If you’ve been following or working with SiX for a while, you might have heard us talk about the CROP (Cohort for Rural Opportunity and Prosperity) but may have lingering questions. Continue reading to learn more about what the CROP is, who it serves, and how it might support you in your work.
What is the CROP?
The Cohort for Rural Opportunity and Prosperity (CROP) is a space for state legislators to convene, connect, and collaborate to protect and cultivate equitable and thriving communities through socially and ecologically responsible rural, agriculture, and food policy.
The CROP is the only cross-state cohort of state legislators in the country dedicated to working on progressive agriculture, rural, environmental and food policy.
The CROP is hosted by the Agriculture and Food Systems Program of State Innovation Exchange (SiX). SiX is a national resource and strategy center that empowers, emboldens and equips state legislators to build and wield progressive governing power by/with/for the people they represent. We do this by providing legislators with the tools needed to shape impactful public policy and building their capacity to lead with their constituents and foster long-term collaboration between legislators, across chambers, across regions, and across state lines–and with grassroots movements.
CROP Members visiting an urban farm at the State Innovation National Conference, Dec 2022.
Who is the CROP for?
The CROP is designed specifically for current state legislators interested in or leading on agriculture, food, environmental or rural policy in their state. Membership is for state legislators only, and is not open to the public or legislative staff (though staff may attend certain events in the legislator’s place). CROP membership is not public and members can choose the level at which they want to engage publicly with the cohort. New legislators and those serving on agriculture, environment, or natural resources committees are especially encouraged to join.
Why should I join the CROP?
Our nation was built on stolen land with stolen labor. Many of our agricultural institutions and policies have evolved from systems of exploitation and continue to be fraught with injustice.
In order to address the historic and current injustices of our food and agriculture system and build a better, more thriving, equitable food system that protects our communities and our planet, we must take a new approach. By facilitating a space for rural, urban, and suburban state legislators to work alongside advocates, farmers, and communities, the CROP supports state policymakers in shifting the paradigms of governance from domination (power over) to shared power (power with), and transforming our food and farming system in the process.
By joining the CROP, state legislators get the support they need to build long-term progressive power in a policy arena dominated by corporate agribusiness interests. In the CROP, legislators get the resources and tools to grow deep, collaborative relationships with rural communities, farmers and ranchers, workers, and their colleagues to make real community change, build long-term and effective power, and transform our food and farm system.
Legislators learn from local farmers and community members about the harms of Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs)
How can the CROP support me?
The CROP is ready to meet you wherever you are in your policy-making journey. We have a bank of resources available to all members, and our team specializes in working with legislators in 1:1 and small groups. From individualized research memos for immediate questions or needs, to casual strategy conversations, lobby day planning, or specific bill support, we’re here to support you as needed.
We also love uplifting what our CROP members are working on in the press through social and earned media. See where some of our CROP members have been highlighted in the press.
Upon joining the CROP, legislators get access to an ever-growing password-protected resource database filled with webinars, reports, factsheets, and messaging guides, and are subscribed to a monthly newsletter highlighting relevant resources, upcoming events and more. CROP members can also sign up for legislator-only topic-specific working groups to participate in cross-state peer-to-peer support and strategy conversations. There is also an advisory committee of issue experts from across the country on hand to help you navigate the myriad issues that you might be facing in your work from coalition-building to mobilization.
CROP members also receive early and exclusive access to our online events (webinars, lunch & learns, and discussions) and in-person CROP convenings and workshops, farm tours, and other special events.
How can I join?
CROP applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Sign up today at this link and begin getting immediate access to CROP resources and support!
For more questions, reach out to us at [email protected]