This year, we are welcoming WWOOFers to This Green House. WWOOF stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. Hosts sign up for a year’s membership ($50) if they:
1. grow plants and/or raise animals organically
2. are willing and able to teach volunteer WWOOFers about their organic practices
3. are willing and able to host volunteer workers to their homes, farms and gardens, providing meals and accommodations
For their part, WWOOFers work about 25 hours per week for the host, for visits of 1 week to several months. They register for a 2-year membership, at a cost of $50. WWOOFers can learn a vast variety of skills. Try: milking goats, organic pest control, slaughtering chickens, planting crops, making cheese, cooking, selling at farmers’ markets, building greenhouses or wood sheds, exercising horses, picking berries, weeding, harvesting produce, chopping wood, making chocolates. Their reasons for WWOOFing vary, but many are interested in learning about Canadian culture and improving their English. One told me she wanted to learn to love herself more. Some just want to travel on the cheap. Many have expressed a commitment to live sustainably.
Our first WWOOFers G and J from Germany, and S from Vancouver proved to be very accommodating volunteers. I don’t think they declined to participate in any activity we suggested, either work or leisure-related. We went for forest and beach hikes, attended gardening lectures, movies, and potluck dinners. We built rock garden and strawberry beds, weeded and mulched beds and pathways, planted wildflowers and ferns, set up drip irrigation lines, built stairs, cleaned ponds, painted doors. In short, WWOOFers join in on any activity going on in our world, and thus far, they have become treasured friends and I hope they will all come back to visit someday. They express gratitude for the food, tour-guiding, and nice clean beds.
We have thirteen more WWOOFers booked from now until August, from Canada, Scotland, France, Switzerland, Germany and the US. I have scheduled some breaks from hosting, so that I can have a holiday myself and do less cooking and cleaning. But, it’s a super program, and I recommend it to anyone who is open and flexible and could use extra help on their organic farms or gardens.