Do you want to volunteer on an organic farm? If so, a good way is the WWOOF way.
No, it's not a dog sound - it stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. It's also been called Working Weekends on Organic Farms, and Willing Workers on Organic Farms.
The growing interest in organic farming from those of us fed up with chemicals in our diet means they are proliferating. Avoiding pesticides and hormones is labor-intensive so organic farms are in constant need of help.
Here's how it works: farms that want to join get themselves listed, and potential volunteers buy that list, either in print or by email, by becoming members for an annual fee. Once you're a member, you can start getting in touch with farms directly. Some countries have a national organization, others are independent, but information on both is equally available.
Part of the program's attraction is living a simple, ecological lifestyle . And if you want to learn about organic farming methods, you'll find plenty to learn as a farm volunteer. Some of the farmers live alternative lifestyles, while others have commercial farms, at times quite large ones. Lifestyles may be rudimentary so make sure you're comfortable with the profile of the farm you plan to visit.
You can end up doing many types of job . You might help with gardening, planting, building, cooking, milking, mulching, feeding, cleaning... or far less appealing tasks. Just make sure you agree your tasks with your hosts before you arrive.
You can stay on one of the farms pretty much as long as you like , although there is usually a minimum. If you like what you're doing and want to stay longer, you'll usually be able to do so without a problem. Best to try it out for a few days first - you want to make sure you get along with your hosts before signing on for the long haul.
Here's how you go about it:
This is a purely volunteer opportunity - you don't get paid, but you get your room and board in exchange for working on the farm.
Once you've decided to accept or reject a farm, make sure you do so immediately; and if you change your mind once you've accepted, tell them right away.
Anyone can be a WWOOFer - a child with her parents, or grandparents and senior citizens.
The organization acts as a broker and information service between the farmer and the volunteer so membership is essential. It'll help smooth the way if you need it.
You can find WWOOF farms in almost every world region. You can volunteer in more than a dozen European countries, in Australia and New Zealand, in China and Japan, in several Central and South American countries, and in Ghana.