In case you are wondering WWOOFing stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, a system where volunteers work half days on an organic farm in exchange for room and board. I just spent a few weeks on a farm in the Mediterranean Pyrenees in France and it was one of the most rewarding experiences in my life and here is why, I think you would benefit from it too.
You will have much higher appreciation of food
and those who produce it. With mass production and urban development, it has become completely normal for our food to come perfect looking and tasteless in plastic containers at the grocery store. Most people do not reach the stage where they start thinking of where their fruits and vegetables came from, what is in them and the amount of work they require. Pretty crazy when you think about it, as it is our most basic need.
You will learn a few skills
from weeding to planting to picking vegetables or making dairy products. Some farms also offer the opportunity for manual labour such as carpentry, painting and even small building projects that are not unheard of on large rural lands, such as a farm. Basically, if you take initiative you could learn many basic survival skills, including.
And some interesting information
such as how much work goes into producing strawberries and that zucchinis can grow upwards against gravity.
Weeding is the best anger management strategy ever
and I mean it! There is no better therapy than to take your anger up on weeds and bad herbs, some that take significant effort to plug out. Thanks to the large land and organic farming methods, this type of work is always needed and welcomed; you may be even able to scream, unheard! It feels awesome!
Access to all-you-can-eat organic vegetables
or whatever it is that the farm you are on produces. Most farms produce too man vegetables to sell and guess who their seagulls are?
Tranquility, calmness and a break from real life problems
despite the relatively hard physical labour, such experiences tend to be very relaxing. The usual location of the farm away from the city and its noise gives you the option to spend some tranquil time alone, reflect and reassess, while the presence of WWOOFers and other people gives you the listening ear to share your time and experiences with others.
Cheap travel and education
since you have two days off and room and board, you can pick a farm near a region you want to visit and take day trips, a cheaper way of traveling. As for education, WWOOFing teaches you some serious skills that people would otherwise pay to learn.
Meet interesting and likeminded people
Other WWOOFers will be people from all kind of random places you would have never met otherwise or someone who once worked on your friend’s farm and you should have met a long time ago (true story)! Either way, they will be interesting, diverse and subjects for some very good conversations.
Experience a different lifestyle
Imagine what it is like to be away from your daily life headaches, no commute, no noise, no stringent rules and no (or little) privacy. Prepare to let go of some guards and comforts and learn to live with strangers, be open and hear a lot of gossip.
You may find your future employer or life partner
I was not looking for either, so this is not how it worked out for me, but this version of the story is nothing out of the ordinary.
Most importantly, make sure you know where you are going, inquire about the living conditions, type of work and the things you need to bring along. Check the WWOOFing guide and website for tips and useful information and prepare to have a lot of fun. Organic farming is hot!!