Some of you may recall various emails and messages about this time last year calling for WWOOFers or hosts with good communication skills – who were passionate about WWOOFing – and who were interested in promoting our cause at festivals, agricultural shows and other events. Following this recruitment drive we featured their training in the Summer edition of WWOOF UK News. But what happened next?
Well, they attended more than 20 events around the UK, ranging from a major conference on food security in Scotland, to the Folk by the Oak festival in Hertfordshire, the Green Scythe fair on the Somerset levels and a Dance Camp in Wales; with a smattering of smallholder events and other green gatherings in between. Several of them established links with local cafes and whole food shops that resulted in a drip feed of information throughout the year. Combine this with other events where we displayed literature but did not have an actual physical presence and in total we distributed more than 5000 flyers, 600 leaflets and 350 back copies of WWOOF UK News.
Here is what just one of our reps, Ben Aitchison, had to say about the whole experience.
‘2014 was quite a year for me. I had barely completed my first WWOOF when I headed off to the Main Office at Redfield for a weekend of training to be immersed in all things WWOOFY. We had a great time – it wasn’t like being trained at all (at least not how I imagined). More like spending the weekend with a bunch of new friends. Not long after I went to the Scottish Smallholders and Growers Spring Gathering with the WWOOF kit comprising of table drapes, handmade banner, badge making kit, leaflets, flyers and posters to see who I could recruit. It was a great day and I realised I had actually learnt a lot more on that training weekend than I thought; confidently answering questions like an old-timer. Any pre-gig nerves vanished as I struck up conversations with other stallholders.
During the course of the year I got a few more WWOOF visits under my belt including Lower Arboll Croft, Woodside Croft and Karuna Bhavan; each adding to my resource of stories to tell potential WWOOFers and hosts. Thank you one and all! Before I knew it I was at Loch Lomond Food and Drink Festival being joined by another rep, Helen Greenway, to do a great double act in the open air on a golden September weekend.
My repping year was completed with a solo duty at the Nourish conference in Glasgow, which included attending the conference dinner and an unexpected ceilidh! WWOOF UK has taken me on quite a ride in the last 12 months – and continues to do so, now that I have also opted to become the Regional Host Contact for Southern Scotland.’
So now we are turning our thoughts to the events calendar for 2015; whilst some of our reps will be continuing, others, for various reasons have had to decline participating in another season. So, we’re looking for some new recruits…
Are you planning to go to a festival or show this summer? Would you be willing to staff a WWOOF stall and experience an event in a different kind of way? Or maybe you’re open to being sent wherever a WWOOF rep is needed? We’ll give you all the support you need to feel confident in getting your message across. To start the next chapter in your personal WWOOF story contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’re open to suggestions of new events we can attend too – but we try not to pay massive exhibitor fees. Let us know of any good ones you can think of where we might be able to pay a charity fee or do some kind of exchange…