Crop Mob

crop-mobToday I was part of a crop mob that descended on the Eagle Street Rooftop Farm in the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY.

A crop mob is a group of volunteers who show up for a day’s work on a farm. This one that I participated in was organized by Crop Mob NYC.

At 11 a.m. this morning I was standing with a group of crop mobbers outside a building that houses sound stages for film. A gorgeous, totally glam woman with a thousand-watt smile met us. She was Annie Novak, the farmer. Her farm is a green roof–no raised beds or containers, just soil straight on the roof.


The soil is a mix of mushroom compost and shale (gravel and gravel-sized bits of brick). It is piled up into rows about three feet wide and at most seven inches deep. I was surprised by how much she grows in that shallow planting depth.

The farm has a Sunday farmers market that starts up in a few weeks, a mini-CSA (11 members), and also supplies a few NYC restaurants with produce.

Annie divided us up into teams according to skill level, gave us clear, detailed instructions, and got us to work.annie-novak

Most of my tasks today involved planting seeds (spinach, lettuce mix, radishes, arugala).

I also helped a little building honey bee hives under the supervision of Meg. The farm already has a couple of hives, but is adding several more this year.beehive-construction

I guess the pool of potential crop mobbers is still pretty small, because I ran into people who were at the food swapping party a few weeks ago, and others who had taken my foraging classes.

Time out for a plug for my upcoming classes: I’m teaching Edible Weeds and The Thrifty Urban Locavore for BBG on April 25th. The first is a foraging class. The second is a combination cooking, foraging, gardening, and how to eat local on a budget class for people who would like to eat more local foods but think they don’t have the time, space, or money. I’m also leading a foraging tour for Green Edge NYC on the 17th.

Three hours into the crop mob day we took a break and Annie served up some just-harvested spinach, her homemade olive oil sourdough bread, and sliced apples. I was starving and it was delicious. Hunger truly is the best sauce, because I just shoved those spinach leaves onto a slice of the bread, called it an open faced sandwich, and loved every bite-no mayo required.

And I have to mention the view today, because it was pretty spectacular.


If you’d like to visit the Eagle Street Rooftop Farm, and maybe pick up some of their farmers’ market items, they are open to the public starting in May.

The Locavore’s Handbook: The Busy Person’s Guide to Eating Local on a Budget by Leda Meredith

Botany, Ballet, & Dinner from Scratch: A Memoir with Recipes by Leda Meredith

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2 responses to “Crop Mob”

  1. […] Crop mob. You may recognize this blogger from here (Leda’s Urban Homestead) […]

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