Elk Grove's smart idea: Using social media to feed the hungry

Fri, 2014-04-11 06:00 -- Liz Enbysk

Elk Grove Mayor Gary Davis calls his city's Community Exchange "innovative common sense." Working with CropMobster, the northern California city is in one program fighting hunger, tackling food waste and building its farm-to-fork economy.

Mayor Gary DavisUsing an online platform and community engagement program that is licensed and supported by CropMobster, anyone in the community – farmers, food businesses, backyard gardeners – can post instant alerts on surplus food and supplies going to waste. The alerts can offer deals, donations, trades for the food.

The alerts are distributed in real time via email and Mayor Davis             social media, enabling                                                community groups, hunger relief agencies and others to mobilize to get the food to those in need. A couple of recent examples cited by the Sacramento Bee:

  • The Elk Grove High School Future Farmers of America club posted an alert that it had 20 dozen eggs available for a local food closet or church pantry and expected to continue producing 12-15 dozen a week.
  • Food broker Josh Jordan found himself with a ton of cucumbers without a home. “My job is to find a viable home for the product, but there are times when, logistically, there are so many mountains to climb that it becomes too expensive to make that happen,” he told the Bee. “But you shouldn’t just throw that away.”

According to the Bee, Mayor Davis announced the pilot program in his recent State of the City address. “Like two ships passing in the night, food goes to waste and people go hungry,” he said. “Not in Elk Grove. Not anymore.”

“Whether it’s a restaurant or a backyard farmer, everybody has a level of food excess while others struggle to put three meals together,” he told the Bee.

The Elk Grove Food Bank says it serves about 3,300 people monthly and a growing number of them are seniors on fixed incomes. 

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This article is from the Council's Compassionate Cities initiative which highlights how city leaders and other stakeholders can leverage smart technologies to end suffering in their communities and give all citizens a route out of poverty. Click the Compassionate Cities box on our registration page to receive our weekly newsletter.

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