By David Esteppe
With the loss of the town’s only grocery store, Alderson is about to be rescued from food desert status by turning the non-profit Alderson Community Food Hub (ACFH) into The Alderson Green Grocer.
ACFH Board of Directors President Kevin Johnson explained that after the IGA grocery store closed this past November, it utterly transformed people’s patterns and food access, as well as the people of Alderson’s sense of the future. This is a common story everywhere. Small communities with poor outlets for their own diverse agriculture, that are not large or connected enough to attract outside business, need uncommon people to make creative, local solutions.
According to Johnson, The Alderson Green Grocer will run as a social enterprise. It will be structured to sustain itself long-term, while offering a wide variety of local and outside sourced goods, as well as prepared foods. “We will be able to accept a variety of payment methods including SNAP. We plan on having a few tables allowing for people to sit down and socialize over coffee and a snack,” he said.
As ACFH is working on renovations small and large to the food hub, working on developing interest from the larger distributors willing to drive the 11 miles from the interstate, and preparing for a mid-March opening, they are also raising necessary funds via the internet platform www.indiegogo.com. Simply type “Alderson” in the search box on the site. With a goal of $30,400 to reach by Mar. 16, the crowd funding project is at $6,540 with 76 donors as of press time. Donations to this non-profit are tax deductible. If you donate via indiegogo, contact ACFH for a receipt for your tax return.
Johnson said, “The timing is right for our food hub to step up and expand our own small co-op grocery. In doing so, we will be empowering consumers and producers, our whole community, to nourish itself well into the future.”
Contact ACFH via www.aldersonmarket.org, Alderson Food on Facebook, or call Kevin Johnson at 304-445-3040.