Whether you have a few days or a whole season, WWOOFing is a unique way to get out of the city and experience life on an organic family farm or garden. If you're willing to get your hands in the dirt or otherwise help out, it can be the experience of a lifetime — and cost next to nothing.
The variety is endless: from prairies, to mountains, to the ocean shore... from hobby gardens to full-time farms... from solar-powered homes to ecovillages... from herbs, to orchards, to livestock... from swimming holes to gourmet, natural foods cooking.
WWOOF is an international network of organic farms, gardens and businesses where you can stay and receive food, accommodation and training in return for your help and participation. No experience is required, although any skills you have can be put to good use. There are about 850 locations in Canada alone — plus 131 other countries around the world.
WWOOFing is not only for people who want to garden or farm. There are also opportunities for handy persons, cooks, teachers, child carers, consultants — and just about anyone else.
WWOOFing is what you make it. For some people, it's a way to learn about organic gardening, perhaps to start a garden, a farm or business of their own. For others, it's a way to live healthily and sustainably for a few days, weeks or a season — eating well, breathing fresh air, and enjoying good company. For yet others, it's an experiment with non-urban living, a foray into a new lifestyle. And, for those bitten by the travel bug, it's a unique way to travel the world and experience other cultures.
How does it work? When you join WWOOF Canada, for example, you pay a $50 membership fee and receive online access to a list of descriptions of all the hosts in Canada. You agree not to share the WWOOF Host List with non-members — it's only through memberships that the WWOOF networks are able to exist.
After that, there's no middle man: you browse the Host List, select one or more hosts that interest you, and contact them directly. It's up to you to communicate with the host to give them a good idea of your interests, limitations, time-frame, etc. Every host is different — it's important to ask questions about what kind of work is involved, accommodations, meals, preferred length of visit, and anything else that's on your mind.
If you love this planet, have good communication skills and a positive, can-do spirit, WWOOFing is for you. It can be an inspiring way to connect to our planet in the most fundamental way — by living off the land and helping grow the food we eat every day.
"Conventional farming produces high yields, but there are also enormous costs — pollution of groundwater, rivers, lakes and coastal areas, and reduced soil productivity through nutrient leaching. The use of pesticides and herbicides also kills beneficial non-target species and poses a health risk to farm workers and potentially to consumers. None of these 'external' costs are factored in to the price of conventionally grown crops." — David Suzuki
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FoodWork ID: 40712 Date posted to FoodWork.ca: Jul 3 2017