Thursday, April 7, 2011

There is such thing as free labor

When I was in Hawaii one of the people I met hosted WWOOFers.  What is that?  WWOOF is a non-profit organization that lists organic farms that are willing to host volunteers who trade food and accommodation (room or tent space) in exchange for one-half day of labor.  The organization is worldwide and there are over one thousand farms and gardens listed in the US.  Check out the site:   The program is open to anyone 18 and older, regardless of experience.  Some farms welcome children and pets.  Farms offer a variety of experiences including growing vegetables, keeping bees, building straw bale houses, working with animals, making wine, and much more. The one I witnessed in Hawaii grew flowers that are sold to florists throughout the country. 

Some people use the program for free accommodations while they are tourists, others use it to increase their skills.  If you want to learn something and want to be shown by someone who does know how to do it and practices that skill, it would be a great idea to be a volunteer WWOOFer.  There's a very low yearly fee to join the program as a laborer.  You get a catalogue, plus access to all the farms on line.  You contact the farm host that appeals to what you want to learn or where you want to go and come to an agreement. 

The people I met who were WWOOFers at the flower farm had just come to Hawaii from California.  They had little money but wanted to see the island.  They made a deal with the farm owner.  They would work three full days and 1 half day in exchange for room for a week (they didn't want board) and $60 cash to help pay their transportation.  The accommodations were the loft of the barn, an outhouse, and a camp stove to cook their own food.  The host provided the initial transportation to get them there from about 20 miles away and was going to drop them off about 20 miles away when their week was done. 

Many WWoofers have their own transportation and want to use some of their spare time to visit the tourist spots.

I'm not sure preppers or survivalists with property would want WWOOFers to come to their property, although if you don't share too much information with the worker it may not be a bad idea to get gardening or other chores done for little expense.  

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