Collegetown Update: We're Building!

Saturday, 05 September 2015 17:08

By Brandon Kane,

General Manager

greenstar-collegetown-store-300As I draft this update, GreenStar is only a short time away from closing on the loans that will fund our third cooperative market in Ithaca, slated to open in the late summer of 2016. The funding for this project offers a terrific example of the cooperative model of business at work. Our primary funder is the Cooperative Fund of New England, while secondary funding will come from the National Cooperative Bank. These two organizations have been collaborating with us to reach this point for over two years now.

While this additional store location at 307 College Avenue was approved by GreenStar's membership several years ago, it has been quite a saga to reach our current stage of development. For the last five years our Co-op team has been working non-stop with developers Josh and Bill Lower on various project components, including design, lease, variances, and permits. We've been enjoying a great working relationship and look forward to many prosperous years ahead together.

The store itself is past the basic design stage, meaning we have chosen and designed the equipment, as well as a general schematic layout. The fun part of choosing a selection of products and details such as a store color scheme and lighting has yet to come. I want to take this opportunity to thank our Co-op staff architect, Pam Wooster, for her perseverance and persistence right alongside us the whole time. She's made this hard work appear easy.

The Collegetown store is the last piece (for now) of what was our multi-year strategic plan of smart growth for the future. It began with the member vote approving this new location. We then promptly set to the work of reconfiguring our operations, with the intention of making them as efficient as possible when it came time to open the doors of this new retail store. This resulted in the construction of our Central Production Kitchen and Bakery about two years ago.

Read more: Collegetown Update: We're Building!


Support Your Local Co-op

Monday, 03 August 2015 22:39

By Joe Romano,

Marketing Manager

caleb-paloma-kazoo-mural-greenstar"Every aspect of our lives is, in a sense, a vote for the kind of world we want to live in."

— Frances Moore Lappé, author of Diet for a Small Planet

45 years ago, if you lived in Ithaca, or any city, and you walked into a supermarket, you would be hard pressed to find brown rice, tofu, or anything organic at all. These products, which are ubiquitous today, were virtually nonexistent in the retail space. Twinkies, Ho-Hos, Ding-Dongs, Wonder Bread, and sodas ruled those aisles instead.

People who wished to eat natural foods had to produce them themselves, or find some way to purchase the large quantities required to order them themselves. They did this either by feeding large groups of people or by starting a buying club. Some of them started co-ops.

Back in 1971, citizens had to band together to fight other issues as well: poverty, classism, racism, and sexism come to mind. And while many people fought and indeed died to gain ground on these issues, I think that it's fair to say that we have come nowhere near eradicating them. In fact, on many of them we've regressed and become even more entrenched in the systems that propagate these social evils and inequities.

Read more: Support Your Local Co-op

GreenStar's "China Boycott" Ends After 18 Years

Thursday, 02 July 2015 07:16

By Dan Hoffman,
Council Member

An unexpected side effect of the recent controversy over a proposed referendum on whether GreenStar should boycott certain goods from Israel has been the sudden end of the Co-op's longstanding boycott of most goods originating in the People's Republic of China. How did that happen and what will it mean for the Co-op?

In 1997, long-time GreenStar member Becca Harber was concerned about China's treatment of Tibet, including human rights violations and denial of independence (lost in the 1950s, when the new, communist government of China took over Tibet). She brought a request to the Co-op's Council: namely, that GreenStar join a boycott of goods from China (with an exception for medicinal herbs and other herbal products not available from non-Chinese sources) "until China withdraws from Tibet or enters into a mutual agreement with the people of Tibet." Council quickly approved the request and this prohibition was written into GreenStar's Product Line Policy.

Read more: GreenStar's "China Boycott" Ends After 18 Years


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