Social networking technology has contributed to the spread of a new group activity: crop mobbing. In a modern-day equivalent of barn-raising, groups of young farmers and city-dwelling locavores descend on farms to offer their labor without expectation of compensation other than a hearty meal. They focus their efforts on family-owned organic farms. Not everyone is enthusiastic about the phenomenon:
Some dismiss crop mobs as urbanites playing at farming, a hands-on variation of the popular "Farmville" Facebook game. Pamela Riney-Kehrberg, history professor at Iowa State University, likened crop mobs to "agricultural tourism." "You go in, spend a nice weekend, get your fingers a little dirty. It's nice but not a significant contribution to agriculture," she said.
Supporters would vehemently disagree, noting that the experience offers networking for small farmers and an interesting experience for the "agricurious." The phenomenon began two years ago in North Carolina, and has now spread to other states.
Link. Photo: Jim Gehrz. Crop Mob website.