Farming for Your Next Travel Adventure?
Looking for a challenging life experience that’s far from the beaten path? Does wine making, farming, bee keeping, tending animals or growing vegetables excite you? Then check out World-Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms and immerse yourself in a working vacation.
Whether you have half a day or half a year, WWOOF will match you up with a farm host that’s a fit for you. No money is ever exchanged between you and the host, rather the volunteer gains invaluable experience and training, and the farm acquires badly needed extra hands.
“Our goal is to support family-scale organic farming,” explains WWOOF-USA program coordinator Ryan “Leo” Goldsmith. “We do this by maintaining a directory of (not necessarily certified) organic farms that are willing to host folks in an exchange of education and culture in a sustainable lifestyle setting. This means that we link visitors who will participate in the exchange in return for room and board, which is provided by the host farm. This way, we are broadening the movement by exposing more people to this kind of living, usually rural and self-sustaining to some degree.”
Once registered with the program, a volunteer can browse through the over 1,600 farms currently listed on the WWOOF-USA website and contact a farmer directly to work out an agreement as to the length of stay. There are many learning opportunities available, including growing vegetables, keeping bees, building straw-bale houses, working with animals, making wine, and many more.
For more than 30 years, farmers and volunteers alike have been benefitting from the exchange.
WWOOF volunteers come from many walks of life. “All kinds of people are currently members of WWOOF-USA,” says Goldsmith. “When I was a host on my farm in Sonoma County, we usually welcomed folks in their twenties, often in college. However, my first WWOOF experience in Australia was with a 70-year-old retired Indian Airlines pilot, who worked better than I in the garden.
We have families WWOOFing together, couples, young and old. Most have an interest in learning more about organic farming and sustainable living. Some are interested in traveling cheaply and experiencing rural living in the USA. All are motivated to support the organic movement.”
As organic farming continues to grow and take hold, organizations such as WWOOF are there to help’and to provide invaluable experience to future creators of sustainable agriculture.
To find out more about WWOOF-USA, visit www.wwoofusa.org.