Spring is in the air and this bring WWOOFers out into the world to sleep in dorm bunks, work a lot and eat a lot on organic farms around the world.
So far I have only worked once as a WWOOFer. It was on Harry Burton’s heritage apple farm on Salt Spring Island for one day. I think I spread manure around the tree bases and I did eat a lot.
While living on Salt Spring, I gave countless WWOOFers rides who were hitchhiking from Ganges back to the farms where they were working. They come from all over the world and often run the vege and plant stalls at the Saturday Market.
This is one of many great ‘alternative’ ways to travel the world:
Salt Spring Village Views
June 4, 2004
by Tanya Lester
In the last couple of weeks, the number of young travellers with backpacks on Salt Spring has increased along with the sun and soaring summer temperatures. Among these visitors are WWOOFers who come from all over the world.
One of the zillions of great ideas birthed in the 1970’s, the WWOOF acronym stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. Britain’s TNT Magazine credits Sue Coppard with WWOOF’s conception in 1971. The London-based secretary “wanted to get out into the countryside” and “the organization has been providing volunteers with the opportunity to spend a few days on farms all over the world ever since.”
Liz Young of Stowel Lake Farm has been swapping room and board in exchange for labour with WOOFers going on five years now. She explained when an organic farm, such as hers, in not mechanized, it is very labour intensive. It would be financially out of her reach to pay the workers required.
Young said both the farm owners and WWOOFers benefit from the exchange. The volunteers are provided with an inexpensive working holiday with the meaningful experience of “being connected to the food they eat.”
Usually Young takes the farm volunteers three or four at a time for a two-week period from March to October. Some stay longer and work as apprentices t she believes a two-week stint is good as shorter periods mean energy levels stay high. It is also nice to bring in new energy every fortnight, she said.
Most of the WOOFers who stay at her farm are from Canada, said Young. She has hosted other from the USA, Korea, Japan, Australia, and Chile. They usually speak at least some English so communication is not difficult.
Young likes to teach farm techniques to the visiting workers which they will do over and over again so they learn from experience and competence is high. On her vegetable, fruit and berry farm, this often means weeding, harvesting and mulching.
At Stowel Lake Farm, the WWOOFers sleep in a tent on a platform with beds in it or in a cabin.
The WWOOF aims are:
–To give you first hand experience of organic or other ecologically-sound growing methods
— To help the organic movement which is labour intensive and does not rely on artificial fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides.
— To give people a chance to meet, talk, learn and exchange views with others in the organic movement
— To provide you with an opportunity to learn about life in the host country by living and working together.
Several Salt Spring farms take WWOOFers. However, the organization warns someone interested in getting involved on organic farms in this way should become a member and must contact the farm to see if there is room for him or her rather than just showing up.
Other varied posts on this blog can be read on writingsmall. wordpress. com and on tealeaf56.wordpress.com
Tanya is an intuitive/psychic counsellor/reader and a housesit. Access her services by going to teareading.wordpress.com ; her Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google pages or by contacting her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 250-538-0086
Tanya’s books are Confessions of a Tea Leaf Reader (can be purchased from the author or from amazon.com), Friends I Never Knew, Dreams and Tricksters and Women Rights/Writes. These books are available in library systems and the last three are in the Legislative Library of Manitoba.