Katie Hastings was co-opted as one of the volunteer directors of WWOOF UK at the Council Meeting held in June 2015. She had attended previous Council Meetings as our selection process requires and she was co-opted unanimously. Katie is a long-term WWOOFer and brings many skills and much experience to her new role. We asked her to introduce herself.
I work as a small scale vegetable grower in the rolling hills of Machynlleth, Mid Wales. I run a growers cooperative which delivers a weekly vegetable box to 50 customers in our local community. I also run Dyfi Land Share, a project which matches up people who want to have land to grow on with land which is currently unused in our valley. Through my work at home, I am involved in teaching growing skills, helping to strengthen our local food movement, growing edible plant displays in public places, managing volunteers and producing crops in environmentally sustainable ways.
I have been a WWOOFer on and off for the last ten years. WWOOFing has helped me develop my passion for land-based work and has taught me many skills. Some of my best memories were made WWOOFing. A lot of thinking can be done while weeding carrots or hoeing between salads, and a lot can be learnt by just getting stuck in with something as opposed to reading about it in a textbook. I cannot think of anything more simple, yet powerful, than working on the land in exchange for new skills, friendships and a place to rest your head.
Being part of the WWOOF UK Council is a chance for me to contribute to the workings of an organisation I have admired for a long time. I hope I can contribute my skills in project management and my inner passion for the small scale farming. Over the last four years of running my own projects in Wales, I have learnt a lot about creating an organisation that is resilient and stays true to its ethics. I hope that I can build on these skills as a WWOOF UK Director.
I would like to work towards making WWOOF UK a household name, opening up new opportunities for people who really need to get out of the cities to do so, and hopefully change their view of the world in the process. There is so much wrong with our planet, and the problems can seem so complex. But WWOOFing provides a very practical and real chance to bypass monetary exchange, social barriers, land access issues or formal qualifications. It’s a chance for people to meet one another and connect with the land… I honestly believe that WWOOFing can change the world!