the regulatory rules for issuing gas drilling permits and is seriously flawed according to many experts. Although many want to see the process banned outright, if it isn't, these regulations are the only protection we'll have, so it's critical that the DEC receives a strong response that forces them to revise the regulations further. As intimidated as I am by writing a comment on such a scientific-seeming process, I recently discovered that it's actually not that hard... .

I recently attended a very informative workshop sponsored by a number of local organizations, including Shaleshock and Sustainable Tompkins. They offered links to two excellent websites to help people write a constructive response, even those who don't understand much about the public comment process or hydrofracking.

The first link is http://tinyurl.com/2011SGEISFlaws. This website is a treasure trove of information, including how to submit a comment and a detailed outline of the 17 top flaws of the dSGEIS. This outline makes it much easier for people to understand the weaknesses of the proposed regulations. For instance, the second flaw is "No Public Health Impact Analysis," which cites the growing evidence of health problems associated with hydrofracking and reveals that the Department of Health has not participated in the review process.

The second link is http://tinyurl.com/dSGEIS-Responses, which outlines possible responses for the 25 topics that the DEC has listed for comment. This enables people to cut and paste a response into the DEC comment form or their own document, then edit in order to personalize the response.

Individual responses are given more consideration than form letters, so they are the most effective way to respond. Therefore, I encourage everyone who is concerned about hydrofracking to submit even a short comment to the DEC before the public comment period ends on December 12.

We're also going to offer a second avenue of expression. Though form letters may be considered less effective, I can't help but think that sending a whole boxful to Governor Cuomo and the DEC from a large number of GreenStar members has to have some kind of impact. So, in November, we will be posting a new One Minute Activist (OMA) at the Member Center of both stores. The OMA will consist of a letter for member-owners and customers to sign. Please be on the lookout for the OMA, which will appear in early November. I'm setting a goal of 500 letters, which I'm hoping we'll break at least once over!

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