Contrary to what some may believe about our generation, we aren’t completely ignorant when it comes to farming and growing organically. Many of us our generally interested and concerned about the food we put into our bodies, and this motivation stems far deeper than being seen as trendy and oh so cool. More and more people travelling on a budget are combining this interest with their travels by working on organic farms as they make their way around the globe. It has become so popular that there is now a commonly known term for it – ‘Wwoof’ (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms.
From small start up initiatives to fleshed-out acres that have been in the family for generations, organic farms both big and small are willing to take in travellers and embark knowledge on how to live a more sustainable life in exchange for an extra set of hands. It’s a win-win situation really, although when tasting the fruits of their labour, literally, travellers will feel like they have the upper hand. In addition, it’s a great method in learning more about the people and culture of the country visited.
Working on organic farms while travelling has spread in popularity in North America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and even parts of Asia. There are no real stipulations besides a willing spirit, and inexperience is generally welcomed. However, some farms do look for volunteers who have qualities and experiences that better match their needs (knowledge of working with horses, for instance).
While planting and harvesting seasons are typically the prime times that farmers look for helpers, there are always fences to mend and odd jobs to complete throughout the year…a farmer’s work is never done! Just make sure to plan ahead to ensure plenty of time to assess the perfect match.
The amazing thing about our generation is we now have the ability to blend the resources of technology and agriculture. With a click of a mouse, an organic farm exchange can be made. Although World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (http://www.wwoof.org) is typically the best-known site for scouring out opportunities, there are also other resources that shouldn’t be overlooked.
HelpX.net has an array of sources, and regional websites such as Craigslist orGumtree also have postings. And, as always, check the bulletin board at your hostel and keep your ears peeled for stories or suggestions from your bunkmates: “Man, just built up some killer muscles from shovelling horse manure at this sweet farm outside of Sydney…”
There’s an abundant of instant information at our fingertips on how to live a healthier more sustainable life. Don’t know what vegetables are in season? Google it. Want to know what type of soil is good for growing carrots? Browse the web for a blog. Yet, there’s something to be said about going back to the basics, leaving our computer screens, books, and documentaries behind and getting some dirt lodged underneath our fingernails.
Elizabeth Holbrook was the winner of our ‘Hostelworld Connects’ video competition. As part of her prize she travelled extensively throughout Australia and New Zealand where she engaged in ‘Wwoofing’.