Crop Mobbing South Florida Style

Invest in your future, plant a fruit tree!

Invest in your future, plant a fruit tree!

South Florida’s first crop mob was at Verde Gardens and the task was to plant hundreds of fruit trees for the 3-acre food forest. We had over 50 RSVP’s, but due to the rain we had 30 committed people show up. We started by educating the beginners on how to properly plant fruit trees, taught about and built rain water barrels, and then we proceeded to plant about 300 hundred fruit trees. The crop mob was wrapped up with an amazing pulled BBQ jackfruit from Bambi and Sonia; or so I heard (not tasted), as I am a raw foodie.

It all began at the Community Food Summit  where Rob Jones, one of the original creators of Crop Mob, came down and educated us about what crop mobbing is all about. Here is a quote from their website:

“In October 2008 a group of 11 young agrarians from Orange and Chatham counties in the Triangle region of North Carolina got together to talk about issues facing young farmers. We talked about healthcare, wages, access to land etc. This wasn’t a new conversation for anyone around the table in fact we had all attended many similar meetings and nothing ever seemed to happen. Adah, a particularly restless young farmer was visibly uncomfortable and squirming in her seat, finally she spoke 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?”
Adah felt like she built stronger relationships with people by working side by side rather than just sitting around a table talking. She had a lot of work to do and if she was going to take time away from the farm she didn’t want to feel like she was wasting it. The idea emerged out of the group that we could come together to work on each others farms. We would build community, help each other out, and share a meal. By the end of October we had organized our first mob with 19 people digging, sorting and boxing 1600 pounds of sweet potatoes in about 2.5 hours. Things accelerated from there. We got into the rhythm of mobbing once a month, getting word out through email over our listserv.”

After hearing about the wonderful results that have come from crop mobbing we new that we had to start a South Florida Crop Mob. We were all shocked that it wasn’t happening down here yet, and we knew we couldn’t just walk away without doing anything. We have a Miami permablitz  (which is similar to the crop mob, though it focuses more on permaculture principles), but we need more co-operation from all of the farmers and gardeners!

Bambi, an apprentice,  started a signup sheet and passed it around to all of the attendees that wanted to get involved. The sign up sheet was then taken to the other events during the summit which provoked more folks to sign up and be a part of the growing community. By the end of the summit we had over 30 people on the beginning list, and it quickly grew from there.

Check out the photos!

In Homestead, FL we have approximately 8 inches of soil sitting on top of extremely thick oolitic limestone. Machines can come in handy when used properly, and this machine can be run completely off of biodiesel!

Using an auger to cut through the thick oolitic limestone

With a large group of people organization is key. I am writing the list of trees in the order of planting so we can work as effectively as possible.

Using the design map to organize the order of trees.

While Elena and I work on the organizing, the rest of the folks are learning how to create rain barrels from used food grade 55 gallon drums.

Mini Water harvesting workshop

Minimizing the overall workload for everyone is really important. After all, this is permaculture!

Team work!

Crop mob is all about community and it is most surely an all ages event.

Carolina's brother

We tend to forget that life is all about having fun and relaxing, and that work is a part of life. If you are not having fun, move along. (Pulling a tree out from the pot like this could do serious damage to the roots and overall life of the tree. These two friends were playing for the camera. No trees were harmed during the capturing of this footage.)

Playing around (NOTE: DO NOT DO THIS)

When planting a tree, make sure the root crown is just above the level surface to prevent flooding during rainstorms. This could result in weakening the whole tree due to rot.

Two apprentices, Braian and Carolina, planting for future generations

After planting a tree, plant another tree.

From the tree's point of view

After a day’s hard work, a well prepared meal is always due. We work as a team, eat as a team, and there is absolutely no crop mobber left behind.

Lunch time

What’s for lunch? Pulled barbeque jackfruit sandwiches, brown rice, beans, sprout salad, papaya avocado salad, and allspice tea. Best part is.. everything (except the beans & bread) were local!

Ending the day

Want to be a part of South Florida’s next crop mob? Join the facebook page.


2 responses

  1. I agree, fruit trees are your future. Nut trees however, feed a thousands. Chestnut, Korean Pine Nut, and Japanese Stone Pine can live hundreds of years and produce tons of nuts easily harvested. They are harder to get started, but will sustain a village when all the fruit is long gone. Protein, Lipids, and Carbs all come from the nut.


    • Nuts are extremely important in a food system, imo as equally important as fruit trees. Protein, lipids, and carbs all come from the nut AND fruit as well. There are going to be lots of nut trees planted, including the macadamia nuts that we already planted. We are only planting 10 mac nut trees, 1 tropical walnut, and 1 sea almond in the food forest. The rest of the nut trees will be in the alley crop areas, as they do provide lots of shade and we want to be able to get higher production in the food forest.

      I do not believe that the chestnut, korean pine nut, and japenese stone pine, will all grow in our subtropical climate (chestnuts grow in central FL but not down here). I assume those nuts would be better for a northern area.

      Are you familiar with Mark Shepard’s work in Viola, Wisconsin? Really great stuff!

      BTW Thank you for stopping by, I love your blog and always find a lot of helpful, and interesting information 🙂

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