The Mob Goes Radical

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August 31, 2011 at 4:33 pm

cropmob chicken

Over the years as first a customer, then volunteer and now Potter’s Cracker vendor, I’ve become familiar with many of the farmers at Green City Market. I know the layout of their booths – where I can find tomatoes, chard or fennel, and enjoy taking these ingredients home knowing who they came from. The side of the equation I’m less familiar with however is what takes place on the farm. So I was excited to participate in Green City Junior Board’s first Crop Mob at Radical Root Farm!

crobmob group

Last Saturday at 7:30am, about a dozen of us gathered at Green City where we arranged ourselves into carpools and headed north to Radical Root Farm. Located in Grayslake, IL, about an hour north of the city, this 4-acre certified organic farm is situated on Prairie Crossing Farms, a Conservation Community you can learn more about here. We joined up equipped with our gardening gloves, sunscreen, water, and dishes we’d brought for the potluck lunch.

Up at the farm, Alex and Alison gave us the lay of the land. We heard about what a tough season it has been – starting out with a cold spring and continuing with a deluge of rain and wind that gave the crops quite a beating. We boarded the back of a tractor and Alex drove us into the farm where we received a demonstration on weed pulling. That morning we got our hands dirty clearing weeds from beds of celeriac and leeks and harvested potatoes which we found to be reminiscent of participating in an Easter egg hunt. The weeds gave us a run for our money with their deep roots. It was more of a workout than we expected and I think we all agreed we’d be feeling sore the next day. As we learned, farming can be synonymous with managing weeds that compete for sunlight and nutrients. And on a farm of this size, where nearly all work is done by hand, weeding is hard to stay on top of. A dozen extra sets of city hands makes weeding quicker and more entertaining than on a standard day on the farm. It was good to feel that our efforts added value.

cropmob tractor

When Alex called it a day we were excited to head back to the barn and enjoyed the dishes everyone contributed to the potluck. This crew of junior board members and farmers market enthusiasts sure can cook (or buy Hoosier Mama pies, as the case may be:). Piling back in the cars we all shared a great sense of accomplishment. I now know a lot more about my Green City neighbors and will appreciate those leeks all the more knowing what went into bringing them to market!

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Stay tuned for details on the next Crop Mob by becoming a fan of the Junior Board facebook page where we will post details as we have them.

Kyle Schott is a member of Green City’s Junior Board and the owner of MidwestRoots, a company that provides sales and support to help grow artisan businesses. Check out her blog at mwroots.com.

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