GreenStar Named First Food Justice Certified Supermarket in North America

Monday, 01 September 2014 14:42

By Joe Romano,

Marketing Manager

foodjustcertlogoGreenStar Natural Foods Market and the Agricultural Justice Project are proud to announce that GreenStar is the first supermarket in North America to receive Food Justice Certification! Three of the seven existing certified entities are from Ithaca: GreenStar, The Piggery, and West Haven Farm are all members of this important roster. Leah Cohen, Agricultural Justice Project (AJP) Program Director, confirms that both the stores and the farm meet the rigorous AJP standards for respectful treatment of store employees, living wages, safe working conditions, and commitment to continual improvement, and have earned the right to display the Food Justice Certified label.

A recent AJP press release calls GreenStar "one of NYS's outstanding retail stores" and "a pioneer in food justice, initiating an array of programs to provide access to high quality food for low-income people and to diversify staff." They go on to note that we are "committed to cooperative principles and to open book management by a team that makes decisions by consensus and welcomes the creative contributions of all staff members and owner-volunteers."

The release also quotes the author of this article: "GreenStar is thrilled to partner with the Agricultural Justice Program by receiving their Food Justice Certification. We are pleased not only to receive Food Justice Certification ourselves, but to promote the fair business practices it represents to our members, shoppers, and to our community as a whole. Having a standard that 'measures what matters' ensures that workers and producers are fairly treated. This type of certification is long overdue, and we are happy to be one of the first of what will hopefully be many businesses committed to this kind of objective evaluation, so that 'Food Justice for All' becomes the standard for businesses, communities, and individuals." The author (myself) also notes that "providing fair and supportive treatment of our own employees, and being sensitive to the working and living conditions of those whose labor produces the goods we sell" are top priorities for GreenStar.

Read more: GreenStar Named First Food Justice Certified Supermarket in North America


Living with Our Living Wage

Friday, 01 August 2014 16:39

By Brandon Kane, General Manager,
Michael Hoysic, Human Resources Manager, and
Dan Hoffman, 
Council Member

brandon kaneThis year marks GreenStar's tenth anniversary of paying a living wage to our employees. Back in January 2004, a GreenLeaf article reported that "GreenStar has become the first retail business of our size in the Ithaca area, and perhaps in New York State, to commit to paying its employees at least a livable wage. We are pleased to announce that, starting in January, our Level 1 entry wage will be $8.21 per hour. That is a 17 percent increase from our 2003 starting wage of $7.00." The state and federal minimum wage was $5.15 at that time.

During these ten years, GreenStar has increased its base wage to match an updated living wage figure every other year, in even numbered years. In 2014, we implemented our latest wage increase, bringing our entry level wage to $11.80/hour, a 44 percent increase from that first living wage in 2004. The state and federal minimum wage today is $7.25.

GreenStar has always been a local leader in the living wage struggle, but now the Co-op suddenly finds itself involved in a debate over what exactly constitutes a living wage.

Read more: Living with Our Living Wage

A Store by Any Other Name

Tuesday, 01 July 2014 18:40

By Joe Romano, 
Marketing Manager

oasis-store-frontWhat's in a name? 
That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.

— William Shakespeare

A rose is a rose is a rose is a rose.

— Gertrude Stein

A kilogram by any other name would weigh as much.

— Bill Nye

In the play "Romeo and Juliet," Juliet uses the logic that Romeo's family name should mean nothing, that their names should not keep them apart if their love is true. We know how badly that ended — names do matter. They have distinct meanings of their own that impart context, history, emotion, distinction, intent, and more, to places, objects, organizations, and people.

Read more: A Store by Any Other Name


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