This is definitely my favorite thing of the week.

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CropMobster has created a site where farmers in the San Francisco Bay Area can post an alert that they have surplus food, the alert gets put out through social media, and the people descend. Community members, small businesses and hunger relief groups – they take the food and find a good home for it.Most of us have probably heard about the “gleaning” movement, where people go to farms after the harvest and save the perfectly edible foods that may simply be slightly blemished, a little misshapen, a little too big or small, and therefore unsellable. Well, a new group has taken this practice to a whole new level.

 

At our family’s Bloomfield Farms it’s a straight up punch in the gut to watch boxes of perfectly edible broccoli, cabbage and other veggies return unsold from a farmers market. It’s frustrating to till under acres of slightly-blemished (and therefore unsellable) tomatoes or kale knowing that this produce should have been sold or donated in a perfect world. And this is just our perspective as folks working the dirt! From another angle, consider the parent or fixed-income senior struggling to put fresh veggies on the table combined with the knowledge that incredibly, over 50% of US fruit and vegetable production is wasted!

This is the frustration that gave rise to CropMobster, an online exchange and instant alert service. The idea was simple. What if we built a website where anyone with surplus food could publish alerts online? And what if these alerts could be broadcasted via social media to reach community members, small businesses and hunger relief groups? Could something like this help? Well, seven months in, the answer for our team at CropMobster is a definitive “you betcha!”

–Nick Papadopoulos, CEO and Co-founder of CropMobster 

Continue reading about CropMobster at the Natural Resources Defense Council blog.