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
Tuesday, 01 January 2013 22:33
By Alexis Alexander,
Throughout GreenStar's history, member-owners have voted on a number of member referendums that stipulate various requirements regarding the products GreenStar can sell. The very first member referendum, in 1991, allowed certain chocolate products to be sold, while another in 1992 allowed the sale of certain poultry and fish.
In 2003, member-owners voted on two referendums allowing red meat to be sold in the store. Meat Referendum #1, "Permission to Sell Meat with Conditions," specified that GreenStar can sell red meat provided it's organic, or as close as possible to organic, and otherwise complies with our existing Product Line Guidelines. Meat Referendum #2 placed two more restrictions on the red meat sold at the Co-op. Specifically, 1) the Co-op could only sell red meat from farms located within 40 miles of Ithaca, and 2) GreenStar had to perform two unannounced inspections of the farms each year, reporting on the living conditions of the animals on the farm, the animals' water sources, and the methods of slaughter; if the supplier was not certified as organic, the inspection also involved verifying that the animals' food, including forage, was organic.
Friday, 30 November 2012 15:02
By Alexis Alexander,
A primary goal of the Customer Service and Membership Departments is to provide excellent customer service to our member-owners. This includes contacting members for any number of reasons — to let them know about a credit card or groceries left behind, or perhaps to follow up on an inquiry regarding a renewal or equity balance. Additionally, according to GreenStar's bylaws, we're required to send every member-owner notices on member meetings, elections, bylaws changes, and member referendums.
As times and technology have changed, two things have come to light. First, an increasing number of GreenStar member-owners are requesting to receive notifications via e-mail as opposed to postal mail. I'm excited to announce that we are now in the position to begin to use e-mail for this purpose. This will help the Co-op enhance our waste-stream reduction and cost-saving efforts, while providing a more desirable form of communication to our member-owners who prefer e-mail.
Second, because of the increased use of cell phones and a high occurrence of member-owner moves to new households, much of the current contact information in our accounts is now out of date. Despite our best efforts to communicate with member-owners on a timely basis and send them the required mailings, we often find ourselves lacking the correct contact information.
Thursday, 01 November 2012 14:57
By Alexis Alexander,
What a November! Not only do many of us have the opportunity to vote in an all-important national election, but as GreenStar member-owners we also have the opportunity to vote on two very important measures here at the Co-op: the first measure replaces our two-percent discount with a Patronage Dividend system; the second is a proposal for a Collegetown satellite store.
My purpose today is not to talk about the merits of the proposals. Rather, I want to focus on why strong membership participation in GreenStar's voting process is so important to the Co-op's current well-being and future growth.
Voting is both an essential benefit and a responsibility of membership. According to the second Cooperative Principle, cooperatives are democratic organizations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting policies and making decisions. As member-owners, one way we can actively participate in decision-making is through the democratic voting process. Every GreenStar member-owner is eligible to vote in Council elections, on member-sponsored referendums, and on policy matters that require a membership vote, as outlined in our bylaws.
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