Newly launched in Summer 2017, CropMobster Merced utilizes a “Craigslist”-type platform to connect food sources with hungry students. CropMobster coordinator, Erin Meyer, describes CropMobster Merced as “working to decrease food insecurity, reduce food waste, helping people find jobs and volunteer opportunities, helping build local leaders and much more. We aim to better our local food system and reconnect our community.”

About 57% of UC Merced students reported having low to very low food security, according to the UC Food Access and Security Report. A previous article released by UC Merced also stated that 4 in 10 UC students systemwide do not have a consistent source of high-quality, nutritious food. CropMobster is aiming to lower that number with a platform built around food.

CropMobster is about “creating positive impact and win-wins for all”. Users can find alerts ranging from food donations and gleaning opportunities to events and food-related job postings. One of my favorite examples is when we saved an entire pallet of zucchini and fed our students and community. A pallet of zucchini was generously delivered by the Merced County Food Bank to the monthly Tri-College food distribution. It was a slow, hot day which generated some concern that the pallet of zucchini would go to waste. An “urgent alert” was created on CropMobster, the community shared it and people made calls. The entire pallet (742 pounds of zucchini to be exact) was gone by 2 pm,” says Meyer.

How does it work? Create a free account on merced.cropmobster.com! From there, users can sign up for alerts and post information on food-related opportunities. With less than 200 current subscribers, an increase in the user database will build more connections to help combat food waste and food insecurity.

For more information on CropMobster and how to get involved, contact Erin Meyer at emeyer4@ucmerced.edu.

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