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



May 21 Forecast: Blue Skies; 100% Chance of Dancing

Friday, 01 May 2015 21:39

By Alexis Alexander, 

Membership Manager

blue-sky-mission-clubI'm thrilled to announce that Blue Sky Mission Club will perform at our annual Springtime Dance Party in the Parking Lot on Thursday, May 21. As every Ithaca dance-lover knows, May is the month when the outdoor music-and-dance season begins in earnest, brightening our lives as the rich bounty of local talent fills the streets and parks throughout the region. What better place for GreenStar member-owners to kick off this incredible season than in our own parking lot!

Blue Sky Mission Club embraces a "deep understanding of roots, rhythm, and Americana," creating "a sound all their own with jumping Soulgrass beats and lively social commentary — festival style!" Their music will be absolutely perfect for GreenStar member-owners as they take over the far side of the West-End parking lot (near the Receiving area) and dance to their hearts' content! After such a long, harsh winter, it's just what the doctor ordered to get ourselves "in the groove" for a summertime of amazing dance and music!

So get out your dancin' shoes and bring your friends, dancing partners, and family to the parking lot of the West-End store at 5:30 pm on the 21st for two hours of superb, free local music by one of the area's best dance bands. Everyone is welcome!

I'd like to thank everyone who took the time to complete the annual member-owner survey in March. In total, we collected just under 1,200 surveys, an outstanding number and about 400 more than last year. We're currently inputting the surveys we received off-line and will be reporting results to Council in June. We also plan to announce the three winners of the drawing for $50 GreenStar gift cards in the June GreenLeaf. Stay tuned!

Have you seen the beautiful, colorful mural that now adorns our Classrooms building? The farmer-and-food-justice-themed mural comes to us through the City of Ithaca Public Art Commission Mural Street Art Program. A huge thanks to GreenStar member-owner Caleb Thomas, who helped to coordinate this effort, bringing more beauty and artistry to our West-End neighborhood. If you haven't seen it yet, please check it out. It's awesome!


Spring Council Election Results Available Soon

Wednesday, 01 April 2015 22:25

By Alexis Alexander,

Membership Manager

2014-voteAfter the long, harsh winter, April has finally arrived, which means GreenStar's spring voting ritual is upon us. Traditionally, GreenStar holds its annual Council elections every April. The elections provide member-owners the opportunity to choose those individuals who will represent the membership on the Co-op's governing body in the coming year.

This year's election is a significant one, with 9 out of 15 seats open, and 11 candidates in the running. Our voting period runs from April 1 through the close of business on April 30. Votes can be cast at the Member Centers of both stores, at the Annual Spring Meeting scheduled for Friday, April 17 at the Space@GreenStar, or by mail (ballot must be received on or before April 30).

We know through our annual member-owner surveys that many member-owners have questions about the voting process — how it works and what impact the votes have on the cooperative. To answer these and other questions about voting, we've included a "Voting FAQ" below.

Read more: Spring Council Election Results Available Soon

A March Medley of Member-Owner Updates

Monday, 02 March 2015 01:16

By Alexis Alexander,

Membership Manager

Member Survey

GreenStar's annual member-owner survey will be conducted in March this year. The survey provides the Operations staff and Council valuable feedback from our member-owners so we can better meet their diverse needs.

All member-owners who are signed up to receive required mailings or announcements by email will receive a copy of the survey in that way. If you're signed up for emails and don't receive a survey link in your inbox by March 3, please check your Spam folder or, if you use gmail, try the Promotions folder. If the survey still doesn't show up in those folders, it could be that we have the wrong address listed, so please contact me at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and I'll resend the survey link to you.

Member-owners who have not signed up to receive mailings via email will be able to pick up a copy at the Member Center at either store beginning March 1.

We've allotted one month for survey collection. Please complete and turn in the survey by March 31. We greatly appreciate your feedback on how the Co-op is doing.

Member Vote & Upcoming Member-Owner Meetings

April is Council election month. This year's election is a big one, with nine out of fifteen seats to be filled. A mailing will be sent to all member-owners in April that will include statements by each member-owner running for election. Council statements will also be posted in April at the Member Center at each store. If you prefer to receive your Spring Mailing by email and have not yet signed up to be on our "required mailings" email list, you have until Friday, March 13 to guarantee being put on the list in time for this mailing. Please send your email request to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Mark your calendars for our annual Spring Member-Owner Meeting and the Member-Owner Forum. The annual Spring Meeting is scheduled for Friday, April 17 at 5:30 pm at the Space @ GreenStar and will feature a question-and-answer session with Council candidates. The annual "open mic" Spring Member Forum is scheduled for Tuesday, April 7 from 5:30 to 7:30 pm in the Classrooms @ GreenStar. The Forum provides ample time for member-owners to ask Council questions and to share suggestions and concerns. Further details on both meetings will be available in the April GreenLeaf.

Credit Cards vs Debit Cards: Which is Better for the Co-op?

Over the years we've frequently been asked by those who pay with bank cards whether credit or debit is less costly to the co-op. It's an important question since the fees associated with bank card usage cost us a significant amount of money each year. For instance, in 2014 the total credit/debit card fee expenditure was $231,693, which represents 1.2 percent of sales.

We can say with relative certainty that for purchases over $20, using a debit card has lower fees for the co-op. However, if the purchase is under $20, there is no clear guideline. It actually depends on the fee structure stipulated for the specific cards in question. So if you're curious about which is better in your case for purchases under $20, and you'd like to help save the co-op unnecessary fees, you'd need to review the fee structure outlined by your issuing bank to determine which would cost GreenStar less.

We truly appreciate the concern that our member-owners and customers have for maintaining our financial health. I hope this information will be helpful for bank card users in making your decisions about which card to use. For the record, cash is always least expensive to the Co-op (no fees!) and checks are less expensive than cards. Most important, we appreciate the business of member-owners and visitors alike, whatever your payment method at any day or time!


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