Have you ever wanted to just chuck it all and escape back to the land? I’ve harboured that fantasy every once in a while when the rush of urban life seems too much. Yes, even though the thought of actually getting my hands dirty grosses me out. (Hey, I’ve never claimed to be more than a bumbling gardener at best!)
I’ve recently come across an organization that has me seriously considering an escape. Okay, not quite to the far reaches of the Sub-Sahara, but certainly to spots somewhat closer to civilization. Like maybe a berg in the Maritimes or a homestead just up the river from Dawson City, Yukon. (It’s beautiful up there, I’ve been twice.)
World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) is an international network of organizations that offers access to organic farms throughout the world where volunteers can learn about farming and contribute to the running of the farm in exchange for room and board.
The criteria are simple. Volunteers must:
- Have a genuine interest in learning about organic growing, country living or ecologically sound lifestyles.
- Help their hosts with daily tasks for an agreed number of hours.
Hosts are required to:
- Grow organically, are in conversion, or use ecologically sound methods on their land.
- Provide hands-on experience of organic growing and other learning opportunities where possible.
- Provide clean dry accommodation and adequate food for their volunteers.
Other than that, the specifics vary from host to host, with summaries posted online. For a $20 annual fee you can read the full details and contact the host whose project interests you, literally across the globe.
In checking out the site I was astonished at the wide variety of locations and job descriptions, and quickly became lost in time as I contemplated how wonderful it would be to escape to a far away place and get back in touch with the land in a very tangible way. Working with livestock, building, clearing land, planting, harvesting, you name it.
Even me, with my loathing of dirt and distaste of bugs, could find a spot that suits me, and allows me to contribute. Hmmm, I’ve always wanted to explore Newfoundland, and go back to Spain, and explore New Zealand…