Tuesday, 25 March 2014

A little more about my Wwoofing adventures with WWOOF UK - and my wwoof journey continues as a wwoof uk rep

Moi and Stu a community member at Gaunts House. Preparing for the Summer Gathering.

Hello All. I am now officially a representative for wwoof.org.uk so it seems like a good idea to share a little about my own wwoofing experiences.

Wwoof stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. In a nutshell it is an exchange between volunteers and Farms, Small Holdings, Communities and even Gardens that farm/produce organically and sometime ecologically for self sufficiency.

What is the exchange ? In return for your help, typically 25-30 hours a week you receive full board and accommodation and on top of that you may benefit from a great number of additional benefits which will vary from place to place and person to person.

As a new concept, wwoof UK are very keen to encourage local wwoofing and it is going to become a lot more common to connect wwoofers to hosts who need similar help from visiting day wwoofers. This is fantastic if you are a potential host who does not have room for overnight wwoofers.  In return as a wwoofer you will be looked after well , fed and watered, maybe even take home some produce :-) as well as benefiting in other ways such as gaining new skills, meeting new people and so much more. If you have commitments that prevent you from longer term wwoofing you can still get involved by connecting with this type of host.

Reasons to join wwoof uk.

Wwoof UK have been around since 1971 , that's over 40 years. I guess you can say they are the experts in connecting wwoofers to hosts. Wwoof is a real authentic organisation, so so very chilled out with real people. As a wwoofer or a host, you are connected to real people, and have their support if you ever need it. They are not a bunch of tech head, pen pushers in a big office in some far away land. Wwoof are based here in the UK in Winslow, Buckinghamshire in their very rustic offices, actually located on the grounds of the very established Redfield Community site. You are fully supported when you join wwoof, you are joining the wwoof family, you become a members of the wwoof family.

Why Wwoof  ?

Here are just some examples of benefits you may receive from wwoofing opportunities and here I speak from my own experiences.

Learning about organic farming, often learning about the older and forgotten practices of farming such as scything.

As a Townie and living in London most of my life, to drive a TRACTOR was something else. A moment never to be forgotten, perhaps I am just easily pleased.

Have you ever wished to experience what it is like to live in a community ? Wwoofing within a community setting is a brilliant way of giving you a taster of community living because you will experience it first hand, living amongst community members. When searching for hosts, you can filter the search to just include communities. Incidentally the wwoof search/filtering is really precise in allowing you to find exactly the opportunity that you are looking for.
Me with other wwoofers and some members of the Gaunts Community

Meeting new and interesting people from all over the world and making new friends.

Wwoof UK provides an incredible experience to have the opportunity to travel around the UK and to see the the beauty on our own doorstep. I found out that the grass really is as GREEN as it can get RIGHT HERE , right on our doorstep !!, In my own experience, it has often been cheaper to hop on a plane and go on a package holiday than to stay in the UK. Wwoofing has allowed me to reduce my carbon footprint whilst gaining new experiences of a lifetime. So unbelievably special to visit our United Kingdom, and experience the GREAT in Britain.  There really is no getting me on an aeroplane now, still so much to see here, right here and wwoofing gives me the opportunity to do just that.  Until my wwoofing journey, I really had no idea just how beautiful the UK is.

Ever dreamed of staying in a big country manor or mansion ?  I have many times, I've also stayed in a teeny little old banger of a caravan. All of these situations have been wonderful, memories to be remembered and stories to share.

Gaunts House in Dorset

My super cosy caravan at Beechill. I also stayed in the House for part of my stay.

Cheap, almost free way to travel and discover new places. All you really need is your travel costs. Everything else is taken care of.

For me it has been life changing and I would imagine at the very least for all, it should be a life enhancing experience. A great opportunity to perhaps get out of your comfort zone, try something new and grow as a person.

When I first set off on my wwoofing adventures, I had completely changed my life and left some hugely stressful times and situations. I found that there is nothing more therapeutic than working on the land, getting my hands in the earth, being with nature and in the fresh air. There were times to meditate, and get involved in so many activities such as a drumming at a yoga festival that just happened to be one of the activities happening whilst I was wwoofing at a community.

Time to Chill. On a Yarn Bombing mission with the Gants House Community

A little hedge trimming
Something a little more glamorous
So therapeutic to get ones hands in the earth

One of the less glamorous jobs. Shower Duty during Gaunts Summer Gathering.
Party time. Love it when the guitars come out especially around a camp fire. George and Eli wwoofers from Israel and Czek Republic

Being at one with Nature

wwoof rep training. You may see some of these wwoof reps at a festival near you. It is safe to approach them. They are actually extremely friendly and quite likely to make you smile and laugh. If you see them in a town or festival near you, do pop over and say hi.

And as you can see wwoofing in the UK has been a very special journey of magical moments for me.

And now the journey goes on and I am helping to represent wwoof UK which is wonderful and an honour. It's great to share good things so here I am spreading the good word, hoping that you too can enjoy essentially what can be life changing or even a new way of living. If only someone had come my way to tell me about it when I was in my 20's or even 30's.

I am thankful that the best kept secret in the UK did eventually come my way, as I am still fit and healthy enough to enjoy wwoofing , hopefully for many years to come. I hear that the oldest wwoofer is 90 !!! so as long as you are fit eough then you too can go wwoofing. Perhaps for a weekend, perhaps for a week and better still maybe for a complete lifestyle change. There are wwoofers out there who live by wwoofing and really get out there for the longer journey.

In order to become a member of wwoof, it is currently just £20 for membership for a year, and you will have the opportunity to connect with almost 600 hosts here in the UK. It is possible to have joint membership with a friend for just £30 per year. Please visit the website for full information.

Host membership is just £30 per year and that also allows you to go wwoofing yourself.

For further information on hosting criteria, please contact wwoof directly as they can look at your individual scenario. There really is no place too big, or too small for wwoofers. Woof hosts have anything from farms to small holdings and even gardens in some situations. As long as your establishment fits in with the wwoof ethos, it may be possible to host wwoofers and we are a wonderful bunch of people to meet and spend time with so go on get in touch with wwoof uk today.

There are opportunities right now for wwoofers and hosts. Click on the wwoof link for more information http://www.wwoof.org.uk/

Any questions at all, please do get in touch with me and I am happy to share my experiences or contact woof directly.

Wishing you all fantastic wwoofing experiences and please share. Would love to hear all about it.

Wwoof are on facebook https://www.facebook.com/wwoofuk

and Twitter https://twitter.com/WWOOFUK

My main wwoofing journey ended with me coming back to London, with still very itchy feet but essentially I missed the feeling of community, having like minded wonderful and interesting people around me. I now realise that this was one of the main reasons that I found myself creating my meetup group to bring together like-minded friends for social activities. London Spiritual Events and Socials http://www.meetup.com/London-Spiritual-Events/ was born. I now aim to take a group of our members on a wwoofing trip for some more happy days on the land. :-)

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