WWOOFing your way around the world
By: Grethe Mattheus
When the nomad in you begins to whisper and beckon you to discover places far out there; like a secluded piece of land in Fiji, or the vast open spaces of Kenya, it too may have heard the sounds of WWOOF on the wind.
WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) is an engaging worldwide network of organisations that links volunteers with organic farmers and encourages people to share in more sustainable ways of living. Through a model of exchange you can volunteer your help on a host organic farms almost anywhere in the world. In return for your work you are given food and lodging and the opportunity to learn about life on the land.
Adventuring in the modern world need not cost a huge amount of money and this and the fact that it is nice to take one’s time on a journey was part of the inspiration that enabled the WWOOF initiative to be born. From an idea it is now grown into a worldwide venture connecting volunteers with a variety of organic farms and smallholdings around the world for a mutually beneficial interchange.
The beauty of WWOOF is its fundamental principal of sharing and free exchange. Both volunteer and farmer meet with open hearts and willing hands.
All the participating farms associated with WWOOF are either transitioning towards being completely organic or are fully fledged ecologically balanced endeavours. Working on land managed like this provides hands-on experience of organic cultivation as well as priceless other learning opportunities.
WWOOF organisations publish a list of organic farms and smallholdings that welcome volunteer help at certain times. The diversity of hosts’ available offers a large variety of experience and it is from this list that volunteer helpers (“WWOOFers”) choose what interests them most. It is then up to the volunteer to make direct contact with the farmer to arrange to stay.
WWOOF promotes worldwide alliances and helps engender the sharing of valuable knowledge in organic farming.
I cannot wait for the next opportunity to pack my backpack and head off – wherever WWOOF may take me.
More info http://www.wwoof.org/index2.asp or http://www.wwoofindependents.org/