A couple weeks ago I talked about my experience volunteering on a refugee camp in Ghana. Keeping up with the theme of volunteer travel, this week’s Buddha Belly Badge is all about WWOOF’ing. WWOOF stands for World Wide Opprtunities On Organic Farms. It pairs willing workers (affectionately known as WWOOFers) with organic farmers looking for help. In exchange for your labour, the farmers provide food, accommodation and the chance to learn more about sustainable and organic lifestyles.
Scott Hartbeck has a great article about WWOOF’ing on the BootsnAll travel website called the “How-To’s of WWOOF’ing”. Definitely worth a read. Here’s a quick blurb about his WWOOF’ing experience in New Zealand:
“Not only did I gain a little bit of knowledge about wine-making and farming in New Zealand, I got to learn how to sail. Why am I telling you this? Well, when you start interacting with people instead of just passing through, you increase your odds of magical things like this happening. After a hard day’s work on the vineyard, my WWOOF hosts invited me to go sailing with them in the Marlborough Sounds. I thought I would just be along for the ride, sitting back on the boat soaking in the famous sounds, but they had a different idea. I actually got to help with the sailing of the boat and got my first experience as a deckhand.
What was planted in the 1970’s in England as a way for city dwellers to contribute to the organic food movement on the weekends has sprouted to mean so much more. I can now vouch that the global organization of loosely affiliated WWOOF host farms and WWOOFers is without a doubt one of the best ways for travelers to truly discover a destination instead of just simply making it a dot on their travel map.”
Not all WWOOFing experiences are sunshine and sailboats. My cousin had a few less than awesome WWOOF experiences recently. So it pays to do your homework, ask around and build a good rapport with your host before you head out.
And you don’t need to travel to the far corners of the globe to find WWOOF’ing opportunities. WWOOF hosts can be found in nearly 100 counties around the world. So if you’re interested in the organic farming scene or are just looking for a unique travel experience, WWOOF’ing may be for you.
Click here to visit the WWOOF.org site and learn more about what’s involved.
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