When I first saw the term Carrotmob, I figured it must have something to do with people going out to farms to help, but I was wrong. Carrotmob is named for the “carrot or stick” idiom — dangling a reward (a carrot) in front of someone to get them to do what you want them to do instead of punishing them (hitting them with a stick).


A Carrotmob is like an anti-boycott group. Instead of refusing to patronize a business because of some undesirable business practice, a Carrotmob makes an arrangement with a business to spend a whole lot of money there on a specific date if the business agrees to make positive changes with that money. It’s a positive twist on the “vote with your money” mantra that many environmentally minded people follow.


Here’s an example of a Carrotmob campaign from their website. In Portland, Ore., 412 people joined a mob and bought pizza from a place called Hotlips on a specific day. The business agreed to use 100 percent of that day’s revenue to invest in an energy-efficient retrofit. $6,316 was the revenue collected on that one day. This is just one example of successful Carrotmobs that have been formed all around the world.


The Carrotmob organization has released a new curriculum for sixth through 12th grades to help educators start student Carrotmobs in their schools. I’m going to be forwarding this information to the administration of my local school district, and I thought I’d tell you all about it in case you’d like to see your local school districts get involved, too.


Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.