Getting your WWOOFing started

Apr 13, 2019

My name is Becky. I’m in my twenties. I’m a programmer based in Cambridge, working for CMR Surgical. My company is building a robot to assist surgeons with keyhole surgery.

Because I spend a lot of time in front of a computer I wanted to spend time doing something completely different. WWOOFing seemed like a great way to get outside, and an accessible way to try out farming and outdoor work.

The other things I do to balance out my screen time are juggling, cycling and unicycling. I’m also a Scout leader. With Scouts we go camping, teach them first aid and cooking, craft activities, and so on. I wanted to do volunteering so I looked on a website and chose scouting because it was outdoorsy and I think it’s a good thing to teach children these skills and to teach them to respect nature.

pleased with the pumpkins

I’ve just taken a week’s annual leave from my job to have my second WWOOF exchange here in the West Midlands / Welsh borders. The reason I chose this host was because they had a lot of good feedback, they had ticked the isolated / rural box, they had more land than just a garden and also it intrigued me that they were an ex-van dweller.

My first WWOOFing experience was in Scotland. I learned a bit about hedge-laying but I didn’t get to do much of it because it snowed every day – in April! Instead I joined my off-grid host in his passion for listening to his 50s-70s music collection on a record player. This time I’ve done a lot more outside and picked up (rather than dug – it’s a no-dig system) potatoes, planted trees, created a wildlife pond, harvested squash, planted out winter greens, and linseed-oiled some shelving on rainy days. I had told my host before my visit that I was very interested in wildlife and biodiversity, so she geared my tasks around that.

rewiring a plug under instruction

If you’re interested in WWOOFing but haven’t got round to organising anything yet, start by going for just a week or even just a weekend. Also remember that it’s probably easier to organise your first WWOOF experience in the UK, before you start planning WWOOFing abroad.

photos: Scarlett Penn

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