On Crop Mobs, and Starting One of Our OwnPosted by Marie on Feb 5, 2012 in Latest News | 0 comments
by Sean Keller
The Media Timebank is about to try something entirely new, something that has, at least to my knowledge, never been done before. This spring, we are planning to start a Crop Mob and coordinate it with the Timebank.
A Crop Mob is a group of people – whether experienced or inexperienced in the field of farming – who travel to a local, sustainable farm on a given day, and lend a hand wherever they are needed. The first Crop Mob, which took place in North Carolina in 2008, involved 19 people, and managed to harvest 1,600 sweet potatoes in less than 3 hours. A Crop Mob can comprise any number of people, large or small, and any task is fair game – whether harvesting crops, planting, building fences, or moving a greenhouse, the beauty of a Crop Mob is that it lets one enthusiastic and fresh group of volunteers do in one day what might otherwise entail weeks of labor for a farm’s full-time workers. Sometimes, a meal is shared between volunteers.
Of course, a Crop Mob also provides a chance for experienced farmers and growers to share their knowledge with volunteers, some of whom may never have helped out on a farm before. Skills that came naturally to our grandparents, and have since fallen into disuse for most of us, can be rediscovered. In a Crop Mob, those skills can be passed on in one of the most powerful ways imaginable – by working side by side, growing food with other people in one’s community.
The real kicker in our case here in Media is the marriage of Crop Mobbing with the Timebank. It is such an intuitive connection to make between the two movements, and it plays so well to strengths of each, that I was surprised to find that there have not really been any previous efforts like the one we are planning. The idea is that participants in our Crop Mob who are also members of the Timebank can earn Time Dollars by taking part. Crop Mobbing will be a unique way to put the neighbor-to-neighbor principles of the Timebank into practice; it lets us lend a hand to those most essential of neighbors – the ones who keep us fed.
The vision for our Media Crop Mob for this year is to go out to one farm per week on a rotating basis. Publicizing the Crop Mob and spreading the word to anyone (whether or not they are a Timebank member) who might be interested in volunteering, even if only for a day, is the most important thing for us to do at this point to help the project gather steam. So let your friends and neighbors know, fish for interest, and get the word out. Because the bigger the Mob, the better.
Some information on other successful Crop Mobs around the country, for those who are curious, can be found at http://cropmob.org/. This is the closest thing to an ‘official’ Crop Mobbing website out there. It is a sort of information hub on Crop Mobbing activities, with a map of locations around North America, and news and updates on other Crop Mobs and their doings.