Crop Mobs: Flash Mobs Gone Green
In a phenomenon called "crop mobs," groups of mostly young city dwellers organize themselves to provide a few hour of free labor for local farmers.
Like any flash mob, the volunteers assemble via social media and appear to execute their arrival and dispersal spontaneously. The difference is that instead of recording a uniformed act that will be posted on YouTube, crop mobs form to support small-scale local agriculture.
Some critics dismiss the trend as a fad, but farm owners who weed, water, compost, fertilize on a daily basis welcome anywhere from 10 to 30 pairs of extra hands.
Crop mobs are made up of a group of folks from many different backgrounds and professions who desire to help on a farm and to meet other like-minded people. Many of these volunteers live in the city and just want to learn more about where their food comes from and how it is produced. Some members of crop mobs are actual farmers themselves, which makes directing and "teaching" a crowd a lot easier for the farmer receiving the much needed help.
Crop mobs might meet anywhere from once a week to once a month. The destination farm is predetermined, and they show up ready and enthusiastic about contributing their time and labor. The farm owner lays out what needs to be dome. Jobs might include weeding, planting, pruning, building barns, or greenhouse construction.
Those who show up are called "mobbies" and the only compensation they received after a predetermined number of hours is a good, hearty meal, which is usually provided by the farm owner.
Such a community-centered volunteerism is reminiscent of ages past, when neighbors simply stopped by to help out whenever extra help was needed during harvest time, hay making, canning season, and other agriculture centered activities. The concept of crop mob might foster a return of such a community spirit.
To join an example of a crop mob, email cropmobewst@google groups.com.