For some singles, dating can seem like an endless walk among the weeds. An increasingly-popular event on farms, weed dating, is putting that metaphor literally to work. Weed dating is an event where singles come to a farm and meet other singles, all while weeding in a designated bed (insert your own pun).
Weed dating as an event originated in Vermont on an organic farm, and it has spread all over the country, well, like weeds. Farms in Idaho, Kentucky, Florida, Missouri, Colorado, California, and Texas have hosted these agricultural events. Although there is a romantic element to weed dating, farms see hosting this type of an event as a way to shed light on agriculture.
“We encouraged the people to come out, not just for dates, but also to find other ‘agri-curious folk’ like us — people who are really curious about agriculture,” said Esther Kim, marketing manager of EarthDance Farms an organic farm in Ferguson, MO.
Erin Flynn, founder of Green Gate Farms an organic operation in Austin, TX, took the weed dating concept one step further and timed the farm’s weed dating event with Valentine’s Day. “Valentine’s Day is such a miserable day. Everybody feels compelled to have a partner. We wanted to put some fun back into the Hallmark holiday,” she said.
From Concept To Event
When Gretchen Vaughn, founder of Greensleeves Farm, approached her CSA volunteers about starting a weed dating event, the reaction was immediate.
“We said absolutely,” said Lou Meyer of Greensleeves Farm, a sustainable farm 20 miles south of Cincinnati in Alexandria, KY. “Anything to bring folks into the farm to introduce them to local farming, sustainable farming, etc., etc. Anything to raise awareness of that is good, plus, it’s good for business.”
After estimating how many would be attending the event, Meyer said the farm did a trial run with volunteers to ensure the event would run smoothly.
What he discovered was that if daters were having a conversation and “you have someone a span of two feet (away) talking, it’s very distracting, especially the same conversation over and over,” said Meyer. “(We said) let’s space them out so it’s not distracting. So I think we figured 6 feet was a good distance.”
Figuring out the logistics of hosting an event where lots of people come to your farm to do manual labor is one thing, figuring out how to get those people to the farm in the first place is an entirely different topic of discussion altogether.
“Just trying to get the word out to the right groups of people who would be the most enthusiastic about pulling weeds was really where the legwork came in.,” said Meg Calley, director of farming and education at Sprout City Farms in Denver, CO. Sprout City Farms operates a one-acre urban community farm at the Denver Green School.