Backpackers are known to have short budgets on road trips, but this is something new. It’s actually becoming trendy for European backpackers to visit farms on their journey, shovel manure, feed animals, and make butter thanks to Worldwird Opportunities on Organic Farms, a site that networks travelers with organic farms that need volunteers, is a great way for tourists to get some free services while providing free services to the industry.
This year, WWOOF has connected 15,700 volunteers to organic farms across the globe, compared with 6,400 last year. There are 2,240 farms just waiting for people to help them out.
How it works – For a few hours of work a day, which usually includes milking goats, collecting honey and making compost, volunteers get a place to stay and fresh food to eat.
“I didn’t have enough money to stay on any other way,” said Alex Mansfield, 21, a philosophy student from Massachusetts. “It gets expensive, having to eat and sleep under roofs.”
“It feels so good to be right near the food you’re about to cook,” said former New York schoolteacher Talia Kahn-Kravis, 23, as she squirted milk from a goat’s udder into a plastic bucket.
“WWOOF is the perfect anti-discrimination device,” said the Dutchman born in Germany, who has lived on the Spanish farm for 11 years. “We have Germans and Israelis sitting at a table together without problems. It’s a really great way of getting to know more of a country than only the national prejudices.”
Germans and Israelis, eh? I didn’t know there were problems between those two these days. Would have been nice if they could do that, say, 60-70 years ago.
Julie Bateman, a mother of two took her two kids from Charleston, S.C. for some volunteer farming in Italy this summer. There’s a term for it now. It’s called “WWOOFing.”
“WWOOFing with the two children is certainly a twist on the normal travel and WWOOFing in general,” said Bateman.
This really sounds tempting.