You have questions? we have answers!
Q. What is the Greene Hill Food Co-op?
A: We are a group of neighbors in Fort Greene/Clinton Hill/Bedford-Stuyvesant and surrounding areas who work together to run a not-for-profit cooperative grocery store.
Q: Where is Greene Hill Food Co-op located?
A: 1083 Fulton Street, Brooklyn, New York 11238 (between Classon and Franklin), on the border of Clinton Hill and Bed-Stuy.
Q: What is a not-for-profit cooperative grocery store?
A: A not-for-profit cooperative grocery store is a grocery store that is owned and run by the people who shop there, called member-owners. Because cooperative member-owners pool their resources and contribute most of the work, overhead stays low, prices are lower, and the quality of the products remains high.
Q: What are the Greene Hill Food Co-op store hours?
A: The Co-op is open for shopping on:
Mon, Wed, Fri: 3 pm – 9 pm
Sat & Sun: 10 am – 6 pm
Q: How do I contact Greene Hill Food Co-op?
A: Ways to reach the Co-op:
Mail: Greene Hill Food Cooperative, Inc., 1083 Fulton St. Brooklyn, NY 11238
Meet us in person at the monthly General Meeting Every fourth Wednesday of the month, 7-9 pm at the store.
Q: Why should I become a member-owner of the Greene Hill Food Co-op?
A: Benefits include: Access to healthy, delicious food from local suppliers that is grown organically and in environmentally and socially responsible ways. Typically lower prices for equal or better quality products than those available in local markets. Involvement and investment in the community.
Q: Will there be member-owner orientations?
A: Yes, each member-owner will be required to attend an orientation session, which is held monthly. See the calendar for the next orientation session.
Q: Who can join Greene Hill Food Co-op?
A: Any adult who pays the Membership Investment and commits to work a shift every four weeks can join – there are no residence or neighborhood requirements. The Co-op is committed to building a diverse community.
Q: Can a business become a member-owner of the Co-op?
A: No. Because we are incorporated as a membership cooperative, only individual humans can be member-owners, according to the laws of New York State.
Q: I’d like to join but I’m not able to stop by to get an application. What do I do?
A: You can sign up directly on line right here! Currently we are not offering paper applications.
Q: Why does the Membership Agreement say everyone in my household must join?
A: Each adult (18+) who shares food in your household must become a member-owner of the Co-op. This helps ensure that the amount of labor and investment coming into the Co-op matches the amount of groceries we sell.
Q: Will I have to be a member-owner of the Co-op to shop there?
A: Yes, Co-op member-owners voted to be a 100% working co-op; that is, only member-owners will be allowed to shop there in general. We have several membership options to choose from.
Q: How can I tell if the Co-op is right for me before paying my Membership Investment?
A: We offer a few options to ensure the Co-op is a good fit:
A 1-month trial membership. This trial membership allows you to shop in the store without any work commitment or financial investment for one month.
Zucchini Plan: A 6-month temporary membership, where you pay the non-refundable admin fee of $25 and work a recurring shift every 4 weeks.
You may join as a trial member and then as a zucchini member if you would like. Once the trial/zucchini periods are over, you are invited to become a full time member by making an investment. (These policies are subject to change.) Join here.
Q: Are there monthly meetings?
A: The Co-op holds monthly meetings, including general meetings, board meetings, and our annual meeting in September that are open to everyone. They are a great way to stay informed regarding the rapid changes at our growing co-op and to become more deeply involved. Please see our calendar for date, time and location.
Q: How can I participate in the Co-op?
A: The work involved in operating the Co-op up is carried out by various committees. These committees are open to all, including prospective member-owners. Please click here for complete details on how get involved.
Q: What committees need members and assistance?
A: All committees need your assistance. Check out our Committees page to see how you can get involved.
Q: I want to spread the word about the Co-op. What can I do?
A: Help us reach more people in the community by arranging for a Greene Hill Food Co-op representative to make a presentation at your house of worship, PTA, block association, or other neighborhood group. To do so, please email the Outreach Committee.
Q: Can I get electronic updates about the Co-op?
A: Sign up to receive the Greene Hill Food Co-op email newsletter here.
Q: Who runs Greene Hill Food Co-op?
A: Greene Hill Food Co-op is a formally incorporated cooperative organization and is a collaborative effort with no one person in charge. Our Board of Directors, General Manager, and committees are guided by input from the general membership.
Q: How can I invest further in the Greene Hill Food Co-op?
A: We have a state-approved member loan program, and we gratefully accept donations of used equipment and cash. If you are interested in loaning or donating money to the Co-op or have a fundraising idea, please email our Finance Committee. All suggestions and ideas are welcome.
Q: I run a small business in the neighborhood and would like to partner with the Co-op. How might that work?
A: We welcome support from local businesses, such as donations of gift certificates or other small incentives we can provide to members, posting of Greene Hill Food Co-op signs in shop windows, and more. Please contact the Outreach Committee to see how you can be involved.
Here is a list of your favorite local businesses offering members discounts.
Q: Are financial donations to the Co-op tax-deductible?
A: No. The Co-op is incorporated under New York State's cooperative corporations law and is not classified as a not-for-profit corporation by the IRS.
Q: I’d like to donate some equipment that I think you could use. What do I do?
A: Please contact our Operations Committee to discuss options.
Q: How much does it cost to join?
A: There is a $150 membership investment and a $25 nonrefundable administrative fee; the member investment is subject to certain conditions.
People on public assistance and unemployment are eligible for a Membership Plan that reduces their administrative fee to $5 and Membership Investment to $25. Please contact us for more information.
Q: Are there payment plans available?
A: We have four separate payment options in order to make membership affordable to people of all income levels. Complete details can be found here.
Q: How do I qualify for reduced fees?
A: Yes. People on public assistance and unemployment are eligible for a Membership Plan that reduces their administrative fee to $5 and Membership Investment to $25. Please contact us for more information.
Q: We’re not on public assistance, but my family can’t afford to join. Are you willing to negotiate?
A: The basis of our member owner working model is one of equanimity, where all members equally pay and work the same amount (unless public assistance). If you have a financial hardship, we offer the Carrot Plan membership, an installment plan for anyone who prefers not to pay the entire amount at one time. Please contact Membership for situations not covered by the Carrot of Apple plans.
Q: Why is there an Administrative Fee and a Membership Investment to join?
A: The nonrefundable Administrative Fee helps to cover costs to operate the Co-op, including bank fees, website hosting, etc. The Membership Investment funds leasing, fitting out and stocking the Co-op.
Q: Will the Co-op accept alternative means of payment such as food stamps?
A: Yes, Greene Hill Food Co-op accepts cash, checks, money orders, SNAP/EBT, and debit cards as payment for groceries.
Q: Are the Administrative Fee and the Membership Investment tax deductible?
A: No, Membership Investments and Administrative Fees are not tax deductible; Greene Hill Food Co-op is incorporated in New York State as a not-for-profit membership cooperative, not a “charitable organization” under Section 501 of the IRS Code.
Q: What do I do if I want to leave the Co-op?
A: If you should ever decide to cancel your membership to the Co-op, simply email Membership with your contact info and reason for leaving. If you wish for your investment to be redeemed you will be referred to the Investments team. Please remember that when a member-owner requests a redemption of their investment, it may not be immediate. The redemption timing is determined by the Board of Directors, according to the Co-op’s fiscal health and other factors (and as such, a member-owner remains a member-owner until his or her redemption is processed). Often member-owners that leave the Co-op choose to donate their investment to the Co-op. More information is available under our Leave & Cancellation Policies.
Q: Why is there a work requirement to be a member-owner?
A: Greene Hill Food Co-op has voted to be a 100% working co-op. That means that every member-owner is responsible for contributing work to the store. Using member-owner labor instead of paid labor helps us keep costs down, and it also helps maintain a sense of community among our members.
Q: How much do I have to work?
A: Currently, our work requirement is 2.5 hours every 4 weeks (13 times a year). If you work more than that, you can “bank” hours to count toward your requirements in the future.
Q: Do I need to sign up for work shifts as soon as I join?
A: Yes. Refer to our Work Shift Procedures for more information. All new member-owners have a grace period of 30 days to shop before being required to work their first shift. If a member doesn’t sign up for a work shift within 60 days of joining they will be deactivated.
Q: What kind of work do I have to do?
A: You have a lot of choices. We have many work shifts that need to be done at specified times at the store, from receiving and stocking of groceries, to cashiering, and greeting member-owners at the door. There’s also a lot of important work to be done for the committees, most of which can be done from home and/or on your own time, if your schedule makes showing up for a regular store shift difficult.
Q: How can I change my shift?
Q: Can I cover my partner’s shift for them?
A: Yes, members may cover one another’s work shifts. You just need to sign in under his/her name in Humanity.
Q: Is there an option to pay more to avoid the work requirement?
Q: What if I can’t commit to a regular schedule due to my irregular work schedule, I travel a lot or other reasons? How can I fulfill my work requirement?
A: If you are a member-owner who has an unpredictable schedule or for whatever reason find it difficult to commit to the same position, day, time, and week, we encourage you to join a committee. Most committee work can be done remotely and on your own time. If you cannot join a committee, please email Membership firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your options.
Q: What happens if I don’t work?
A: Each member-owner is responsible for their shift and is expected to find a replacement for the shift if they cannot fulfill it. For further details, please consult the make up procedure chart in our work shift policy.
Q: How do I become “active” again?
A: Please consult the make up procedure chart in our work shift policy.
Q: Are there childcare services provided while I work my shift at Greene Hill Food Co-op?
A: We are unable to offer childcare services right now. We realize this would be a valuable service, and the Co-op will continue to assess options for providing childcare as we grow.
OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH OTHER LOCAL FOOD COOPS
Q: I’m a PSFC member, can I shop at Greene Hill?
A: YES! Just use the PSFC card at the check in desk to sign in.
Q: I’m a PSFC member, can I work at Greene Hill and get PSFC FTOP credit?
Q: I’m a member of another local Food Co-op (other than PSFC), can I shop at Greene Hill?
A: We are in the process of developing a shopping relationship with other local Food Co-ops. We will update that policy here as soon as it is developed.