Published on August 24th, 2010 | by Guest Contributor1
The Crop Mob Unleashes Community on Sustainable Farms
You may have seen a “flashmob” as part of a guerrilla marketing stunt in the last few years, where hundreds of people descend on an urban location to participate in a coordinated show that is a surprise to everyone but those involved. How would that marketing idea play out in the green world? The Crop Mob in North Carolina is digging on sustainable farms across the state to see what they can make grow. On one afternoon each month a group of volunteers gather at a chosen sustainable farm as a community to do the work it would take a solitary farmer months to do.
Here is an excerpt from their About Page that gives you an idea of what they do and why they do it:
“In the past farming was much more labor intensive. Activities like planting, harvesting, processing, and barnraising often required the collective effort of entire communities. This interdependence fostered strong communities. As farming became more mechanized and reliant on petroleum based inputs, it became a more independent and solitary career… The crop mob was conceived as a way of building the community necessary to practice this kind of agriculture and to put the power to muster this group in the hands of our future food producers… Any crop mobber can call a crop mob to do the kind of work it takes a community to do. We work together, share a meal, play, talk, and make music. No money is exchanged. This is the stuff that communities are made of.”
No money changes hands- the mob is a collection of apprentices, interns, and experienced farmers and gardeners who are simply down for the cause. As a thank you, the hosting farm provides a meal for all participants- harkening back to the classic barn-raising community celebrations.
Thus far the Crop Mob has planted more than 2,000 person-hours to more than 20 farms. They use a healthy dose of online media to water the community, organizing everyone through a Google Group and displaying a map of existing Mobs. The most striking element of the crop mob idea is that it is possible to mobilize a community to share the work it takes to make a sustainable farm viable. If you’re interested in starting your own Crop Mob, take a look at their “Getting Started” guide.