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CropMobster: How To Put Your Local Food System To Its Highest Use

Original Content
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By Adam Taggart
Monday, June 5th, 2017

CropMobster: How To Put Your Local Food System To Its Highest Use

Original Content
By Adam Taggart on
Monday, June 5th, 2017
3

In the developed world, we waste a LOT of food.

In America alone, it’s estimated that up to 40 percent of the post-harvest food supply is discarded, according to The Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. That represents more than 1,200 calories per day for every man, woman, and child in the U.S. — just thrown into the trash.

Yet at the same time we have food access issues and nutritional deficits that result in widescale health problems and hunger nationwide, despite having more than enough nutritional calories to go around. Our food system is a mess — and it doesn’t have to be that way.

In this week's podcast, we talk with Nick Papadopoulos, founder of CropMobster; an innovative company focused on helping communities dramatically improve the potential of their local foodsheds. Nick explains how CropMobster provides a platform that any community can build on to connect local producers with local consumers in ways that boost economic development, reduce wastage of food and other resources, and assist local hunger relievers:

We started with a specific focus on this food waste challenge. We had this idea that we could leverage the existing relationships in the community to prevent, recover, and find a home for food at risk of going to waste — and then create something valuable out of it; either a sale, a donation, et cetera.

But as we progressed, we saw that folks were using our platform for a lot of other different reasons, too. In a food system, if you think about it as a bicycle wheel and each spoke as a relationship, we started out focusing on the different transactions that could help prevent food waste — but now it’s evolved to the point where multiple relationships and multiple types of needs are being addressed.

We’ve got sales at full price, donations, trades, bartering, people posting that they have jobs to offer in the local region, people posting that they’re looking for work or they have a service to provide. A lot of folks start their small businesses trying to raise money and do crowd-funding, like a Kickstarter or Indiegogo. But guess what? As a new venture, they have no crowd yet. So they’ll post their crowd-funding offer on our site and we help give them a nudge towards success.

And so, what we’ve teased out are a host of different relationships that happen in every community that are required for a resilient, healthy food system. We’ve evolved to where we can support any one of those types of exchanges, where people can post an alert saying 'here’s what I have' or 'here’s what I need' and then we rally the community not just around the transaction or around the commodity, but inspire enough folks to get involved, share those alerts, and deliver an impact for whomever it is who’s had the guts to make a post on the platform. Usually something good turns out.

At the end of the day, it’s really about helping the people in a community meet their individual needs. This gets to the point of Peak Prosperity and its emphasis on developing resilience. How can we also not only help ourselves, but help others while doing to?

To sum it up, we're really like a Craigslist meets the local community Grange. We really try to equip communities to train and hire local leaders to run these exchanges, so that they're in control to empower their community to strengthen and improve the dynamics in their food system, given their own unique local assets and needs.

Click the play button below to listen to my interview with Nick Papadopoulos (39m:34s).

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– Peak Prosperity –

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