On June 1st I embarked on an adventurous quest seeking to learn more about how food is grown, so I decided to Wwoof. For those unfamiliar with Wwoofingusa.org the abbreviation stands for “worldwide opportunities on organic farms.” The site is your middleman in giving you access to hundreds of organic farms all over the world. You then contact the farm of your preference, whether it be that you want to work with livestock or vegetation, then set up an arrangement in which you volunteer a certain amount of hours at the farm in exchange for food and shelter. I thought it was a fair exchange so I was on board. I initially found out about the site through engaging conversation with another volunteer on a rooftop farm in Brooklyn and so I got to researching. Coming back now from wwoofing in California for two weeks I thought I’d share some tips and suggestions from my short-lived experience for other potential wwoofers.
First and foremost, when searching for farms make sure that it is really the right fit for you. Ensure that the hours required of you and tasks are really something you are willing to do. When contacting the farmers ask them to be detailed about what your possible day-to-day routine would look like. Ask them what past wwoofers have done on the farm. Really do your research guys!
Solitude. Most farms will be in a rather secluded area, and as that may sound like the perfect place to get away and possibly meditate and reflect on life, things can get a bit too secluded if you’re of a younger age. When finalizing accommodations with the farm of your choice make sure to research things to do in the neighborhood. It is recommended that on your days off you just escape into a nearby town and just explore. It would balance off your long days of volunteering in the hot sun with some excitement from exploring unfamiliar places. If possible wwoof with a friend, pay for a rental and always have the car at your convenience. You guys may want to hit the road for a quick road trip or just for quick runs to the near by supermarket for snacks. The farmers may not always be at your disposable to take you into town for they are often pretty busy so make sure you figure out nearby ways of transportation.
Journal. The best thing I did was journaling every single day throughout my wwoofing experience. It was my outlet for positive or negative thoughts. Being on a farm you start realizing you mind begins to wander into places you might not have pondered upon before. The open space and long days of nothing but sounds of the surrounding nature can generate amazing thoughts for journaling. Write in a journal everyday and once you return home you would realize how great of an idea it was. Your thoughts can even become poetic in a way because open space on a farm allows you to channel into that.
Lastly, wwoofing would allow you to grow concerned and attached to agriculture, but what places the cherry on top is the fact that wwoofing would also allow you to learn about yourself. Depending on the length of your stay you would realize that as the weeks breeze by you begin to discover things about yourself you possibly didn’t know before. You might face some inner emotions you have been neglecting or you might be enlightened in a way that has allowed you to find balance, but I have to admit you will be definitely learning something new about yourself. I don’t know what it is about the experience but it just does that to you.
So that is all. Just a few tips and ideas for a first time wwoofer on Wwoofing. I hope someone out there may find this helpful and please guy’s wwoof away!