Advice to farmers about interns/WWOOFers

Jul 15, 2017



There are thousands of people willing to work on organic/permaculture farms for free or nearly free. Many farmers have explored this path and found it too frustrating and have elected to no longer do this. Here are two well-known farmers that have had a great success and this is their advice to farmers considering this path.


Doug Bullock and Jacqueline Freeman give advice to farmers thinking of bringing some interns/WWOOFers onto their farm.


I get a slice of Doug Bullock’s lunch time as he takes a break from being the guest instructor for a permaculture design course taught by Toby Hemenway. The Bullock Brothers Permaculture Homestead ( is famous for being a powerful intern magnet. Interns actually pay to go there. As a result, the Bullocks get to pick from a large pool of interns wanting to go there. And they have had excellent results with their intern program. 


Doug’s advice includes:


  • Establish your farm before you get interns.


  • Don’t ask your interns to do just the dirty work.


  • A lot of interns come from a priveledged background – be prepared for that.


  • Keep the work interesting.


  • Look for interns with some skills and maturity.


  • If you have three or fewer interns, you shoudl include them in your family.


  • A hot tob, sauna or pizza oven really helps.


Jacqueline Freeman of Friendly Haven Rise Farm ( is famous for her beekeeping skills. She tells me that in the last five years she has had more than 90 interns/wwoofers. 


Some of Jacqueline’s advice: 


  • Give interns the work that matches their personality.


  • Praise interns when they have earned it.


  • Teach interns something every day.


  • Good food!


  • Fun with work. A swim on a hot day is a good idea!
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