World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOFing) allows people to spend time on farms, vineyards and eco-villages to get a greater understanding of sustainability and the environment. The organization runs on an exchange basis – hosts provide food and accommodation and, in return, the volunteers, known as WWOOFers, help out around the farm. If you haven’t done it already, you should. Incredible memories and learning await – here are our top 12 reasons why you cannot afford to miss out on entering the world of WWOOFing.
1. Two words: Free. Holiday.
Today rest costs and often the easier choice is to not rest at all. Without the need to pay for accommodation and meals, WWOOFing puts urban escape firmly back on the can-do list. There is a minor subscription fee but membership lasts for a year and is a small price to pay for the insight that you gain
2. Urban Wild
Forty-six years ago, London-based secretary Sue Coppard decided that the peak of the typical office worker’s interaction with the environment was a non-committal chewing of a sorry looking sprig of overcooked broccoli. She held a weekend trial at a Bio-dynamic farm in Sussex and city-lovers have been unleashing their wild side ever since.
Not only is the food free, it is real. No high fructose corn syrup here. Eat how you were meant to, with organic vegetables straight out of the garden and meat from animals that have not spent their lives crippled in a factory (there are farms that maintain a purely vegetarian existence too).
4. To get more followers
Ditch playing the Instagram copycat. Every WWOOFing experience is an authentic, inimitable one.
5. To explore a new country from within
Bypass queues, fanny packs and tacky keyrings and get up close to the real country, connect with the people and go for a stroll in their gumboots. Discover what a place is truly about.
6. To upskill your CV
Farm work is a vast umbrella of skills that go beyond hammering and planting (although both are excellent abilities) and will enrich your capacity in the office. Unconvinced? Explain to us how getting every single cow in the heard milked before lunchtime is not a demonstration of exceptional management and organisational skills.
7. To walk the walk
The world (except for the White House) is becoming more and more eco-conscious but how often do people get beyond recycling? Lip service will not save the planet but tangible action-making steps will. Go play Leo DiCaprio, earn your green guts and expand your ability to affect meaningful change for the Earth.
8. To expand your mind
Michelangelo, claimed to still be learning. If the sculpturer behind the iconic David has more to understand, we do too. Wander into the forest and discover a world that you never knew existed.
9. To rebel
Dare to step outside the concrete jungle, if only for a week. Relinquish your grip on wifi (or is it the other way around?) and disconnect. Abandon emails and travel to places that txt cannot touch for a fresh perspective and a virtual cleanse.
10. To K-O creative block
Just as body language communicates what we want to say, moving our hands can express thought. Hands-on work is thought to be able to break through mental fog and help us to organize our thoughts through creating a physical representation of our thinking, particularly when the work is creative. What’s more, blue sky thinking with the actual sky over your head is definitely going to be more productive.
11. To de-stress
Not all yoga requires a yoga mat. The repetitive actions and routines that are required to build a wall, fetch water from a well or even baking bread are meditation in themself and has been proven to help reduce anxiety, depression and other metropolitan ailments. The empathy developed from caring for animals, too, has been proven to be a powerful de-stressor and happiness booster.
12. To have the best time EVER
Fancy living in your own little cottage in The Middle of French Nowhere? How about a peasant commune in Voronez, Russia, a nomadic ranch in Mongolia, or mucking in at the bottom of the world in New Zealand? WWOOFing is available in over a hundred locations around the world. Add a whole bunch of vibrant, diverse people who are united by their love of the outdoors and you are sure to have a wicked vacation.
For more information, visit WWOOFing International.
Graphics: Courtesy of Bells Design via Gratisography