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Natural Awakenings

Donate a Day: Crop Mobs Sustain Small Farms and Build Communities

Jul 01, 2010 03:00AM

Across the country, crop mobs comprising dozens of mostly 20-something volunteers periodically gather at local sustainable small farms to donate their time to make immediate improvements. These landless farmers, apprentices, interns and the “agricurious” comprise a remarkably effective traveling work party, often assisted by experienced farmers and gardeners eager to share their know-how with the next generation. Assigned tasks might be mulching, building a greenhouse, prepping garden beds or bringing in a harvest.

“The more tedious the work we have, the better,” says Rob Jones, co-founder of the  spreading movement, which originated in North Carolina’s Triangle in response to a regional surge in sustainable farming. “Because part of crop mob is about community and camaraderie, you find there’s nothing like picking rocks out of fields to bring people together.”

It’s all about building the community necessary to practice this kind of labor-intensive agriculture and to put the power to muster help into the hands of future local food producers. Any crop mobber can call a crop mob to do the kind of work it takes a community to do. Participants work together, share meals, play, talk and make music. No money is exchanged; it’s the stuff that communities are made of.

For information and contacts in various states, visit

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