There’s a lot up for debate in the realm of agriculture these days, but there’s one thing no one can dispute: Farming is hard, often lonely work. But something happened one fall night that is helping to make it just a little bit easier — and certainly less solitary.
In the fall of 2008, a group of 11 young farmers living and working in North Carolina’s Triangle Region got together to talk about issues facing young farmers
— things like healthcare, wages, access to land. As they talked, one young farmer, Adah Frase, squirmed in her seat before deciding to speak up. “I’m tired of sitting in meetings just talking about things. It feels like a waste of my time. Why can’t we go out and work while we meet rather than just sitting around a table?”
Frase believed you could build stronger relationships with people by working side by side rather than just sitting around a table talking. Her fellow farmers agreed. “The idea emerged that we’d come together to build community, help each other out, and share a meal,” explains Rob Jones, one of the farmers in attendance that October night. “We decided we’d call it the Crop Mob.”
As word began to spread of the original Crop Mob’s efforts
—and the New York Times’ Sunday Magazine sung its praises — other farmers have started their own regional versions of the crop mob
— as have aspiring farmers and what New York City’s Crop Mob refers to as the “ag-curious.” Volunteers might build a fence, clear a field, or harvest a crop, all based of course, on the needs of the farm being “mobbed” that month.
Crob mobs are popping up all over the United States. The Crop Mob’s website has an interactive Google map so you can find a nearby mob (you can also search for groups on Facebook). Or go here to start your own.