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Red Cross recognizing range of heroes

  • Nick Papadopolous, founder of CropMobster.com, will receive a Red Cross Real Heroes Award on Thursday morning.

Nick Papadopolous is being hailed as a hero, though he's not sort of one who saves people's lives.

Or is he?

The Petaluma family farmer is one of 19 North Coast residents who will be honored Thursday morning by the regional American Red Cross chapter as "Real Heroes."

2014 Red Cross Real Heroes

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Organized into 10 categories of heroic service to others, the award recipients at a Red Cross fundraising breakfast at Rohnert Park DoubleTree Hotel will include rescue professionals who plucked imperiled people from a cliff, and law enforcement officers who dived into Clear Lake to save an elderly motorist.

The farmer's heroism is subtler.

Papadopolous will be cheered for his use of social media to get unsold or otherwise unused produce to people in need before the vegetables, fruits and other agricultural products spoil or are thrown away.

Papadopolous, general manager of Bloomfield Organics, will accept the award with Gary Cedar of Sebastopol. They and Cedar's wife, Joanna, co-founded CropMobster.com, the online platform that produces alerts that help to find people in need of food that otherwise would be fed to livestock or go into the compost heap or landfill.

"We're just a little over year in, and the inspiration and impact has been remarkable," Papadopolous said. He figures that the information shared on CropMobster.com has prevented the discarding of at least half of million pounds of food.

As a bonus, he said, farmers and ranchers in the region have attracted attention, and sales, from people formerly unaware of them and the food they raise.

Papadopolous is working to spread the CropMobster concept to other areas.


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