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



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


Announcing Two New Educational Opportunities at the Co-op

Sunday, 02 November 2014 02:23

By Laura Buttenbaum, 

Membership Administrator

Continuing education is a central tenet of the cooperative movement. From its humble beginnings through today, the cooperative movement has acknowledged the importance of educating member-owners, staff, managers, and boards of directors. In fact, the first major purchase of the Rochdale Pioneers, the 28 weavers and community activists who founded the first successful cooperative market in England in 1844, was of the building next door, which they transformed into a library and a classroom. Sound familiar?

Education is so critical to cooperative success that it is embedded in the Statement of Cooperative Identity, adopted by all cooperatives worldwide, and can be found as the Fifth Cooperative Principle: Education, Training, and Information, which states: "Cooperatives provide education and training for their members, elected representatives, managers, and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their cooperatives. They inform the general public — particularly young people and opinion leaders — about the nature and benefits of co-operation." As member-owned enterprises, cooperatives cannot be successful without education, which is vital to ensure the effective and informed participation of members. If co-ops are to be part of the solution to many of the world's problems, not only must people be aware of the concept, they must be willing to participate in it. Such active involvement won't occur if people don't understand cooperative enterprise.

GreenStar has been fulfilling this principle for years, offering weekly informational and cooking classes (open to the entire community, not only GreenStar member-owners), sponsoring Council and staff participation in cooperative conferences, and issuing this newsletter, to name a few of our educational initiatives. In an effort to grow our educational offerings and further engage our members and staff, I am pleased to let you know of two new opportunities we have just put in place, as well as upcoming plans for the future!

Cooking Matters® at the Store at GreenStar!

In our continued efforts to increase affordability and accessibility at GreenStar, we are thrilled to offer a new, free Program, Cooking Matters® at the Store at GreenStar, a program designed for GreenStar FLOWER members and Healthy Food For All recipients. Cooking Matters® at the Store is a program of Share Our Strength's No Kid Hungry campaign, which empowers families to stretch their food budgets to get the healthiest bang for their food dollars by making nutritious food choices.

Read more: Announcing Two New Educational Opportunities at the Co-op

Taking the Pulse of the Co-op: Member Survey Results

Wednesday, 01 October 2014 13:31

By Alexis Alexander, 
Membership Manager

surveyIt was a pleasure to submit our annual member-owner survey results to Council at their September meeting. First and foremost, I'd like to thank the 802 member-owners who completed the survey. Your input is vital to the success of our co-op, helping us assess how well we're meeting the needs of our member-owners. Council and our management staff are reviewing the results to determine those improvements that will best serve our membership in the future.

This was also the first year that we issued the survey online to member-owners who have signed up to receive member mailings and announcements via email. This change greatly improved our ability to analyze the results in a timely, cost-effective, and accurate fashion.

So, what are our member-owners saying about the Co-op?

Read more: Taking the Pulse of the Co-op: Member Survey Results


Page 2 of 8


2015 Spring Member Mailing. Candidate statements, ballots, voting instructions and more.


Current Job Postings


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    Jackie, a Rochester native and Fredonia State University graduate, came to Ithaca in 2000 and decided to stay for a while, liking the relaxed, friendly vibe here. A year later she was living in Brooklyn pursuing a master's in art education, wh...

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