local WWOOFing: a good thing?

Aug 31, 2014

A recent e-mail to WWOOF UK’s administration team prompted some of us to sit up and pay attention – Rebecca Hazell (no relation to our Director, Richard H) wrote to ask if there were any hosts looking for help who were local to her. 

As some of you may recall we ran a feature last year about local WWOOFing and hoped, in these straitened times, with travel costs becoming more prohibitive and climate change an accepted reality by the (vast) majority that it might be an idea whose time had come – or should that be returned to? 

local WWOOFing at Todmorden 2013And yet we are aware that in our recent survey only about ten per cent of hosts were really interested in taking local WWOOFers. Why was that? Are British WWOOFers not as reliable as foreign ones – or maybe just not such exotic house guests? 

We thought we’d find out more about Rebecca and see if we could make something happen for her… 

Currently residing in Oxford and working in a tutorial college teaching English, Rebecca’s passion is sustainability. She completed an MSc in the subject a few years ago and has gradually been putting the theory into practice in her everyday life. 

Keen to live off-grid, and work her own land etc. she signed up with WWOOF earlier this year saying ‘it just seemed to be the way to go…. a good way to start to really get serious about how to do things’. 

Rebecca first WWOOFed a few months ago at Little Mill Farm near Monmouth (and would like to take this opportunity to thank her host again!) and has clearly got the WWOOFing bug – saying that the experience really stayed with her and she has found it difficult to get back into city life since – preferring the hustle and bustle that nature creates to the one of us humans… 

When asked more specifically why she wanted to find a local WWOOF – Rebecca replied saying: ‘Local WWOOFing just makes complete sense to me. For me, sustainability is all about localisation, so if I can do some regular WWOOFing on my doorstep, as well as longer stays a little further afield, so much the better. I gave up my car many years ago, and stopped flying a while back too, so travel by bicycle. I always love exploring by bike/on foot/by public transport, so it’s a bit of an adventure to go off to a farm somewhere new (even if close by). 

Of course, as I prefer to cycle if I can, I need to find local WWOOFing opportunities if I’m to do it for just a weekend. But there are many other reasons for it too: make new local friends, maybe build relationships with local farms, learn the skills needed to work the land over the changing seasons, etc.’ 

Hosts within a short cycle/bus/train ride of Oxford are invited to contact us using amanda@wwoof.org.uk who will put you in touch with Rebecca, as indeed are any nearby WWOOFers so long as you all promise to let us know what happens next…

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