Spend your holiday working on an eco-friendly farm in Norway, where you will get new knowledge about organic production and make some new friends. WWOOF-organiser Mette Pauline Strand explains.
Head of WWOOF Norway, Mette Pauline Strand, is herself a former wwoofer who ended up staying a year at an organic farm, even though the initial intention was to return home after a month. Besides leading the local organisation of WWOOF and beeing a support for wwoofers, she manages to continue her studies in medicine and run a small farm.
If I have little or no experience with farming, can I still go wwoofing?
“Yes, the whole idea behind WWOOF is to learn organic farming from scratch. Eager, inexperienced people are one of the reasons why my work is so interesting. If you are truly willing to learn, you are fit to participate.”
Is wwoofing something for people who are looking for a cheap way to see a new country?
“It could be, but we never stress the financial aspect. Instead, we try to tell people what they should expect, for example that you will usually take part in farm work for six hours, five days a week.”
So what should I expect from wwoofing at an organic farm?
“The main idea is to get to learn eco-farming and contributing to the daily work. In return you get accommodation, three meals and hosts who will help you discover the country you are visiting”.
Can I expect to borrow the farmer’s new Mercedes to go sightseeing?
“Yes, it may be possible if such deals are necessary in order to see the country you visit. But I always emphazise the importance of discussing any wishes before you decide where to go.
How can I discuss the stay with my farmers prior to my stay?
“We recommend to use Skype, Facetime or e-mail in order to get clear answers to all your questions and sort things out well in advance. WWOOF has clear guidelines for most circumstances but additional wishes and needs can absolutely be satisfied if the farmers are informed prior to your stay.”
Do I need to learn the local language?
“No, most Norwegians have good English skills, and they expect you to be able to make yourself understood in most situations. Some farmers also speak other languages. Wwoofing is a great opportunity to pick up some farm terminology. At the same time, much of the work is hands-on and do not always need to be explained.”
How is this a great opportunity to meet new people?
“Well, there are often several wwoofers at one farm. And with that back-to-nature attitude, you have a lot in common. Socialising is an important aspect of your stay.”
How often do wwoofers fall in love with each other?
“Of course it happens from time to time that people find a partner. I myself found my current boyfriend during my one year wwoof-stay in Montana. It was the boy at the neighbour farm, and now we have a little farm there together.”
I love to meet new people, but what if the chemistry with the farmers isn’t right?
“Well, I am always surprised by how well most farmers and wwoofers get along. Misfits are extremely rare. The success might be pinned on the common interests, a lot of meaningful work and sufficient time on your own.
What can I do in my spare time?
“The farm shall facilitate activities like horse riding, kayak paddling and hiking. They inform about available activities in their respective profiles”.
What alternatives do I have to WWOOF?
“You can find other organisations that put you in contact with small companies that need workforce in exchange for food and accommodation, but only WWOOF offers stays at purely organic farms. Check out all the farms on WWOOF's official website.
How will wwoofing look like on my future CV?
“Well, luckily more and more people have become aware of the benefits of organic farming and how knowledge can change the future. Wwoofing shows true commitment.”
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