For-profit Grocer Replaced by Nonprofit in West Virginia

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January 21, 2015; Register Herald (Beckley, WV)

The role of nonprofits in our food supply is growing and diversifying. NPQ has covered the development of a number of new nonprofit groceries over the past few years—for example, in Raleigh and Nebraska—so this next story is no surprise. Still, all of these efforts are interesting in the diversity of their sponsoring organizations. In one case, it was two churches helped by a Whole Foods. In this case, it is an organization that wants to improve food access and support local farmers at the same time.

Last fall, the small town of Alderson, West Virginia, lost its only grocery store with fresh food, but now the Alderson Community Food Hub will step in to replace Alderson Green Grocer with a nonprofit co-op featuring locally grown food products as well as other staples.

To fully outfit the operation, the group needs a little more than $30,000; to this end, it has launched an online campaign on Indiegogo.

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

The article says that the nonprofit starts ahead of the game with a track record and a willing base of community and volunteer support. It has managed school and community gardens and has operated the local farmers market and food co-op, among other things.

“We feel that we will be empowering consumers and producers—truly our whole community—to nourish themselves well into the future,” said food hub board member, Kevin Johnson.—Ruth McCambridge