MERCED — University of California, Merced has partnered with Bay Area-based CropMobster to help fight hunger and curb food waste across Merced County.
CropMobster Merced County is an online food exchange that connects growers, community members and hunger relief agencies in the efforts to reduce food insecurity on campus and throughout the county.
“It’s like an online version of the town square from times past,” said Charles Nies, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at UC Merced, in a press release. “It’s a place where anyone in the community can sell, share, barter and exchange to help each other, and ultimately, help the community.”
CropMobster has been licensing the platform since 2013, building success and resources. The university will be the first the company has partnered with.
The online exchange works by having members such as farmers, businesses, growers and others posting alerts about sales, donations, events and even job postings that can help those in need.
“UC Merced is the first university to take on this innovative social venture and have its staff and students moderate the exchange and work with the community,” CEO and co-founder Nick Papadoupulos said. “The campus is playing a pioneering role in this idea that will help reap results for the community and economy today while also growing future leaders.”
A recent survey of UC Merced students found that four in 10 do not have a consistent source of nutritious food. The results of the survey showed 57 percent of “students reported having low to very low food security.”
More information can be found at merced.cropmobster.com.