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



Improving Membership Transactions at the Registers

Sunday, 01 February 2015 20:48

By Alexis Alexander,

Membership Manager

receiptsTechnologically speaking, 2015 is shaping up to be a pretty good year so far. Over the past several months, the Front End, Information Services, and Membership Departments have been collaborating on register improvements to enhance our service to member-owners, especially as it relates to renewal processing. Recent upgrades by the software developer and manufacturer of our register system have enabled us to add features to our registers that have been on our wish list for some time now. These features will help us ensure that memberships are renewed in a more timely fashion, and that our member-owners don't lose out on member discount and Member Deals savings because of a lapsed membership.

In the past, when cashiers entered a member number, they needed to look in a certain field on the register screen to see the renewal date. Naturally, in the course of a busy day, ringing up numerous transactions, it was easy for them to sometimes miss this item. But now, when a cashier puts in a member number, if a renewal payment is due, a pop-up screen comes up with a clear alert of expiration. In order to proceed with the transaction, the cashier must let the register know whether the member-owner plans to renew or not, guaranteeing that the cashier will communicate with members about upcoming renewals.

Read more: Improving Membership Transactions at the Registers


398 Co-op Member-Owners Switch to Email — 
400 Trees Planted!

Thursday, 01 January 2015 16:38

By Alexis Alexander, 

Membership Manager

trees-for-future-01GreenStar bylaws require that we send out certain bits of information to all member-owners each year — here in the office, we call these "required mailings." These include our Spring and Fall mailing that outline information on Council elections, bylaws and member referendum votes, and the annual member-owner meetings. Given that our membership includes more than 10,000 individuals, these mailings represent quite an expense for the Co-op when sent out via US mail. In an attempt to reduce our mailing expenses a few years ago, we started to send these documents out via email to member-owners who chose that option. Sign-up is required, as we won't email you without your express permission.

Read more: 398 Co-op Member-Owners Switch to Email — 
400 Trees Planted!

Empowerment through Education: 
Cooperative Enterprise 101

Monday, 01 December 2014 02:02

By Laura Buttenbaum,

Membership Administrator

co-op-bookWhat is a co-op? This seemingly straightforward question can elicit a wide range of responses, from visceral and intrinsic to completely organizational and economic. According to the International Cooperative Association, "A co-operative is an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly owned and democratically controlled enterprise." In GreenStar's newest staff training program, Cooperative Enterprise 101, we break down that definition into distinct and tangible pieces, fostering a greater understanding of what it means to be part of a co-op and empowering staff with the knowledge of the cooperative difference.

The training begins by comparing the structure of cooperative businesses with privately and publicly owned businesses. We cover cooperative values (self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity, and solidarity) and the Cooperative Principles (listed on this page) and we discuss how GreenStar honors them. We define the concept of the triple bottom line (people, planet, profit) and talk about the programs that GreenStar has in place to address all three and the challenges of measuring our successes (and shortcomings) in each. We then explore the various types of cooperative businesses and identify local, regional, and national examples of each.

Read more: Empowerment through Education: 
Cooperative Enterprise 101


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