We started the Crop Hop three years ago as a way to bring our community together to celebrate family farmers and farm advocates. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate here in the North Carolina Piedmont: delicious food, talented local musicians, and a boot-stompin’ square dance. Sounds about right!
I hope you know at least a few of the farmers or farms where your food comes from, if only for a sense of personal connection. If you’re like me, you also like knowing that you’re supporting a local, sustainable, or organic business.
But, who are those other folks I mentioned, farm advocates? Simply put, farm advocates support the ability for small and mid-scale family farms to survive and thrive. They provide assistance to farmers in the forms of financial planning, lender negotiations, legal referrals, and assistance with federal farm programs.
Many advocates are farmers or grew up on farms themselves (but not all) and nearly all have professional agricultural, financial, or legal experience. Still others work as mediators and are skilled in the areas of conflict resolution and business negotiations.
The services that farm advocates provide are in high demand, but the work is hard to pay for. We’re contacted by scores of farmers seeking assistance each year, and, in some years, our Lead Farm Advocate Benny Bunting has assisted more than 70 farmers. We provide this assistance for free.
The Crop Hop is our chance to celebrate family farmers and shine a light on some of the unsung heroes of agriculture, the farm advocates who have their backs. (All of the proceeds from the event benefit our advocacy services for farmers.)
At RAFI, we’re more used to being behind the scenes working on behalf of farmers than being front-page news ourselves. The Crop Hop is our only annual fundraiser. (With your support, we’d like to keep it that way!) Hundreds of people have attended the event over the past couple years and we’ve had a wonderful time getting to know our community better.
We have a bunch of different programs and initiatives at RAFI, but at the heart of everything we do is a concern for the livelihoods of family farmers and a desire for a just, sustainable agricultural system that protects our resources as much as it provides for our needs.
If you feel the same way, we hope to see you at the Crop Hop!
Join RAFI for our 3rd Annual Crop Hop on Sunday, September 13, 2015 at The Pittsboro Roadhouse in downtown Pittsboro, NC.
100% of the proceeds from the event will benefit RAFI’s work on behalf of family farmers. Inquiries: To submit a donation for inclusion in the Crop Hop’s fundraising event, or to inquire about sponsorship opportunities or group rates, please contact Edna Rodriguez via email at [email protected].
Crop Hop was a fresh approach to the square dance. Incredibly fun while enjoying the company of young farmers, old farmers, our local community, and getting to know RAFI, an international organization that we are proud to have in Chatham County.Tami Schwerin, Executive Director, The Abundance Foundation