Social Enterprise: WV town working to bring healthy local food after only grocery store closed

Last fall Alderson lost its only fresh grocery store, a story familiar for small towns across West Virginia. Fortunately, the Alderson Community Food Hub, a community-based nonprofit focusing on improving food access and supporting local farmers, is ready to step up and turn this setback into an opportunity.

The Alderson Community Food Hub plans to expand their coop into a full grocery store, offering both local and wholesale goods as well as a wealth of fresh options, serving community members and visitors alike. The expansion plan for the Alderson Green Grocer project includes several aisles accommodating a wide variety of products, more freezer space, a deli counter, and the technology and equipment to run a grocery store.

“Our senior citizens and others with limited access to transportation seriously need a grocery store with fresh produce and meats,” said Alderson Mayor Travis Copenhaver, “Efforts like this help bring a vitality back to our town that yields a wealth of benefits for everyone.”

On Jan. 13, the Alderson Community Food Hub announced their official expansion plan and accompanying fundraising campaign. They have launched an online funding campaign on the popular fundraising platform Indiegogo that includes an informative video about the project and its goals: http://tinyurl.com/nzmtsc2. Their goal is to reach $30,400 before Mar. 16. As of Jan. 20 they had already raised 11 percent of their total goal.

This project is unique because unlike a traditional business, the Alderson Green Grocer is and will be run as a social enterprise. This means that the direction of the business will follow the mission and values of the nonprofit and any revenues beyond self-sufficiency will be re-invested back into projects benefiting the community.

“We feel that we will be empowering consumers and producers, truly our whole community, to nourish themselves well into the future” said Kevin Johnson, ACFH board member. The Alderson Green Grocer will be set up to benefit all community members, consumers and farmers alike, and will accept a range of benefits and payment methods.

The Alderson Community Food Hub has four years of experience with community-based projects, and depends on invaluable community and volunteer support. This existing support has allowed them to manage school gardens at the Alderson Elementary school and the Alderson Community Garden, run the seasonal Alderson Community Market and Green Grocer Coop, host a Grow Appalachia program and an Appalachian Foodshed Project site.

If you would like more information about the Alderson Community Food Hub or their expansion campaign please visit their website www.aldersonmarket.org , check out their Facebook page www.facebook.com/aldersonfood, or call Kevin Johnson at 304-445-3040.

 

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