“Farm-to-phone” grocery platform Cropswap today announced a partnership with Nourish LA to bring healthier food donations to underserved residents of Los Angeles.
Food insecurity, which the USDA defines as “the limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods, or limited or uncertain ability to acquire acceptable foods in socially acceptable ways,” has increased over the last year. Los Angeles county alone estimates that “nearly 1 in 4 residents” in that county has suffered food insecurity since the COVID-19 pandemic started.
Cropswap, which launched during the pandemic, connects its users with local farmers via an app. In June of last year, the company also launched a subscription service through which customers can get delivery or pickup orders of produce, seeds, and other items on a regular basis.
For the Nourish LA partnership, Cropswap as added an in-app donation feature that lets users give a seasonal Harvest Box to those in need for $50. The box is filled with organic produce from Sow a Heart Farm, in Fillmore, California, and contains what Cropswap says is enough to sustain a family for one week. Users can simply add the donation to their existing total. Cropswap and Nourish LA handle the actual process of getting the food to its recipients.
Given that they’re a relatively easy way to encourage giving, in-app donation buttons have surfaced in multiple different areas of the food industry over the last twelve months. Uber Eats last year set up an in-app donation button to help struggling independent restaurants. Also last year, Delivery Hero partnered with the United Nation’s World Food Programme’s Share the Meal program. Users can donate a meal via the regular Delivery Hero app interface.
A $50 box of food is obviously more costly for the giver than, say, donating a few bucks or a single meal. However, online grocery has seen a surge in new users over the last year, and consumer enthusiasm for buying from local farms has also increased. Those two factors working together means there’s a much bigger potential audience for Cropswap’s self-proclaimed “Instacart for local produce.” That in turn means a wider pool of those able to and/or willing to donate a week’s worth of food to those in need.