Sunday, April 17, 2011

April 2011 Crop Mob (Good Life Farm)- Recap & Photos!

Thanks to Sam Bosco for the beautiful photos!  Got pictures or stories to share? Comment below or email us at!

"The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time is now." - Chinese Proverb

 The Good Life Farm in Interlaken, NY

April: after the Latin aperire, "to open"; or, after the Greek aphrilis, "Aphrodite's month." When daffodils started blooming downtown, it seemed that spring and Ithaca had finally reached some sort of agreement. It's easy to curse Ithaca's moderate continental climate--our substantial variation in temperature over the course of the year--in the dark depths of winter and the oppressively hot peaks of summer. But in the spring, most of us are thankful for our four distinct seasons.

The coming of April means the Ithaca Crop Mob is turning two. We're officially perennial! The coltsfoot, winter aconite, and snowdrops along the side of the roads are celebrating with us. The longevity of the crop mob is the kind of truth that astounds me while also being pretty unsurprising and mundane. Well, what did you think would happen? I ask myself, and I shrug. A year ago around this time, ICM's first mob assembled to plant a couple hundred trees at The Good Life Farm in Interlaken, a stirringly earnest investment in the future. Plant trees for those who come after you; plant trees when you're here to stay.

Some outcomes can be pointed out at the end of a hard day's work. 200 pounds of squash harvested, an acre of beets weeded, 2000 cloves of garlic planted. Then there are the outcomes that take a little longer to appear, are harder to measure, and are more easily felt than communicated. Every time I go to a crop mob, these outcomes sort of flicker around me: a volunteer who found a kindred spirit in a nearby farm; somebody teaching others something they themselves learned last year; friends who might never have met if not for the crop mob. These are the indicators of social change. It's something we rarely talk about as organizers of the crop mob- there are always logistics to talk about first, the wheres and whens. Only occasionally do we get a glimpse the what of it all. This year, for continuity, for a more holistic understanding, the Crop Mob came back to The Good Life Farm on April 9th for the second planting of apple trees.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

March 2011 Crop Mob (Ithaca Youth Farm Project at Three Swallows Farm)- Recap & Photos!

A special thanks to Mary Brock for the wonderful picture slideshow of this crop mob!

And another appreciative shout out to Carisa Fallon of the local television show Get Foodie for visiting us and filming! We look forward to seeing the show and will post it as soon as it becomes available!

Got pictures or stories to share? Comment or email us at!

“Now is the accepted time, not tomorrow, not some more convenient season. It is today that our best work can be done and not some future day or future year. It is today that we fit ourselves for the greater usefulness of tomorrow. Today is the seed time, now are the hours of work, and tomorrow comes the harvest and the playtime.”
-- W. E. B. Du Bois

March is the first month on the Roman calendar, and in 2011, it's is the first month on the Ithaca Crop Mob's calendar too. Representing the first sign of the Zodiac (Aries), named for Mars, the god of war, this month has a harsh reputation. Perhaps it's because winter winds seem even more brutal and cruel to those restless for spring. Epithets like "the long, hungry month of March" (Newfoundland) also remind us that by this time of year, many cold-climate homesteaders are scraping the bottom of their crocks and root cellars. And there's something sort of fierce about the determination with which the first signs of spring surface- the pungent skunk cabbage, the oniony ramp, the deceptively delicate-looking crocus.

I remember hearing when I was young that March "comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb." No such luck this March- Ithaca got hit with a snow day on the 23rd and the bitter cold kept on. With the Ithaca Crop Mob's characteristic luck, though, a warm, sunny streak followed us to Three Swallows Farm on the equinox to lend a hand and learn from the Ithaca Youth Farm Project.

The Youth Farm Project is an innovative (and ingenious) collaboration between the Southside Community Center, the Lehman Alternative Community School, the Ithaca Waldorf School, the Full Plate Farm Collective and other community organizations. Here's how it works: local high school students take summer jobs farming and managing the organic, biodynamic vegetable farm at Three Swallows Farm (funding is gleaned from the Youth Employment Services, the county, Cornell Cooperative Extension, and other sources). Youth from different backgrounds meet, mingle, and bond over farming. The produce they grow goes to LACS, Beverly J. Martin Elementary's Snack Program, Congo Square Market and the Full Plate's U-pick operations. This is IYF's second year, and enthusiasm is as high as ever.