My great-grandparents’ farms in Iowa required every family member to pull weight and relied heavily on help from friends and neighbors. I have idyllic memories of those places, long since absorbed into vast industrial acres of industrially grown corn, and the towns of Tipton and Westchester that they tucked into. I remember large gatherings of people, both to work and to celebrate, and always lots of fresh-picked food. I thought that era was gone forever. Now a phenomenon known as Crop Mob is promising that family farm feeling again.
Crop Mobbers work together to take care of their small-scale North Carolina farm. Photo Courtesy Crop Mob.
In North Carolina’s Triangle region (between the cities of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill), Crop Mob is uniting a diverse group of people—from young, landless, wannabe-farmers to experienced growers—to work on small-scale, sustainable farms and gardens. Crop Mobbers, or volunteer farmers, get together once a month at a local farm or garden to get big projects done. After the workday, volunteers enjoy a meal, good conversation and maybe a little music; money is never exchanged. It’s a good, old-fashioned barn-raising—and it’s catching on.
Crop Mob groups have sprouted up all over the United States. Check out Crop Mob’s Get Involved page to find a Crop Mob in your area or learn how to start your own.