Double Your Money at the Fall Mountain Food Shelf!

Your support for the Fall Mountain Food Shelf will be worth twice as much in July.

A private donor is matching all donations to the food shelf’s "Friendly Meals" program until July 4, up to a limit of $10,000.  If you give $20, the Friendly Meals program will receive $40.


And through the month of July, an anonymous family foundation in New Hampshire will match all other donations to a limit of $10,000.  Every dollar you donate to the food shelf will double in value from now until August 1.

The Fall Mountain Food Shelf is one of New Hampshire’s busiest, delivering more than 200 Meals on Wheels every weekday and helping keep more than 1,000 families every month from going hungry.  A national foundation that has long given to food pantries across the nation suddenly decided not to this year, so our local food shelf needs your help right now to fill that chasm in its budget.

Fortunately, a private donor walked into the food shelf’s office two weeks ago and donated $1,000 in cash – and now these two foundations have stepped up to double whatever we can give as individuals.  So now is the best time to make the biggest impact against hunger in the Great Falls region.  Please be as generous as you can and send your donations to:

Fall Mountain Food Shelf
PO Box 191
Alstead, NH 03602

You also can call the Fall Mountain Food Shelf at 603-835-2283 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

And remember to donate food at the food shelf’s drop boxes at the transfer stations in Alstead, and Walpole, as well as at the South Acworth store. The Great River Co-op is about making sure that all of us eat well.

2015 NOFA Summer Conference

Make your plans to come to the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA) Summer Conference on August 14, 15, and 16 at  the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.  


The three-day conference features 150 workshops on wide ranging topics like farming, gardening, nutrition, land care, food politics, and special workshops for teens and children.  Also in store: fun, music, films, and lots more!

The conference offers five pre-conferences on Friday morningHerbal Remedies for Digestive Wellness with Brittany Nickerson; Regenerative Agriculture for the Climate with Connor Stedman; Pastured Poultry with Ken Gies;  Healing Your Body with the GAPS Nutritional Protocol with Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride; and Backyard Beekeeping with Sanne Kure-Jensen.

This year's keynote speakers are Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, medical doctor and nutritional consultant, and Ronnie Cummins, consumer activist and regenerative agriculture advocate.

We're accepting workshop proposals through March 31st. Registration begins April 15. Check out for updates! 


Help us spread the word! Visit for sharable Facebook text, blog posts, calendar listings and more.



The Fall Mountain Food Shelf has recently lost a key source of food donations and it hurts:  the food shelf is one of New Hampshire’s busiest pantries for people in need, helping between 1,100 and 1,300 families in a typical month, and those families feel the loss.  Donations to the food shelf have fallen off noticeably and the Great River Co-op is stepping in to help. 
To fill the gap, the co-op has placed drop-off boxes for the food shelf at the Walpole and Alstead/Langdon transfer stations, also known as recycling centers or “dumps". Eventually, we all have to go to the dump.  When you do, please bring along some non-perishable items to leave in the boxes. The Alstead drop box is in a heated area so glass containers are fine but please avoid glass jars at the Walpole drop box as it is in an area not always well-heated and glass can freeze and shatter.  Please spread the word about the boxes so we can make sure all of our neighbors have access to food.  Call Ben at 603-445-2200 or e-mail if you have suggestions for additional drop box locations and watch for new locations coming.


By Erbin Crowell & Bonnie Hudspeth, Neighboring Food Co-op Association


Imagine you are a poor mill worker in the north of England in the mid 1800s. The Industrial Revolution has made production more profitable, but it has also cost skilled artisans their jobs and concentrated wealth and control among a small group of factory owners. Many in the community are unemployed, while others don’t make enough to afford basic groceries. What would you do to provide healthy food for your family? How might you work with your neighbors to improve the lives of people in your community?


On December 21, 1844, after years of organizing and experimentation, a group of weavers, workers and community activists opened a modest grocery store on Toad Lane in Rochdale, England.  Their goal was to provide basic goods members such as butter, flour, oatmeal and candles. Their vision, however, was a transformation of the food system and economy.  Read more here.



The Great River Co-op has received a $50,000 matching grant from the Walpole Foundation to help capitalize the business.  The co-op will receive the gift after raising an additional $50,000 from member-owners and other private donors.


“The significance of the Walpole Foundation’s support can’t be overstated,” says Kim Mastrianni, president of the co-op’s board of directors.  “The foundation understands the key role of agriculture in the Great River region’s past and present economies, in preserving open space, and a way of life that the people who live here cherish.  With its gift, the foundation is investing in the co-op’s mission to secure and strengthen that vision and the region’s agricultural economy.”


The Walpole Foundation’s gift also lifts the co-op past the two-thirds mark in its fund-raising campaign. 


Building the co-op’s store on Route 12 in Walpole, installing equipment, purchasing inventory, and operating the store until it pays its own way is a $2.1-million venture, according to projections developed by the Monadnock Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and the nationally-respected CDS Consulting Co-op.  Commitments by MEDC and Bensonwood, the store’s developer, total $1.4 million, leaving the co-op to raise $700,000.  The Walpole Foundation’s grant brings the co-op more than two-thirds of the way to reality.


If our members and the community will join in the effort, the store could be built a year from now.  All together now!



The team at Bensonwood, our builder, has offered us a great idea that could give us a more elegant building, cut the co-op’s operating cost, and involve the Great River community:  if we can collect donations of 100 to 150 hemlock trees (and donated or reduced-price logging and milling services), the Great River Co-op’s home could be a Bensonwood-built timber frame structure.


Bensonwood is hoping for old hemlocks but other species also might work.  The trees should be mature and tall.  If you have trees to offer, or ideas of people we can approach to ask for trees, please call Ben at 603-445-2200 or e-mail

Together, we can build it!

Help plant the seeds.  Click here to make it happen.

Tedd Benson, Bensonwood, and the Monadnock Economic Development Corporation have joined us as partners to build and open the store.  But your fellow member-owners need you to help.  Click here to see the three ways you can take part.

The co-op has a location.  Tedd Benson and his team at Bensonwood are designing our store's building.  The Monadnock Economic Development Corporation is working with us to secure $2.2 million in funding.  But the Great River Co-op's market can become a reality only if we all step up.  Click here to learn how you can help make it happen.

From the Great River Co-op's annual meeting

Members gathered at the Great River Co-op’s third annual meeting on Tuesday, April 29.  Our guests were Jack Dugan, president of the Monadnock Economic Development Corporation (MEDC); and Tedd Benson, renowned timber-frame builder and founder of   Bensonwood.  Both organizations are partners in the creation of the co-op’s store.


Tedd presented a preliminary sketch of the building and site plan.  The barn-shaped building will begin as a 4,000-square-foot structure, the initial size recommended by our market study, and is designed to be easily expandable to 6,000 square feet when needed.  The south-facing side of the roof is planned to be lined with photovoltaic panels and Tedd explained that, within our budget, he hopes to make this a “net zero” building – producing as much power as it uses.  Bensonwood will design and build the store.


Jack outlined the $2.2-million plan to open the store next year.  Both Bensonwood and MEDC will invest directly and will jointly own the store building.  Those investments will be combined with a series of grants, low-interest loans, participation in the state’s tax-credit sales program, and an investment from the Great River Co-op.  The funds not only will allow the building to be built; they also will equip and stock the store and give the co-op several months of working capital.  At several points in the future, the Great River Co-op will have the option, but not the obligation, to buy the building.


The co-op’s share of the investment is $750,000, which will be raised over the next 12 months through the sale of membership shares and gifts and loans from members.  The co-op’s fund-raising campaign will begin shortly.  Watch for details and think about how you can participate. 


The co-op can’t happen unless each of us takes a role.  Look for details soon.



  • You can share in the co-op’s profits. 
  • You can help bring much-needed foodstore competition to our region.
  • You’ll shop at a community market stocked every day with meat and produce raised right here.
  • You’ll help strengthen and expand local agriculture and protect open land.
  • You’ll shop at a family-friendly store that won’t stock sugary cereals at kids’ eye level, stack candy bars by the cash registers, or have what retailers call a “Mommy, I want” aisle filled with impulse purchases.
  • You’ll have a say in the products the store carries.
  • You can have a voice in governing the co-op.
  • The co-op’s profits stay in our community.
  • You can help to develop community education programs through the co-op.
  • Joining now can make it possible. Your memberships and donations will give the co-op additional capital and demonstrate the community support this initiative needs to stay on track.


Don't miss it!

The Northeast Organic Farming Association's summer conference on August 14-16.  See details below.


The co-op’s board is delighted to announce that John Cook has taken on the challenge of guiding the co-op’s fund-raising campaign. John is a resident of Walpole and has an extensive background in development and fund-raising.  He is working with the board to complete a strategic plan to raise the money that can open the store. Welcome, John!


The Great River Co-op has received a $10,000 pledge from a member committed to the co-op's success. 

Please show your commitment by investing what you can -- $20 a month, a $25 pledge, or an outright gift or loan.  Your gift can be tax-deductible if you send to the Monadnock Economic Development Corporation, Railroad St., Keene, NH 03431, and include a note that your gift is directed to the Great River Co-op.  For details and more information, call Kim at 603-835-6488, Ben at 603-445-2200, or e-mail info@greatriverfoodcoop. com.


Click here for news.


A message from member-owner Minna Good:

Upgrading my membership from one share to a full voting membership of four shares was something I’d been meaning to do for the last couple of years but something always "came up".  But now is the time for all of us, including myself, to upgrade.  We all need to support our local farmers and to help create a year-round market that features produce and food products created locally.  It is getting close to the time for our dreams to come to fruition.  The more of us who upgrade our memberships, the quicker the co-op becomes a reality.  So I urge all of my fellow member-owners of the Great River Co-op to become voting members, if you are not already, by purchasing a total of four shares.

See the latest progress in store design.  Click here.

Membership Form

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Photos courtesy of: