CropMobster's Fight Against Hunger
Nick Papadopoulos and Joanna Cedar, two Sonoma State University alumni are the brainchildren of CropMobster – a resource used by social media channels and even the old standby telephone tree to get surplus produce from farmers, grocers and restaurants to those who are in need.
The recently new site, www.cropmobster.com, just over three months old, is a solution to reduce hunger, help farmers and prevent food waste. Papadopoulos and Cedar's innovative idea was recognized as a solution to fight against hunger, as they took top honors in California's second annual Sierra Nevada Innovation Challenge this past June. Competing against 50 finalists from around the state, they both were, deeply honored understanding that it takes a village to raise a CropMobster.
During the Innovation Challenge, each finalist was asked how his or her new product would change the world in a positive way. Papadopoulos and Cedar have goals they want CropMobster to achieve – feeding hungry people who are interested in agriculture and are willing to work for it, supporting local farmers and preventing food waste, increasing the visibility as well as revenue of the low-income local food producers and strengthening community bonds.
Since CropMobster began in the spring of 2013, it has diverted approximately 20 tons of food that would otherwise have been wasted into more than 100,000 servings, generating thousands of new dollars for farmers and food sellers. CropMobstering has been featured on National Public Radio's California Report and the Larry King Show, and received inquiries from every state in the country.
Sebastopol's Laguna Farms has several boxes of produce goods for canning and pickling. It needs to be sold quickly so they put up an alert on CropMobster.com. The retail value is $230: they'll sell it for $100. Community members and hunger relief nonprofits who have signed up to receive alerts can take advantage of the deals. The farmers make money from their crops and the food doesn't go to waste. In some cases food is offered for free if a glean team will pick it from the fields.