Jan Mills is a very experienced WWOOFer who recently represented us for the first time promoting WWOOFing at an event. Here’s her ‘rep’s-eye’ view of the day. We are very grateful to all our reps – find out where they are going to be this year by clicking here.
At the beginning of May I received an email from Amanda (Pearson, Volunteer Liaison) at WWOOF UK, asking for volunteers from a fifty-mile radius to help run an information stall at The Green Scythe Fair in Muchelney on June 12th. Well, I wasn’t WWOOFing or otherwise occupied at that time so volunteered my services.
A bit nearer the date Amanda arranged a Skype conference call with other volunteers so that we could ‘meet’ and also get some training before the event. She also forwarded several useful documents about how to present our case to potential WWOOFers and WWOOF hosts, plus the all-important history of the organisation. My fellow volunteer was Jane (Sweetman), who has been a WWOOF host for many years and only lives about eight miles from me, but we had never met as I don’t usually WWOOF in my own area.
Feeling fairly well prepared in terms of what I could say to visitors and armed with a large umbrella, as the weather forecast was not good, I set off in good time for Muchelney about twenty miles away. Amazingly, I had never been there before despite having lived in Somerset for over thirty years, but I found the field quite easily even though there were very few signs on the roads directing traffic. Having parked the car I was given directions to our pitch, where I found … nothing! I knew we were expecting to be supplied with a table so I went off in search of a steward and requested one, which arrived a few minutes later. Jane was bringing all of the WWOOF literature and banner so, for a while, there was just me standing behind an empty table feeling slightly foolish as all around me stalls were being busily erected and set out – we were between a clothing stall and a food stall.
A short while later, Jane and her husband arrived bringing all the WWOOF information and another large umbrella plus a large piece of clear polythene! They had also seen the weather forecast. We set up the stall with the WWOOF banner in a prominent position across the front of the table and leaflets and photos interspersed with some craft items that I had brought with me. These were all things that I had either made whilst WWOOFing or been inspired to make since. Jane brought a basket of fresh lettuce that she had picked that morning before setting out.
The weather held off until lunchtime and we met quite a lot of people who came over to chat – some were thinking of becoming WWOOF hosts and Jane was the ideal person to talk them through what that would entail, and I met a couple of people who were thinking of becoming WWOOFers. One of these was a lady of about my own age who wasn’t sure whether she could ‘do’ WWOOFing, and I hope that, after our chat, she will be inspired to give it a go! The other was at the opposite end of the spectrum, a girl who wanted to WWOOF before going off to university. We also met existing WWOOFers, including two Spanish girls who insisted on taking a photo (but mainly of the banner, I think!).
At about 1pm the heavens suddenly emptied on us with little warning, just as I’d gone off to find some lunch! Luckily, Jane’s husband was still with us so they hastily put the sheet over the table and kept everything dry, and that’s how it continued until the end of our shift – the sun would come out, the rain would stop, we would put down the umbrellas and remove the plastic sheet and then Whoosh! Down it would come again and we would reverse the procedure, very quickly. However, everyone kept remarkably upbeat and the scything competitions seemed to carry on regardless.
I had time to look around the stalls at the end of my shift, but as the weather was still decidedly damp, I didn’t stay for long and soon headed for home. I met some lovely people, met a local WWOOF host (Jane) that I might go and visit for day or weekend WWOOOFing and had a really fun day – so much so that I’ve already told Amanda that I’ll happily do it again somewhere.
If you would like to represent us at some events please leave a comment below or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Second and third images are from www.greenfair.org.uk