After a farmer’s market last year, Bloomfield Farms of Sonoma County, Calif. had 40 pounds of organic broccoli left that would soon spoil if it wasn’t used. According to Danielle Venton of High Country News, the farm’s general manager, Nick Papadopoulos, quickly posted a message to Facebook: “We’d love to get this produce to you at a bargain price – who’s in? Text me.” Minutes later, the broccoli found new customers. This experience sparked Papadopoulos’ idea for CropMobster, a start-up that uses social media to prevent food waste and organize donations to food pantries from California growers. CropMobster aids in the organization of gleanings, posting calls for volunteers on its website and through its free app. On January 16, volunteers picked 792 pounds of Satsuma tangerines, which they delivered to seven California food pantries. CropMobster also aims to support farms by helping them sell excess meat and produce at a discount—recent offers include half-price organic beef bones and a bargain on three rams a family farm is looking to sell as it switches its focus to grass-fed beef. So far, CropMobster has saved about 110,000 pounds of produce and generated more than $50,000 in revenue for farmers. Papadopoulos and other volunteers update the CropMobster website from a converted turkey barn on Bloomfield Farms, keeping them close to their agricultural roots even as they focus on technology.
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