We at Bodhi Farms host wwoofers on the farm, along with interns. WWoof is an acronym which stands for “World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, or Willing Workers on Organic Farms”. Many of the local farmers ask me how I manage to get so many people to come to the farm and intern. I am hoping to do a series of posts on how to build a successful WWoofing program so that local farmers can develop a successful intern/wwoofing program. Developing a successful wwoofing program takes time and work. For a program to be successful, you should start with the first question – Should I host WWoofers?
At first that seems a silly question, wwoofer offer free work in exchange for room and board. But a successful wwoofing relationship requires a great deal of interaction and training on the part of the farmer. As a farmer you need to be ready to have a person at your farm whom you will share meals with, need to explain what your are doing. It adds a layer of complexity to your life which is already pretty full of activities. If you cannot devote the time you need to educate the wwoofer on your practices (or you lack the patience) having a wwoofer on your farm might not be for you. For a wwoof to be successful for both host and wwoofer will need to work together. If as a farmer, you are not comfortable with that much social interaction, you might want to re-consider having a wwoofers on your farm. Many farmers are not social people. If they were, perhaps they wouldn’t have chosen a career that takes them so far away from people. Social interaction is a must in any wwoofing situation. If you are not comfortable with it, you might want to reconsider having wwoofers on your site.
Teaching is also an integral part of a successful wwoof. Most wwoofers are not skilled laborers. You will spend time imparting basic skills such as using a hammer, weeding the way you want it done, etc. All the skills you have developed as a farmer, will need to be taught to your new wwoofer. It’s unfortunate but many Americans do not build projects any more so many wwoofers do not have much of hands on experience. So you will need to invest the time to teach them.
If your answers to these questions are yes, then you should think about having a WWoofer at your farm. Of course there are more elements to being a successful wwoof host which we will cover in future posts.