WWOOFing In The Time Of Covid19

Apr 28, 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic has caused disruption all across the world and WWOOF UK is no exception. 

We’ve heard about hosts who had to wait longer for seed orders to arrive and others who have done their best to follow government guidelines regarding travelling during lockdown and so instead of booking-in WWOOFers for this busy time of year, they’ve managed to cope thanks to friends and local help.

WWOOFer Feri delivers firewood for the Redfield solid fuel boiler.

A number of hosts have therefore stated on their listing that they are not accepting WWOOFers until the lockdown is over and they feel it is safe to host WWOOFers again. Some hosts have local day WWOOFers who regularly visit and so group activities on their land have continued but now with social distancing and new hygiene precautions being observed.

Because day WWOOFing doesn’t involve spending nights at the host’s premises there are ways to avoid coming into close contact with each other and one host has described how they run such day WWOOFs.

  • Wash hands on arrival.

  • The food for breaks is prepared by the host and lunch is in the form of a big pot of hot food or casserole. 

  • Try to keep 2 metres apart at all times.

  • The WWOOFers are asked to bring their own plates and cutlery which they take back home with them at the end of the day.

  • Everything that the WWOOFer and host have to touch, such as tools and taps etc. will be decontaminated with antibacterial sprays and used in an organised rotation. 

  • At the end of the day the WWOOFers pick their own produce which they take home with them to enjoy.

We’ve noticed a spike in the numbers of WWOOFers posting on social media about feeling cooped up and caged-in but on a more positive note there’s also been a noticeable spike in the number of posts by people sharing their favourite WWOOFing moments from last year and beyond.

We’ve heard from a number of WWOOFers who’ve had to make major changes to their WWOOFing itinerary and some from overseas who narrowly escaped being trapped in the UK for rather longer than they would’ve been comfortable with. Having said this we have been sent the following account from one intrepid WWOOFer from Hungary who is staying with a host for far longer than he had expected and thoroughly enjoying it!

I am Feri, a 20-years old Hungarian university student currently WWOOFing in the UK. I arrived at Redfield Community at the beginning of March, a few weeks before the lockdown was introduced. It seems quite odd now, but somehow I thought that this “virus-thing” won’t affect my plans, and after a month spent in Redfield I can meet my girlfriend in London and move on to another farm in Cornwall. When it became clear that this is impossible under these circumstances, I felt upset and stressed. Not going to Cornwall is bad enough, but what if this is my last chance to go home? And if I decide to stay, will Redfield Community be so generous to have me for another two months? Fortunately, the community, my family, and my girlfriend supported and encouraged me, and I stayed on. Now that I think of it, this was the best decision I could make. Although I cannot go exploring the nearby cities, there is a huge garden here, plenty of activities and jobs to do, and, most importantly, an amazing bunch of people to hang out with. I feel extremely lucky and grateful for being here, to get through these tough times in such conditions is a true privilege.

Feri relaxing in the apple orchard at Redfield Community.

We are so grateful to all of our membership for the way you’ve handled this traumatic situation we find ourselves in. The generosity of hosts in accommodating WWOOFers for much longer stays, who would otherwise be stranded, together with the stoicism that WWOOFers have accepted the hand they’ve been dealt we find truly heartwarming.

Stay well x


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