If you are someone looking for a real agricultural adventure away from the “main land” WWOOFing maybe just your thing! WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) is a volunteer organization that connects individuals with organic farmers from around the world! You can choose your location (as long as they have a spot open in the time frame you are available) and spend anywhere from a few weeks to several months helping an organic farm take on their daily tasks.
“WWOOF is a world wide network of organizations – We link volunteers with organic farmers, and help people share more sustainable ways of living.” – WWOOF Website
“WWOOF is an exchange - In return for volunteer help, WWOOF hosts offer food, accommodation and opportunities to learn about organic lifestyles.” – WWOOF Website
“WWOOF organizations - link people who want to volunteer on organic farms or smallholdings with people who are looking for volunteer help.” - WWOOF Website
Our friend Chelsea spent a summer on an organic farm in Hawaii and shared some of her adventures in our series; Hawaiian Farm Girl. She learned all kinds of things but mainly enjoyed the hands on experience and falling in love with the land.
If you are interested in participating in WWOOFing please know it’s definitely not for the faint at heart! You have to be willing to do chores of all shapes and sizes including cleaning the chicken coop! Not everything is as flashy and pretty as planting seeds but it’s definitely a great experience to learn what it truly takes to run and organize a working farm.
Somethings to consider (from Chelsea’s experience):
CASH ON HAND: As a WWOOFer you are strictly a volunteer so your time is in trade for free lodging and food (whatever the farm grows). You’ll need to make sure you have saved up money to purchase your plane ticket to and from your location as well as any extra spending cash you might want to travel around the area you are saying in.
TRANSPORTATION: If you are wanting to do a lot of site seeing around the area of your farm location you’ll need to consider transportation. Chelsea had access to a car but it was shared among the other WWOOFer’s and it was only available certain days a week.
FRIENDS: Most WWOOFing farms are typically located outside of town and away from other people. You may want to talk a friend into sharing the experience with you so that you don’t get to lonely. Obviously there are other WWOOFers around but you don’t always know their personality types, if they will even speak the same language as you, and how long they plan on staying. You may like the idea of being secluded but others may want to bring a friend!
FREE TIME: The farm Chelsea stayed at required each WWOOFer to work 5 hours a day. This may sound like a lot but chores where done quickly leaving a lot of free time to roam the land. Make sure you bring books to read or other things to help you occupy your time. Depending on if you have access to a car or not you maybe confined to the farm grounds a lot more than you would like. Also, don’t forget to ask about internet access, etc. Depending on the farm location access maybe sketchy and hard to keep in touch with family and friends (if you care to do that!).
EQUIPMENT: Find out what type of cooking equipment is available for the WWOOFers. Chelsea was able to take a isobutane/propane stove that was extremely lightweight and compact. It allowed her to fit a single pot, pan, or teakettle at a time to cook a number of things. Since you are typically confined to eating what the farm grows you may want more options when it comes to preparing the same foods over and over again.
With summer quickly approaching WWOOFing is a great hands on agriculture adventure! Not only does it teach you life skills but you’ll gain a better appreciation for the land and what it takes to grow your own food.
Visit WWOOFing today and find out how you can volunteer at an organic farm near you or across the globe!
From the Farm
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