When you look up wwoofing on the Internet, you might be surprised that what comes up is not all about dogs and barking. There’s a hidden gem in there somewhere that serves as an acronym for worldwide opportunities on organic farms-an exchange between travelers and, you guessed it, organic farms all over the world. My family has been a host to many people through many different programs but the last few years, we’ve received most of our visitors through Wwoof-a website designed similarly to Couchsurfing but specific to farms and farm work. The basis is simply work in exchange for food, lodging, and a kind of cultural learning that you can’t get while passing through a place. The rest is up to the visitors and hosts to determine.
From a host perspective, we’ve had nothing but amazing people come through our small town to join us on Pleasant Ridge. Not only have our wwoofers been incredibly useful, it’s also been a privilege to host so many interesting people and have them interject themselves into what can become a solitary, lonely life on the farm. Because they contribute to the food that I sell at market in the CSA boxes, I want to introduce them to you.In the past, we’ve had the pleasure of hosting Giovanni from Italy; Gregoire from France; Marie from Germany; another Marie from France; Mais, Donna and Ramy from Syria/Montreal; Lise and Olivier from France and this year Jonathan from Québec. We are so grateful for the time that they spent here.
On Sunday, Mirjam and Lena from Germany left us after a month on the farm. You definitely have to be flexible and be up for anything in order to wwoof here and Mirjam and Lena couldn’t have been more adaptable. There days were unpredictable. They could be planting in the greenhouse, collecting sap for maple syrup, cutting wood for the furnace or shucking beans from last year’s harvest depending on weather and priorities. They got thrown into all kinds of events where they knew no one be it a family birthday party, playing host to a potluck, or even bringing pigs to the butcher. To top it all off, they were ready for everything-the washing machine flooding the house, running out of firewood, sharing a bed and bad weather for days on end. Believe it or not, they not only dealt with it all but thrived. They were full of initiative and ready to contribute whether on the farm, in the kitchen, or around the house. I’ve been gifted with stories, cooking and music and they contributed not only to the farm but to my desire to continue to welcome more people into my life here and everywhere.