Do you have a strong affinity for organic farming? Well, WWOOF is an organization that lets visitors camp on their members’ farms and learn more about sustainable organic farming. New to camping? Head over to the GuideCool camping blog site for more insights.
Camping on the farm is an adventurous activity that allows you not only to look after friendly animals and tend to crops, but also a chance to meet new people. Besides, you’ll be entertained by the different culture campers bring with them.
So, how do you enjoy your stay at the farm? Read on to get crucial tips and tricks that will make your next farm camping a memorable experience.
How to go camping on the farm like a pro
1. Ask before using or touching
Usually, the host permits you to use camping equipment ideal for the task at hand. However, it is prudent to seek permission before using equipment that’s new to you.
Likewise, seek permission to touch pets such as dogs and rabbits. This not only shows respect towards the host but also to the pet. So before you can pet away, consult your host.
2. Be on the lookout for fences
Fences are made of different materials. Some farms have electric while others have chain link fences. Whichever the case, avoid touching them or getting too close as they might cause bodily injuries.
3. Keep the farm clean
Most farms will provide a designated dumpsite. But should you camp on one that is devoid of a dumpsite, ensure that you dispose of your waste appropriately.
Maybe use the pit latrine on the farm to dispose of biodegradable waste. For the non-degradable, we’d recommend recycling or packing them with you.
4. Wear appropriate gear
This is not an expenditure where you’ll wear flip flops; you’ll need to carry boots and gumboots with you. Gumboots come in handy when helping out on the farm, while boots are ideal when walking around.
You’ll be safe from getting pricked by thorns and other sharp pieces laying on the farm, and when cattle such as sheep steps on you, it won’t cause fatal injuries. Besides, some farms’ insurance policy requires visitors to wear closed shoes.
You should also wear gloves and protective caps when working. During rainy days wear a raincoat to avoid contracting a common cold.
5. Shut the gate behind you
Sometimes, it is common to get caught up in the moment. That time when you are eager to tend to those plants, feed cattle, or milk cows, it is easy to leave gates open.
Animals might go on to destroy your host’s crops or even pose a danger to passersby. As such, when you go camping on the farm, ensure all gates are closed before proceeding.
6. Take some time off
Most farms will require you to work for at least half a day. When your shift is over, take it easy and relax. You could read your favorite book, go hiking, cycling, swimming, or even have some chatter with other campers.
The point is, don’t take it too seriously. Enjoy as you work. Remember, this can also be an opportunity to visit exotic places cheaply.
7. Learn and mingle as much as you can
The whole idea of camping on the farm is not all about farming. Hosts also welcome other activities such as learning a new language, taking art lessons, cultural exchange, and many more.
So, after a half-day on the farm, you can opt to learn more about other campers’ culture. Maybe learn a few words. Also, get to know people, have an interest in what they do, who they are, etc. This can lead to healthy friendships in the long run.
8. Leave the place as clean as you found it
Finally, after your stay is over, tidy up the site and leave it ideal for the next campers. Whether you were staying in a campsite, bunkhouse, or yurt, leave everything as you found it or maybe even better.
And do not forget to thank the host for their hospitality and passing of valuable knowledge.
Farm Together with WWOOF
Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) was formed in 1971, and for more than four decades, it has given organic farming enthusiasts a platform to share and learn more about the practice.
It was initially started in the United Kingdom, but as visiting WWOOFers gained necessary skills, they started organizations in their mother countries.
A bunch of friends in 2001 started WWOOF-USA. The idea came up after they had WWOOFed overseas. Since then, the non-profit organization has attracted more than 2,100 farms and currently has 14,000 active members.
Who can join?
WWOOF program is tailored to accommodate anybody. From students, hobbyists to professionals in organic farming and other disciplines.
In fact, if you are a traveler on a budget, this is an ideal opportunity to visit awesome places cheaply. Students in agriculture, health, nutrition, biochemistry, etc. can sign up for internships with member farms.
You can rest assured you’ll get the necessary skills. The best part? You don’t have to be a professional in this field. It is simply a learning opportunity open to all.
If you decide to WWOOF solo, it will cost you $40 per year. For group or couple WWOOFing, the fee is $65 per annum. As a member, you have free access to the organization’s farms online directory.
How to join
Solo WWOOFers have to be 18 years and above. However, families can also camp on their desired farms. Just head over to WWOOF’s website, register, and choose a farm from those available.
Here you can choose farms that are:
- Immediately available
- Open now
- Open next season
You can also specify the length of your visit, which ranges from one day to long term. Want a flower farm, homestead, or orchard? Well, just select your desired option.
After this, the visitor and the host will agree on the date the camping will start. With everything packed, it’s time to head over to the farm.
Side note: Please go through the photos, reviews by other WWOOFers, and description of each farm to have a feel of what to expect.
Getting hands dirty
Besides learning about farming, WWOOF provides an ideal platform to meet like-minded people. You don’t have to worry about accommodation since the host will offer it for free.
Once on the farm, WWOOFers are tasked with different roles. Ideally, you’ll spend half of the day helping out. This could be watering, weeding, pruning, etc. Make sure to corporate with the host to have a pleasant time.
With tasks of the day completed, it’s time to relax. You can either go hiking, cycling, swimming or even take a walk around the neighborhood.
You’ll also be introduced to various types of organic farming practices, such as organic viticulture, green construction, and permaculture.
More than farming
It’s not all about farming. You can learn new languages, get introduced to culinary studies, or even cultural arts. Remember, this is an educational and cultural exchange program.
Have a goal: What do you want to experience when camping? Milking a cow? Weeding? Pruning?
Carry relevant personal effects: The host will only give you room and board. You’ll need to bring with you gloves, clothes, a pocketknife, rain gear, etc.
Choose an ideal place: After farming, what do you want to do? Hiking? Cycling? Swimming? For example, if you want to go hiking, you can choose a farm near a hill or mountain.
Expect stellar accommodation: Accommodation varies from a tent, cozy bedroom to a basement bunkhouse.
Take chances: Avoid uncomfortable activities, stick to those you can comfortably carry out, or are willing to learn.
Go with a tourist mindset: Yes, you’ll visit exotic places, taste good food, and meet amazing people. But the aim of WWOOFing is getting dirty on the farm. Treat your duties like your everyday job.
WWOOF-USA is part of a global program in more than 130 countries. As such, should you feel WWOOFing abroad, you can visit the main federation website for more information.
Camping on the farm can be a fantastic way to spend your holidays if done the right way. Not only will you gain valuable farming and camping skills, but also meet likeminded people.
So, if you’ve ever gone camping on a farm, what did you enjoy most? Which farm can you recommend to other farming enthusiasts?
Well, let us know!