Going Where the Need Is

I have been having this conversation a lot lately:

Body builder at the gym: “Hey, are you new here? I have seen you around town.”

Me: “Yes, I recently moved here from Colorado.”

Body builder: “What?! You left Colorado, for Merced, California?! What for?”

Me: “I took a job with the University of California, Merced to launch CropMobster,”

Body builder: “What is CropMobster?”

Me: “I am so glad you asked”

Merced County located in California’s Central Valley is filled with paradoxes. 16.7% of Merced residents are food insecure and 33.3% of children in Merced are food insecure. Overall, the county has the third highest rate of food insecurity in California.

Paradoxically, the Central Valley produces one third of our nation’s food. Fruit trees line the fences of Merced. Much of this gets wasted as homeowners cannot always harvest all of it. Sometimes the tree owners simply cannot eat all of the food that the tree abundantly produces. This results in food waste contributing to the statistic that globally 40% of our food gets wasted.

Poverty, unemployment and other inequalities also plague the area.

CropMobster Merced seeks to ameliorate some of these issues. It is a free website that utilizes real time alerts powered by social media and email which can connect the community to food, jobs, volunteer opportunities, resources and much more. Alerts of various kinds (action, jobs, free, resource, wanted, sale etc.) are posted by the community and shared in emails and across social media. It is a tool for the community, driven by the community. Ultimately, CropMobster Merced seeks to reduce food waste, reduce food insecurity, improve profits for farmers and local businesses, stimulate job growth and rebuild and empower the community.

So that is CropMobster, and yes, I left Colorado for Merced, California because you go where the need is. I seek to fill this need with my work with CropMobster and other programs. My hope is that one day I will be out of the job because there is no longer a problem with food waste and food insecurity. Wishful thinking perhaps, but until then, I will keep working.

To learn more about the food system and food waste, check out my other blogs.

Check out the other CropMobster exchanges:

CropMobster San Francisco

CropMobster Sacramento