A London secretary invented WWOOF in 1971, while she and 3 buddies volunteered on an organic farm in Sussex for a weekend. Now, as many as seventy five,000 WWOOFers a year venture to four dozen nations on six continents for a taste of true farming existence. They paintings at least 4 hours in line with day in change for rustic room-and-board supplied by their hosts. Keep these Do’s and Don’ts in thoughts in case you want to have a stellar WWOOFing enjoy.DO
DO: Establish standards. What type of enjoy are you looking for? Want to work with goats? Harvest grapes? Gather wild herbs for market? Learn a way to construct stone walls or cook the local delicacies? Use your desires to slim the point of interest of your search.
DO: Be practical approximately your time. How long do you need to spend working on a farm as opposed to traveling footloose? As a WWOOFer, you’ll have afternoons, evenings and weekends loose, but you’ll have to be ready to farm once more through morning. But there’s flexibility, too. My wife and I labored a full day once so we could take the following break day to loll round at a backwoods hot spring.
DO: Exercise due diligence. Choosing the proper WWOOF farm is a piece like finding the proper man or woman on an Internet matchmaking website online. Avoid committing to a “date” that disappoints by changing some emails–and possibly even scheduling a Skype consultation–to establish rapport and nail down mutual expectancies.
DO: Choose a significant vicinity. You may additionally want to discover a farm that’s close to trekking trails or near sufficient for day journeys to critical web sites, or has easy get right of entry to to a teach station. You may also organic farms pick one which employs a language you realize or need to study. We labored on a farm in Provence that was a fifteen-minute stroll from the Mediterranean Sea, and some other farm in suitable Tuscany (however distant from its “Chianti-shire” vacationer area). I know a schoolteacher who spends her summers WWOOFing in New England to get away from the sticky Deep South. Hate wintry weather? January and February have summer time climate inside the southern hemisphere.
DO: Be just like the astronauts. Bring your personal non-public existence-support device. Hosts normally organic farms provide Muck boots and equipment, however you’ll need your own set of labor clothes, rain tools, gloves, a hat and a bandana. Without a pocketknife, you’re not a full-fledged farm employee — or gardener, for that be counted. So after flying to WWOOF farms in France and Italy, I’ve continually picked up a locally made pocketknife. (I recommend the traditional, French-made Opinel pocketknife.) Be certain your knives trip home in a checked bag so TSA gained’t confiscate them from your carry-on.DON’T
DON’T: Procrastinate. Start searching out a bunch farm early. They want time to make plans and so do you. Four to 6 months before departure is not too soon. Also, these farmers will be busy and many are not tech savvy, so some–perhaps your favorites–may be slow to reply. Allow time for a few from side to side and keep checking for brand spanking new hosts on the WWOOF web site till you land a preference farm.
DON’T: Be mysterious. Sell yourself. It’s a competitive marketplace. Hosts usually desire WWOOFers who’ll deliver longer time commitments or who have a beneficial ability. Ever milked a cow? Have canning competencies? Give a few details to help you snag the right farm. My carpentry competencies landed me a gig helping a farmer design and build a tractor shed out of scrap substances. We used tree trunks for posts and iron pipes for beams. We straightened a hundred bent nails to steady random planks and his tractor now has safe haven from the rain. And I got here domestic with a image of myself status at the shed roof.
DON’T: Take probabilities. Even a small organic farm may have dangerous situations. The WWOOF employer offers coverage, but you don’t want to must use it. You can be excited if asked to force the tractor. But if it’s on a slope — in which it could flip over — possibly you ought to decline. Trust your gut; stick with sports that experience safe and arrive home in a single piece.
DON’T: Be a celebration-pooper. Plans change almost every day on a farm. In March, over email, the farmer may additionally have stated you’d be harvesting strawberries. But whilst you get there in May, it turns out the donkey barn is late for mucking out and your pitchforking talents are wished there. Allow yourself only a moment of disappointment, then take heart. The individual who receives the crappiest process carried out typically earns everybody’s affection by organic farms means of sparing them the mission. And you’ll have discoveredimportant matters about farming: 1) things want to be done, once they want to be accomplished and a couple of) donkey manure doesn’t odor that bad in the end.
DON’T: Expect 5-megastar lodges. You might be housed in a teepee, a yurt, a basement bunkhouse or the loft of a barn. You can also get a cozy bed room inside the farmhouse or should pitch your personal tent. At one farm, we slept in a romantic one-room stone cabin where we examine at night time by typhoon lamp. On another farm we occupied a reasonably-priced caravan with a large hole in the ground. You may be using composting lavatories open to the climate or sharing a rest room with many others. As the journalist G.K. Chesterton said, “An adventure is best an inconvenience rightly taken into consideration.”
DON’T: Be a traveller. Granted, you’ll be playing an special locale, outstanding perspectives, top food and mesmerizing camaraderie, but you’re also volunteering to do grimy, bodily work. Treat the time you’re “on duty” the same manner you’d deal with your process at domestic. You’ll research plenty and gain the respect of your hosts–and possibly their friendship, too. And after you get domestic, you’ll be the only with the fine dinner party stories.