The original message of crop mobs has changed as the idea became a “thing” on its own. The idea changes a bit in each new area, and, for better or worse, adds new pieces to the developing visage of a developing model. In Seattle, the focus is primarily on the creation of new community gardens. In Atlanta there is a cap on the number of folks who can participate. In Minneapolis there is a “no kids” policy.We set out with a few simple but necessary guidelines, and for the most part these ideas remain intact. As we work on some more specific guidelines for both attendees and the host farms, we must be conscious of more than just the ideals of the original nineteen farmers; we must be conscious of the needs of several thousand individuals.
To date there are active Crop Mob groups in 22 states in the US, 99% of which formed after the end of February of this year. At some point the originators of this new model of agrarian community building have to let go, get back to our work in the present – in our own community – and let evolution do its thing. And it is evolving; it is debatable how much leadership this idea needs on a national level. There is no doubt that a solid foundation and at least a minimum operational framework is needed. After that is established, all we can do is look on as the roof goes up and the furniture is moved in.
Crop Mob is a very sexy idea right now. As such it is subject to an intense scrutiny of its methods, its participants and its goals. “White, hipster slackers participate in a real life Farmville” might as well be the new media headlines. From what I have been reading lately, you would think that what started as a way to get young and landless farmers together has turned into just another urban fad for the fixed gear bike crowd. This is untrue and utterly ridiculous. Is there anything that a group of young people can do that can’t be turned into something that it is not?
Some recent comments on the online version of a story in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune (‘Crop Mobs’ thrive in farmville):
Hipster doofuses. Your parents play Farmville now, on to the next thing.
…there is more to experience than diggin’ in the dirt in a garden. I am just wondering why this hipster/feel-good activity is news.
Farmers do not get enough freebies from the government, they also get FREE Labor from the idiot taxpayers that subsidies them in the first place….WEIRD. People are stupid.
The best part is they do it once and they never come back. Instead, they run back to their homes in the city and wait for more government handouts. There is no such thing as hard work anymore.
Small farms are great, but do we really need a story about hipsters who have never done real work in their lives going on a feelgood, look-at-me fieldtrip? There are great stories of small produce farms (many of them owned Hmong, Mexican or Somali immigrants) who are providing much of our local produce…
Look at me! I’m “farming”. More hipster douchery.
…typical nonsense from the fringe that will disappear when the next fad is discovered.
WOW. I wish I had so much time on my hands that I was so bored I wanted to go work on a farm.
I honestly don’t know where the hate for this idea comes from. I wonder if the detractors tear apart every other volunteer activity that is discussed in the media? Are we really the only group that has to examine our privilege every time we set out to do a crop mob? Do we really have to take note of every participant’s motivation for showing up?
No, we don’t have to answer to anyone but the farmers we are working for and the community we have formed. The media eye will move on but we will not.
In mobs we trust…